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PRAYER AND MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN EVANGELISM

I Engel’s Scale and Holy Spirit Sensitivity

Often we assume that conversion, someone moving across the line of faith, is the goal of evangelism. But so many other steps had to happen to get someone to that point and other steps are to follow! Here is a bigger, more holistic process within which evangelism is a part.

We think there is a great divide between evangelism and discipleship—we see them as separate and unrelated. In reality they are both part of the same process. The goal of this bigger process is complete transformation of a person into the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ. Evangelism is a word to describe all the steps to get someone to the line of faith—but we don’t stop there. Does the Great Commission (see Matthew 28:16-20) tell us to go into the world and make converts? No, we are to make disciples. And the discipleship process never really ends—we all have more to learn, areas in which to grow, and character to shape. Evangelism is just pre-conversion discipleship.

The Engle scale is a representation of some of the steps in the evangelism/discipleship process. The scale ranges from someone like Elijah who already knew God well and who was whisked away into heaven on one end of the continuum, all the way to the church in Athens who originally didn’t even know about Jesus at the other end of the continuum. Values assigned originally by Engel, show that 0 (the line of faith) is not the beginning of the process. No one can judge where someone is on the scale; only God knows because He alone can see a man’s heart. This scale, however, can be helpful to us in evangelism or discipleship when thinking about how to bring someone farther along in the process. When the Holy Spirit helps us understand where a person is on the scale, then we can help that person forward to the next step needed at that particular time.

-9 No effective knowledge of Christianity

-8 Initial Awareness of Christianity

-7 Interest in Christianity

-6 Awareness of basic facts of the Gospel

-5 Grasp of implications of the Gospel

-4 Positive attitude to the Gospel

-3 Awareness of personal need

-2 Challenge and decision to act

-1 Repentance and faith

0 A Disciple is Born!

+1 Evaluation of decision

+2 Initiation into the church

+3 Become part of the process of making other disciples

+4 Growth in understanding of the faith

+5 Growth in Christian character

+6 Discovery and use of gifts

+7 Christian life-style

+8 Stewardship of resources

+9 Prayer

+10 Openness to others/Effective sharing of faith and life

Based on “What's Gone Wrong With The Harvest?”by James F. Engel & Wilbert Norton - Zondervan 1975

II Prayer and The Holy Spirit in Salvation

Only the Holy Spirit can bring salvation. We can communicate the good news, inviting people to Jesus and we can pray that the Holy Spirit will work, but we cannot save people. Neither can we be fully at peace and properly motivated in our part in evangelism without understanding the Theological issues of election and human free-will and choice.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Mt. 11:28

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34

choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” Joshua 24:15

“Just as it is written: ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’” Romans 9:13

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world . . .” Ephesians 1:4

“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will” Ephesians 1:11

God chooses and we choose. Theology, the science/study of God, is full of truths that seem to be paradoxical or illogical to us. For examples, the Bible is God’s Word and a human book, God is Three and One, Jesus is human and divine, and God chooses and man chooses. Two sides of the gate into the family of God exist, each visible from only one side.

When we pray for people to get saved, we pray as though it all depends on God; He chooses, yet we urge Him choose the person we are working with. When we do evangelism, we speak as though humans have all the responsibility of choice and free will. We urge people to make a good choice.

We can use techniques such as “Are you interested in spiritual things?” “If you were to die tonight, what reason would there exist for God to let you into His heaven?” “Why did Jesus have to die?” But only The Holy Spirit can save. “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” I Cor. 12:3 “whose heart the Lord opened,” Acts 16:14

When I pray or witness, I want to be a good partner and tool in the evangelism/discipleship process.