Bestselling author Rebecca Manley Pippert shares some of what she is doing in her global ministry and how she is seeking to help others share their faith.
Many people will be familiar with your bestselling book Out of the Saltshaker, but can you bring us to date with what you’ve been doing since that was published?
When our last child went away to University my husband Dick sold his business so we could do Evangelism ministry together. We gave Evangelism training conferences across America – but soon we were invited on all six continents. It was fascinating to compare notes on what was similar no matter where we were and what was different.
You have a global ministry but for the last five years you’ve been based seven months of the year in Europe. What was it that brought you here?
We felt a strong call from God to come. Because Europe is probably the toughest nut to crack for the gospel, we thought what better place to help believers gain confi dence in the gospel and competence that God wants to use them just as they are.
Is UK different from other countries when it comes to evangelism?
Of course there are unique cultural differences in every place, but let me touch on the similarities, especially in the West:
- The fears: what if I offend? What if I am rejected and lose the friendship? How do I raise the topic of faith naturally? What if they ask me a question I can’t answer?
- Most feel inadequate about sharing their faith, yet in their hearts they really want to! There is nearly always some person they wish could be reached with the Good News of Jesus.
- Many Christians still see evangelism as an ‘event’ (instead of a lifestyle) that is best left to professionals.
- Most see evangelism negatively as something you wouldn’t do to your best friend let alone your favourite pet. They think it is memorising techniques to use on unsuspecting victims.
You often talk of Seeker Bible Studies, and the Good Book Company recently published Uncovering the life of Jesus. How do you hope this programme will help people?
Once we engage in friendship with unbelievers and have spiritual conversations we need to allow them to see what Jesus is really like. Seeker Studies are a question-based Bible study in which the people we invite are seekers or skeptics, not Christians. It’s effective because it reveals Jesus through the power of God’s Word! It isn’t a slick program or a gimmick.
People who wouldn’t darken the door of a church feel comfortable coming to our home where they are with people like themselves--people with lots of unanswered questions. Even though unbelievers may be turned off by the church, many are still curious about Jesus.
I believe the greatest shortcut to evangelism (apart from prayer and developing authentic relationships with unbelievers) is focusing on the person of Jesus, because Jesus is irresistible! Whether they become Christ-followers or not (and we’ve seen so much fruit!) I’ve see even the most cynical feel drawn to Jesus, which bodes well for future discussions.
Last year you released a Discipleshipcourse called Live, Grow, Know. Why did you write it?
When we trained Christian students in evangelism and Seeker Study we saw so many students give their lives to Christ. Then we saw similar fruit as we trained churches in evangelism and helped church folk start Seeker Bible Studies.I was always asked the same thing: “What tool can you give us to help the person almost ready to make a commitment or for a recent convert?Do you have a tool to help the growing Christian – and something even for the mature to grow in
So I wrote a 3 part series each containing 5 Bible studies plus DVD curriculum. LIVE is for the almost there or the recent convert – a great tool as a follow-up to an outreach course. GROW is for the growing believer. KNOW is for all believers on core doctrine. It has been such an exciting project! I think it is a tool that could be a great resource for the church and for students.
If you could sum up your approach to evangelism in a nutshell, what would that be?
• PRAY: ask God to show you the people in your
life who He is seeking.
• LOVE: ask God to fi ll you with His, and develop
• Cultivate their curiosity: arouse curiosity in
Jesus, ask questions
• Proclaim the Gospel: at the right time share the
gospel, and do a Seeker Bible study together
• Reap a Harvest: at the God-appointed time
invite them to give their lives to Christ
• FOLLOW UP: be sure they understand what
Christianity is all about.
June 16th, 2015 - Posted & Written by Together Magazine