According to the Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language a principle is “a fundamental truth, law, doctrine, or motivating force upon which others are based. A principle is also considered an essential element or constituent of a process.”
Assuming that definition is accurate, catching, throwing, hitting and knowing the rules are core principles of baseball, without which the game cannot be successfully played. Likewise, the practice of evangelism rests on certain principles without which it cannot be done effectively.
As an equipper of others for the joy of outreach you want to model and teach these basic truths. One of them is that the Word of God is the primary means that God uses in evangelism. As Jesus emphasized in his parables of the soil, the seed of the Word has inherent life to enliven the believing heart. Referring to new birth Peter said that “this is the word that was preached to you.” Paul also taught that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”
The Greek term in the preceding texts is “rhema,” referring to the individual words, phrases or sentences of Scripture. Specific statements of God’s Word are the primary means of new birth, whether spoken or written.
This has several practical implications in your equipping. Remind your mentors that witnessing is simply giving forth God’s Word in any form from conversation to a tract or a Bible study or a sermon. That way, sharing Christ becomes a natural part of life. Equipped evangelists can quickly repeat specific verses, so Scripture memory is critical. When we realize it’s the power of the Word rather than our presentation we can relax and remove false guilt – it’s the Word’s job, not ours to bring the lost to life. Finally, any believer, whether a day old in Christ or years along, can be involved in outreach.
While God uses our lifestyle and influence in bringing unbelievers to himself (Mt 5:13-16), his primary means in evangelism is his specific Word. Pass on this basic principle.
Adapted from Principles and Practices of Evangelism by I. J. Fontenot