The Role of Helpers in Evangelism

In our efforts to lead people to Jesus Christ, whether it is family members, coworkers, friends or neighbors, we may feel as if we are all alone in our efforts. Such ought not to be the case! I would like for us to think about the role that others utilize in evangelism.

For example, consider the statement that Paul made: “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6). Many times when we use this passage, we show the impact that God has in our evangelism (and rightly so). Yet, let us notice another powerful and necessary lesson—Paul recognized the impact of Apollos in the efforts to evangelize the Corinthians. He knew that he would not be able to do it alone. In fact, he was rarely alone—he was with Barnabas on his first missionary journey, and he selected Silas to accompany him on his second trip. He “recruited” such men as Luke, Timothy, Titus, Epaphroditus, Sopater of Berea, Aristarchus, Secundus, Gaius of Derbe, Tychicus, Trophimus, Aquila and Priscilla to help him. In his epistles, he would often list others as “fellow laborers,” “fellow servants” or “fellow workers.” Of all of the greatest evangelists in the known church, he would be the first to admit the role of others who assist in evangelistic efforts.

Consider another example, beginning in John 4. When Jesus traveled from Judea to Galilee, he needed to go through Samaria (rather than the usual path of circumventing the disliked Samaritans), and there he encountered a particular woman. Through his conversation with her and the recognition of the fact that the fields “are white already to harvest” (cf. John 4:35), “many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman…and many more believed because of his own word” (John 4:39-41). In all, he stayed there and had a tremendous influence on them for two days. Thus, it should be no wonder that months later, when a disciple of the church named Philip went to Samaria and “preached Christ unto them” (Acts 8:5), they responded with obedience by baptism (Acts 8:5-12). I am convinced that while Philip benefited from reaping the harvest of these Samaritan souls, Jesus had already planted the seed beforehand. Thus, we see the role that others play, even if time passes that might tempt us to believe that all hope is lost.

When Jesus sent the twelve apostles on the limited commission and when he later sent seventy disciples on their own limited commission, he sent them “two and two” (Mark 6:7; Luke 10:1). In this way, they would not be alone. Even the zealous efforts of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons utilize the wisdom of this principle.

What may we glean from this in a practical way? First, let us be sure that we communicate our efforts with others. Let other Christians know of whom we are teaching, so that they may pray for our efforts. If we are successful in inviting them to our worship assemblies, introduce them as honored guests to our brethren, and when our brethren introduce their non-Christian friends to us, welcome them warmly! Remembering their names, if we ever see them again, speak friendly to them. It may even the case that mutual efforts between brethren could lend one family to show hospitality in having the interested student and diligent teacher over for a meal. I would imagine that the more friendly Christians that a non-Christian meets, the better the chance of influencing him with a lifestyle of Christianity that he or she observes.

May all of us work diligently in leading people to Jesus, but may all of us also be keenly aware of opportunities wherewith we may help others lead people to Jesus!

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