To begin with Effective Evangelism, I would like to share a true story. I hope that it will test you in the same way that it has me.
The Blood Issue
A woman had been afflicted with an unknown blood ailment for the previous twelve years. It is most probable that this sickness manifested itself as menstruation issues, which caused her to be considered unclean within her community. No establishment open to the public would have been willing to accommodate her. It was forbidden for her to congregate with the other worshipers inside the synagogue, and she was not allowed to make physical contact with the rabbi.
She had been seeing physicians for well over a decade at that point. She had to have held out hope that each new day would bring healing from a different physician, but she was never cured. She must have yearned for the day when the bleeding would finally cease, but sadly, that day never arrived. She must have pictured the day when the masses would accept her, but unfortunately, that day would never come to pass.
At this point, the woman had experienced all that she could withstand. However, Jesus was going to pass through her village at that time. She disregarded all of the cultural restrictions that were in place and manoeuvred her way through the throng to get a touch from Jesus. She stretched out to touch only the bottom of His garment, maybe with a little bit of superstition, but with enough true trust that Jesus reacted to her. She was just touching the hem of His garment. Jesus was able to do in an instant what no physician had accomplished in the previous twelve years.
Mark 5:25-34 — Now a woman was there who had been suffering from a haemorrhage for twelve years. She had endured a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet instead of getting better, she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she kept saying, “If only I touch his clothes, I will be healed.” At once the bleeding stopped, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Jesus knew at once that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” His disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing against you and you say, ‘Who touched me?’” But he looked around to see who had done it. Then the woman, with fear and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
What are the reasons behind all of this?
Mark 5:27 — “When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak…”
Because Jesus’ name had already been brought up in conversation. This woman had, at some point and by some means, gained some knowledge of Jesus. We are unable to determine who it was that talked to her or what it was that she heard. She had heard enough to convince her that she needed to find this person called Jesus, regardless of who had told her the story. There, He healed her sickness and acknowledged her as His own daughter.
However, this woman was led to Jesus by someone, but that “someone” was never given credit for their actions. This is an important truth that should not be overlooked. It is quite unlikely that the individual’s name would have been included in any denomination’s newsletter or on any website. In fact, when Mark wrote down the story, he did not even bother to mention the name.
Have you ever considered why anything like that would be the case?
It is actually not that complicated: the person to whom we testify is the focus of the gospel, not the people who are doing the witnessing. The evangelist is not given the honour that should be theirs; rather, the emphasis is placed on announcing the grandeur of Jesus.
If we are going to be witnesses for Christ who proclaim the name of Jesus, then we cannot be concerned about whether or not our names will be published when God accomplishes miracles through the ministries that we lead. We cannot allow ourselves to get anxious even if everyone hears about what God has accomplished, but nobody acknowledges our name or our contributions.
It is our responsibility to direct others to Jesus. After all, effective evangelistic leaders are aware that the story’s focus has never been on us, and it never will be.