“The first reformation put the Bible in the hands of laymen; the second reformation will place the ministry in the hands of laymen.” – John R. Stott
Ever wonder why we are so sluggish in reaching the world for Christ? If so, consider this:
A few years ago I was attending a conference of Christian leaders, when a businessman stood up and asked, “How many of you came to Christ through a ‘full-time‘ Christian worker?” Out of the 5,000 delegates, (98% of whom were “full-time” Christian workers) about 50 people stood up.
He then asked, “How many of you came to Christ through a layperson?” The rest stood up.
Historian K. S. Latourette observes that throughout the history of the church, whenever the Word of God was put into the hands of laymen, the Gospel tended to spread like a prairie fire. When however, the Word remained in the hands of the clergy, evangelism ground to a near halt.
It is significant to note that Jesus’ primary approach to world evangelization was to selectively invest His life in 12 laymen for three years. When He had completed His task of discipling, He then commissioned them to go out and repeat the process. The command of course applies to all of us:
“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you… ” (Matthew 28:19-20a)
They obeyed, and that next generation of believers “turned the world upside down.” (Acts 17:6)
So, which method, do you think would prove more effective in impacting the world with the Gospel: (1) 20 Billy Grahams daily reaching 20,000 people for Christ, or (2) One layperson discipling another for a year, after which the two of them would split off and each disciple another, etc., etc.?
The answer: In 30 years the Graham method would reach 2.9 billion people with the Gospel, while the one-to-one approach would reach 8.5 billion.
QUESTION: So, tell me, are you, as a lay person taking Christ’s “Great Commission” seriously by investing your life in others with a view toward their salvation and/or spiritual maturity? If not, what explanation do you plan to give your Heavenly Father the day you face Him in eternity?