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Eric Meyer MPE Outline

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Eric Meyer

CMN 8263: Discipleship & Evangelism

Professor Lanker

June 10th, 2008

The Master Plan of Evangelism

Introduction: Preface

Summary:  Christian leaders know that they need to spend time evangelizing, but many are not productive.  The key to productivity is to examine the methods Jesus used; to study His actions, not just His words.

1.       Church programs must be designed with the end in mind.  Aimless activity will not accomplish the mission Jesus gave His disciples.

2.      In order to focus evangelistic activity, we need to study the Master.  We need to understand Jesus’ strategy, not just the words He used.

3.      That strategy is found in the way Jesus behaved.  He gave us a model to follow, a perfect example of how to train disciples.

4.      Key to following the model is that we must live it, not just study it.  Jesus insists that we teach the entire world, that no one be excluded.

5.      Jesus planned to win.  He had a distinct strategy for developing His church, though it is a very subtle one.

Quote:  “He had confidence in the future precisely because He lived according to that plan in the present.”  (pg. 18)

Interaction:  Over the last few months I have found myself telling Jesus that I trust Him, and know that He will lead me where He wants me to go.  That is much easier said than done though.  I long for unconcerned confidence in the future, though I know I should not worry.

Eric Meyer

CMN 8263: Discipleship & Evangelism

Professor Lanker

June 10th, 2008

The Master Plan of Evangelism

Chapter 1: Selection

Summary:  The strategy Jesus utilized was founded on people not programs.  He spent the initial phase of His ministry selecting and teaching people; not defining or describing the process of spreading His word, or even discussing His ultimate goals.

1.       Jesus focused His attention on a select few.  His entire mission depended on the utter faithfulness of this handful of disciples.

2.      Jesus did not ignore the masses.  He spent much time healing, but His intimate attention went to His inner core of followers.

3.      Jesus could have had the immediate acceptance of most people simply by performing miracles.  However, He knew how temporary that acceptance would be.

4.      The church today seems to have missed the above points.  The emphasis is on telling the story, not developing dedicated disciples.

5.      Nothing has changed in Jesus’ mission.  The church still needs to take the long term view, and not focus on the applause of adoring crowds. 

Quote:  “All He had to do was satisfy the temporal appetites and curiosities of the people by His supernatural power.”  (pg. 27) 

Interaction:  Recently I’ve been thinking about Jesus’ refusal to perform miracles for the Pharisees.  It just hit me like a ton of bricks that we are not to ask God to impress us, but are to do everything we can to impress Him. 

Eric Meyer

CMN 8263: Discipleship & Evangelism

Professor Lanker

June 10th, 2008

The Master Plan of Evangelism

Chapter 2:  Association

Summary:  A father learns that children model much of their behavior on how he behaves.  Jesus used this principle to teach His disciples; He spent almost all of His time with them.

1.       The disciples were being taught by simply observing Jesus, though they probably did not recognize at the time the lessons they were observing.

2.      The intense verbal training only began after years of association.

3.      The amount of time Jesus devoted to His small group of disciples was so great, that it must be regarded as a deliberate strategy.

4.      Jesus continually followed up on the messages He was teaching.  He did not let His disciples miss His key lessons.

5.      Teaching disciples requires constant personal attention.  The church needs to understand that the principle is as important today as when Jesus was teaching it Himself.

Quote:  “If Sunday services and membership training classes are all that a church has to develop young converts into mature disciples, then they are defeating their own purpose…” (pg. 41)

Interaction:  It is easy to simply give a sermon, tell people how to live, or teach a class.  The true test of following Jesus is devoting the personal time necessary to develop a disciple.  Programs are a way to feel good about doing our “job”, but could do more harm than good because they leave the new Christian alone to figure out what Jesus actually did.  I like Coleman’s emphasis that we are a family, and need to act like it.

Eric Meyer

CMN 8263: Discipleship & Evangelism

Professor Lanker

June 10th, 2008

The Master Plan of Evangelism

Chapter 3:  Consecration

Summary:  Jesus demanded total obedience from His disciples.  He did not ask any to quit because He did not need to.  He knew that total obedience and total trust go hand in hand.

1.       Jesus was very blunt about the cost of being His disciple.  He said that a person can only serve one master, and must be willing to die to follow Him.

2.      Many left Jesus when they realized the level of obedience required, and He let them go.

3.      The disciples were not perfect n their obedience.  They made many mistakes as they learned, but as they obeyed what they did not understand started to become clear.

4.      Jesus found joy in doing the will of His master, as we will find joy in doing His will.

5.      The church needs leaders who obey Jesus if we are to have congregations that also obey.

Quote:  “For in time, obedient followers invariably take on the character of their leader.”

(pg. 43)

Interaction:  A congregation is similar to a business in that the organization will take on the personality of the pastor or CEO.  A strong leader who demands that members obey may drive away some people.  Many congregations view this as unacceptable because Christians are supposed to be inclusive.  However, I would prefer to be a part of a strong congregation, following a strong leader, than to suffer along with a group that simply wants a father figure to take care of them.  A business would not last long acting like this, and neither will a congregation.

Eric Meyer

CMN 8263: Discipleship & Evangelism

Professor Lanker

June 10th, 2008

The Master Plan of Evangelism

Chapter 4:  Impartation

Summary:  Jesus asked His disciples to obey because He loved them.  He was not exercising the ability to order others around, but showing them the only way to the Kingdom.  Jesus said there is only one way to live, and that is His way, but it is a way of limitless love.

1.      Jesus demonstrated that there was no sacrifice too great to make for His disciples.  He did not ask for obedience with nothing in return.  He gave them eternal love.

2.      Jesus also demonstrated His driving passion to save humanity from endless sin.

3.      That driving passion meant giving His life for His creation, a fact that He explicitly described to His disciples.

4.      Jesus demonstrated that love is the only way to win the hearts of men.

5.      The only way to understand Christ completely is through the work of the Holy Spirit.

6.      The power of Jesus given through the Holy Spirit makes for a successful evangelist.

7.      The only way to earn the gift of the Spirit is to give ourselves to Christ.

Quote:  “After all, in His flesh, Jesus was confined to one body and one place…”  (pg. 59)

Interaction:  Luke 11:13 asks how much more will the Father give the Spirit to those who ask?  For years I have read that as being able to get what I ask for.  Jesus is telling us simply to ask for the Spirit.  The unstated message seems to be that God already knows what we need, and now that the Comforter can be with us all at any time, we can have what God knows we need simply by asking for the Spirit to join us.

Eric Meyer

CMN 8263: Discipleship & Evangelism

Professor Lanker

June 10th, 2008

The Master Plan of Evangelism

Chapter 5:  Demonstration

Summary:  Jesus needed to demonstrate beyond doubt the source of his spiritual support in order for the disciples to understand His teachings.  He asked the followers to do what He did.  He led from the front.

1.       Communication with God is something that Jesus modeled until the disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray.  This lesson was crucial because they had to then teach the world how to pray.

2.      Jesus adamantly defined the need to know scripture.  He uses scriptural reference so repeatedly that the disciples could not help but to learn their importance.

3.      Jesus was always evangelizing.  He taught the skills effortlessly and continuously.

4.      His method of teaching was doing.  It was so effortless that their appeared to be no actual intentional teaching method.

5.      Being a disciple means being humble enough to let others see our shortcomings.  They must see our shortcomings because we must be leading by demonstrating and we are not perfect as Jesus is.

Quote:  “He was training men to do a job, and when they knew enough to get started, he saw to it that they did something about it.”  (pg. 69)

Interaction:  That is the ultimate job of a disciple: acting, doing, performing, and obeying the commands of Jesus.  As His words were recorded in Matthew 7:24; we are to act.

Eric Meyer

CMN 8263: Discipleship & Evangelism

Professor Lanker

June 10th, 2008

The Master Plan of Evangelism

Chapter 6: Delegation

Summary:  Jesus took plenty of time teaching the disciples by example, but eventually they needed to do the work themselves.  When that time came, Jesus gave explicit instructions.

1.       Preach the Kingdom of God and Heal.  Go to the Jews, and avoid the Gentiles.  Trust God to supply what you need.

2.        They were to find a safe home from which they would work in each town.  If the people in the town would not accept them, they were simply to move on.

3.      Expect a difficult journey.  If the master was treated poorly, the disciples were certain to receive even worse treatment.

4.      The disciples would be doing Gods work, they very same mission as Jesus.

5.      Jesus did not leave His instructions open to interpretation.

Quote:  “one can not help being impressed with the realistic way that Jesus never let His followers underestimate the strength of the enemy…”  (pg. 75)

Interaction:  I think a misconception that many people have today is that demons and the devil are no longer active.  Jesus was explicit in teaching about the dangers that the disciples would face.  All of Jesus’ other instructions are valid today.  Why would His instructions about the resistance of Satan be any different?  Satan is actively at work trying to dissuade the message of the Kingdom, and we still need to be “as wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Matt. 10:16)

Eric Meyer

CMN 8263: Discipleship & Evangelism

Professor Lanker

June 10th, 2008

The Master Plan of Evangelism

Chapter 7:  Supervision

Summary:  Jesus actively reviewed the performance of the disciples.  When they returned from evangelism missions, they got together to discuss the effort.  This was a teaching process as well as a performance review.

1.       As they discussed their experiences, Jesus would teach the disciples how the particular events applied to their lives.

2.      The disciples continuously needed to have their attitudes corrected.  The more they got to know Jesus, the more they felt set apart.  They needed to be reminded to be humble.

3.      Jesus never stopped teaching.  He used each experience to discuss discipleship.

4.      He did not expect more than they could offer, but Jesus expected the disciples to give their best effort.

5.      Jesus displayed the importance of constant supervision and guidance.  That aspect needs to be a part of disciple training as much today as it was when Jesus Himself taught.

Quote:  “We have not been called to hold the fort, but to storm the heights.”  (pg. 87)

Interaction:  Jesus did not spend so much of His time with His disciples teaching them to spread the Gospel of the Kingdom if He intended Christians to simply sit in church on Sunday and watch a performance.  Jesus was training evangelists, and intended those followers to take His message out into the world.  We make His sacrifices meaningless if we simply revel in the beauty of our church services.

Eric Meyer

CMN 8263: Discipleship & Evangelism

Professor Lanker

June 10th, 2008

The Master Plan of Evangelism

Chapter 8:  Reproduction

Summary:  Jesus gave us a magnificent model for teaching disciples.  It is a model that works well in business settings as well as church settings.  He did not give us such a perfect model if He did not intend for us to put it to good use.  We are to reproduce; teaching the same way He taught.

1.       We can not expect to be successful in reproduction unless we bear witness to Jesus.

2.      As simple as it seems, creating disciples is the only plan Jesus had for saving us.

3.      A Christian by definition must produce fruit.

4.      We are not to just speak the words of Jesus, but to teach as He taught.

5.      We must pray for laborers, and then spend the time needed to teach as Jesus taught.

6.      The ultimate evidence of success is if our students create their own students.

7.      Numbers do not matter.  Depth of discipleship is what truly matters.

Quote:  When will we realize that evangelism is not done by something, but by someone?  It is an expression of God’s love, and God is a person.”  (pg. 97)

Interaction:  Jesus is and always has been alive.  I don’t really understand how that works, and really don’t understand why He loves us so much when we are so insignificant.  We know Jesus is alive because He does in fact love us beyond description.  If He did not, we would not feel His presence.  When I hear people try to deny the presence of God because bad things happen, I try to imagine what the world would be like if He were not with us.  It is a terrible picture.

Eric Meyer

CMN 8263: Discipleship & Evangelism

Professor Lanker

June 10th, 2008

The Master Plan of Evangelism

Epilogue

Summary:  Every Christian should have a life plan that is directed by the will of Jesus.  If we can not immediately define this plan, we should seriously think about how Jesus would have us incorporate His evangelism strategy into our own life.

1.       In order to introduce people to Jesus, they must see Him through our behavior.

2.      Deliberate planning is required if we are to create disciples.

3.      Large numbers of students are not required.  Actually, smaller may be better.

4.      Discipleship must be taught in community.

5.      Patience is required.  Students need the teacher’s time, and maybe years of it.

6.      Disciples should be expected to perform, not just study.

7.      The teacher needs to anticipate, and accept the burdens of the immature Christian.

8.      Christian service is demanding.  There are no shortcuts in developing disciples.

Quote:  “What is the plan of your life?”  (pg. 99)

Interaction:  Somewhere in the neighborhood of 2% of the average Christian’s income goes to the church.  I don’t know the exact number, but I bet the amount of time given is similar or less.  At the same time billions are spent every year on self help books.  The fields truly are ripe for the harvest.  Unfortunately, people who already are willing to hear God’s word walk through our churches and back out into the world with no real relationship with Christ.  When Jesus told us to go and make disciples, He meant a whole lot more than simply reading the Gospel out loud. 

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