This article originally appeared in two parts in the July 28, 1972 and the August 25, 1972 issues of Christianity Today.
The program of training laymen for the of evangelism at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, grew out of the specific situation of that church; yet it has within it some readily transferable techniques that have been successfully used by other congregations. We believe its principles embody some of the New Testament teaching on evangelism. It is program of personal lay evangelism and does not begin to encompass many of the other sound and biblical methods, such as mass evangelism and pulpit evangelism.
Realizing that laymen are perhaps the most strategic and also the most unused key to the evangelization of the world, we have tried to build a program that will motivate, recruit, and train men and women to begin the job of evangelism and then keep doing it. This is not an easy task. And yet the basic principles of New Testament evangelism seem to require this mobilization of the laity.
Christ's first command to his new followers in the first chapter of Mark was, "Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men." His last words on this earth to his disciples were, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." Christ began and ended his ministry with the command to be witnesses and fishers of men. This thrust of his teaching is summed up in the Great Commission, where he tells his followers to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. The first principle, then, is that the Church is a body under ...1