Ready, willing and able

By Frank King | Published: September 07, 2017

Equipping people to share their faith is a key part of making evangelism important in churches, said David Macfarlane, one of the leaders of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada's ReAwaken seminars. "We tell people to evangelize, but we never show them how."

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Andrea Kidd admitted it: she had little interest in attending one of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada’s ReAwaken seminars for pastors and church leaders.

But she went, along with her husband, Gil, and she was blessed with some helpful take-aways: like being reminded of the value of, and the need for, authenticity—the need “to listen to God, to act on His leading, and to not be afraid,” said the Longview, AB, resident.

Andrea was one of 35 people attending a ReAwaken event south of Calgary in June. The half-day gatherings, held in churches across Canada, encourage congregations to make evangelism a priority and equip them to do outreach in Canada’s secular culture.

“The Gospel doesn’t change,” said the Reverend David Macfarlane, who leads ReAwaken along with the Reverend David Overholt. “How we present it needs to change.”

Before becoming Director of National Initiatives for BGEA of Canada in 2009, Macfarlane led churches in Ontario and British Columbia, all of which experienced rapid growth because they made evangelism a priority and used innovative methods to connect with their communities.

Macfarlane hopes to reawaken a passion for evangelism in Canada’s church leaders—convincing them and their congregations that they really can be relevant in their communities.

“Do we see our world only as it is?” he asked during a seminar in western Canada. “Or do we see that God is not stuck and the past doesn’t determine the future?”

Macfarlane used Scripture, mostly from Joshua, to adjust the mindset of his audience so they can become ready, willing, and able to carry out Christ’s Great Commission: “Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15, ESV).

Among his main points:

    1. Invest in people who are passionate about the Gospel (rather than those who are blasé about their faith). Give them opportunities to serve.
    2. If you aim at nothing, you’re sure to hit it. So pray specifically for lost people by name.
    3. Don’t just pray for people you know, pray for people you can get to know. We need to build bridges to help people come to Christ.
    4. Work with the leaders of each of your church minis-tries to set a goal of how many people they can reach with the Gospel. Don’t impose that goal on them; ask them, What can the men’s ministry do? What can small groups do? Then meet with them every three months to see how they’re doing and pray with them.
    5. Make a firm commitment to equip Christians for evangelism. “We tell people to evangelize, but we never show them how. The churches that are making a difference for the Kingdom are those that are training their people.

”BGEA of Canada has many tools church leaders can use to equip their congregations to confidently share their faith, including:

    • The My Hope DVD ministry MyHopeWithBillyGraham.ca.
    • The Christian Life and Witness Course (done in connection with Festivals and Celebrations).
    • Evangelism resources at BillyGraham.ca/GrowYourFaith.
    • Special events such as the Canadian Evangelism Congress Sept. 25-26 at West Edmonton Mall’s Fantasyland Hotel BillyGraham.ca/Congress.
    • Rapid Response Team training, for those who want to become Billy Graham volunteer chaplains and minister to people in crisis BillyGraham.ca/RRT.

“This seminar gave me an opportunity to evaluate things that aren’t going 100 percent well in our church,” said Dave Hunt, a home church pastor who attended a ReAwaken seminar in Airdrie, AB.

“I’m going to tell my church family about this seminar,” added Laura May, who attended the Airdrie seminar. “I’m disappointed more of them didn’t attend, because they missed something really good.”