Want to know more about leading your church in evangelism? Join co-hosts Johnny Hunt and Kevin Ezell as they discuss the North American Mission Board’s interactive workshop, Engage 24, designed for pastors! Engage24 exists to help pastors lead their church in evangelism. Discover what to expect when you attend Engage24 and learn more about the importance of modeling evangelism every day.
Kevin Ezell: Thanks for joining us today on this episode of Evangelism with Johnny Hunt. I’m Kevin Ezell, and with me is the one and only Johnny Hunt. Everything we do here at NAMB is about sending the hope of the Gospel. It’s our goal to see every church on mission, and we are here to provide tools and resources that can help equip pastors and churches in their efforts to live on mission. Today, we want to talk to you about an interactive evangelism workshop that we have available to help pastors lead their church in evangelism. It’s called the Engage 24 workshop. Brother Johnny, you’ve actually spoken at many of these Engage 24 workshops. Tell us what these workshops are all about and what pastors can expect when they attend.
Johnny Hunt: First of all, they should be very encouraged to know that every person that speaks is doing evangelism, and they’re mobilizing more of their church members. The good news is, they’re not just going to share with you what they’re doing. They’re going to tell you how they started doing it that way, how they involved their people. It’ll be very, very practical. They’re really in hopes that what they share will help you lead your church to be on mission in evangelism as well. You have a opportunity after every person speaks, we stop right there and say, “What’s your questions,” to make sure there’s great clarity, make sure you walk away with some real helpful things in your own ministry when you get home.
Kevin Ezell: Exactly. We have several incredible practitioners. Every person that speaks, as you just said, every person that speaks is a practitioner. They’re actually doing it where they are in all different size of churches. Why don’t you just share some of the speakers that we’ve had and will have in these workshops?
Johnny Hunt: Let me do that, Kevin, and let me say this too even before I give those names. Every one of them take a little different approach, which makes it a very exciting, fast-moving time, and we’ll even share with you in a few minutes about what some people are saying that have been with us. Jimmy Scroggins, I sat on the plane the other day, and just simply Googled Three Circles and just sat there and listened to it over and over again, just to continue to keep a handle on those great truths. Last night, my wife and I at dinner shared with a couple about how everyone’s broken and how that is the whole issue of sin, but how the Gospel and forgiveness addresses it. Jimmy will help them. Gosh, he’s practical. He’ll show you literally a video of him teaching the Three Circles.
Johnny Hunt: James Merritt, James Merritt undoubtedly is one of the greatest personal soul winners in the pulpit in the Southern Baptist convention. If you follow him on social network, he has constantly got his arm around a gentleman that he shared the Gospel with on the golf course or where he’s out to eat or the hotel he’s staying in.
Kevin Ezell: You know Brother Johnny, I’ve kind of got a problem, though, with some of Brother James. He only witnesses to Georgia fans.
Johnny Hunt: I know you were going to say something that would resemble red and black.
Kevin Ezell: Yeah.
Johnny Hunt: He’s very bulldog-matic about sharing the Gospel there.
Kevin Ezell: It’s so funny, I was messing with him the other day. I was like, “Hey, every time you tweet about sharing your faith, there’s a guy that’s got a Georgia hat on. Do you only witness in Georgia?”
Johnny Hunt: Well, if he does win someone to Christ, he at least asks them to wear something from Georgia when they take their picture.
Kevin Ezell: What’s interesting about him, though, is he never turns it off. People often ask if they’re not around a guy like, or you, it’s just constant. I remember you and I, we’ve been to Waffle House, I guess I was buying that day, and I mean, the waitress comes up and thanked you for praying for her and you had shared with her the last time you were in there. I mean, the guys who do it the best, it’s not something they put on at certain times or pretend. It’s who they are, and so not only James, but another like Tim Dowdy and some others you mentioned.
Johnny Hunt: Yeah, it should be our second nature. Tim Dowdy, gosh, done such a great job at Eagle’s Landing. Again, he’s got a passion for sharing the Gospel, and I mean everywhere. He’s got a heart for the nations and he’s got a heart for his community. Ted Traylor, he’s been doing it so long at Olive Baptist. He has a great way of presenting and he’s a great teacher of God’s word, but the major reason these men are there is because they’re modeling what we want everyone to walk away with. Ken Whitten at Idlewild Ken has been such a great witness for Christ.
Kevin Ezell: He’s one of the meanest guys in the SBC.
Johnny Hunt: He’s mean, but he can sure share the Gospel.
Kevin Ezell: Yeah, yeah.
Johnny Hunt: Ken, I have the material that he passed out that he uses at his own church, that he passes out to his people to place into the hands of the ones there witnessing to. Same thing with John [Metta 00:05:10]. John, everyone, you’ll walk away from and you’ll say, “Gosh, he was so much different, but yet spot on for exactly what we needed to hear.”
Johnny Hunt: We’re going to actually take topics that will help you to lead on mission by creating a vision and a strategy and a culture of evangelism. It’s a process, but we’re going to show you what you need to do, or what we’ve done that we found really works where we are or even other churches. How you’re gathering, even on Sunday morning, can be an experience that’s always, not every now and then, but always evangelistic in nature. Teaching your people to live on mission, and then hopefully it will become second nature for them at work as well.
Kevin Ezell: Wouldn’t you say evangelism and how you do evangelism kind of evolves in your own spiritual journey? I don’t know about you, but when I was a teenager, I went on Saturday morning visitation. I had a bus route when I was 15 and carried around a bag of Double Bubble looking for Big Wheels out in the yard. You know? Then I remember, I would use tracks, like those chick tracks I had.
Johnny Hunt: I remember those.
Kevin Ezell: I was a distributor of those throughout my high school. Then at the college and my first years of seminary, you know, I would use CWT and EE and then, I now use Three Circles is my favorite because I got the app and it’s just an easy thing to walk people through. Don’t you think sometimes it evolves? It’s about somebody understanding, you’ve got to have some tools, but there’s so many different circumstances and situations that call for different ways to connect with people.
Johnny Hunt: Yeah, and again, when you’re just natural and it’s second nature, you sort of begin to have a feel for what you ought to share, how far you ought to go on the first visit, whether you have the opportunity to share the Gospel and ask for a decision right there. Absolutely, I loved Four Spiritual Laws. Someone may say it didn’t have enough emphasis on repentance. Well, put that emphasis there, but don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
Johnny Hunt: Then I went through Faith, I went through CWT, I’ve learned the questions for Evangelism Explosion. There’s just been times that someone would say, “Well, what is it you’re trying to share anyway?” I’d just say, “Well, for instance, let me just ask you. Suppose you were to die today. What do you think you would say before God as to why He should let you into Heaven?” It just depends on where you may be that you can press in on the conversation. Most of all, you want to do your best to have a Gospel conversation.
Kevin Ezell: You know, the thing is, I wish there was some type of database where every pastor at least told us, “Okay, what is your preferred method?” I tell folks, “Look, if you don’t like Three Circles, do four squares, do five pentagons. It doesn’t matter. Find something and do it.” It’s the fact that you just use a tool. Your own personal testimony is the best tool, but whatever it is, just use something and do something.
Johnny Hunt: Exactly, and it becomes a whole process. I think why I’m trying to teach our people about witnessing, I mean, like it or not, there’s somewhere I need to remind them that people are going to spend eternity either with Christ or separated from Him. We got where the word almost frightens us, but people literally go to Hell. If you can think about your mother spending eternity from Christ or your dad, it’ll make you get in your car, it’ll cause you to get trained, and then to drive five hours to where they are to plead with them to give their life to Jesus, and leave the results to God. Try to share the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Kevin Ezell: To me, I think the problem’s not with the lost, the problem’s with the found. The found have forgotten what it’s like to be lost.
Johnny Hunt: Exactly.
Kevin Ezell: Tell me Brother Johnny, going to these workshops, what are three reasons why you think any pastor should attend the workshop other than the cool NAMB sway that we will give them?
Johnny Hunt: Number one, I really do believe everyone will be encouraged by the information, by what they hear, and they will be informed and instructed. I think there’s another ingredient that’s very important, and that is inspiration. They will be very inspired. I mean, it’ll warm your heart. You’ll hear some stories of how God has used them in recent days, maybe even in their travels to the conference.
Johnny Hunt: One thing I would say, whatever you do, don’t attend alone. Find that lady, that gentleman in your church that’s got a passion. Any staff that you may have, any board members, and plead with them, let them know in advance, that the cool thing about what we’re doing, it all takes place over 24 hours. Give one day out of the year and let us be part of, not only training you but some of your key lay leaders, so it can even start more exponentially when you get back.
Kevin Ezell: Exactly. That’s why I think one of the best things about Faith, if you remember the Faith, F-A-I-T-H, was so good, they just demanded that you bring at least 10 people from your church so you could multiply much faster. That was one of our favorite ones that I had use when I was a pastor and went over best with our people. Some of the pastors who have gone to some of these workshops have sent in just some notes, and I wanted to share a few things some of those guys said.
Kevin Ezell: One guy said, “My passion for evangelism was rekindled as a result of this workshop. I needed this. This workshop re-sparked my enthusiasm to reach the lost and engage our city.” I think the fact that, not only they hear great content with fantastic, practical, and practitional speakers, but that they’re around guys who are all after the same thing. We’re all wanting to push back losses and reach people. It’s just encouraging to hear guys share what works, and honestly for me, when I attended these as a pastor, it helped me and encouraged me to hear some things that didn’t work.
Johnny Hunt: Yeah, I am confident, and I wrote it down a long time ago, that encouragement fuels enthusiasm. Here’s what I believe. I believe every pastor that will attend, there was a time in their life they were enthusiastic about evangelism. They were confident their church would grow. They were confident they would reach people. They were confident that others in their congregation would join them. But, they’ve lost their enthusiasm.
Johnny Hunt: Now, if we can help re-spark it, and I heard it said once by a great theologian, he said, “Johnny, never forget, you do not have the capacity to light a man’s fire. Only Jesus can. You can fan the flame of that fire.” That’s where the encouragement comes in. That, a young man, an older man, a middle aged man or lady can become very enthusiastic again, sort of returning to your first love, of what you embraced when you first got started. That can happen at our Engage 24.
Kevin Ezell: Well, we’re hosting three Engage 24 workshops in the spring, so visit www.namb.net/engage24 for more information. We would love to see you there. As always, if you have any questions on evangelism, send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to answer them on a future podcast. Brother Johnny, thank you so much for your insight today, and just grateful to partner with you.
Johnny Hunt: Thank you Kevin, and I’m hoping that many of our listeners will join us at our next Engage 24.