Evangelistic Fervor is Caught More Than Taught

Have you signed up to receive Anthony Wood’s mission updates? Dr. Wood is the lead evangelist and assistant director at River City Ministry – a work serving the poor in homeless in North Little Rock, AR.

Here’s the latest update Anthony sent out to supporters:

He came to RCM with barely any knowledge or understanding of the culture of poverty. He brought his sweet wife and small child. He came to give himself first to You, and second, to answer Your call on his life to be a missionary in this place.

He’d been pretty active in short term missions, served as a youth minister in a mid-sized church, had some reaching out, but his evangelistic opportunities and experience had been sparse at best. He was lucky to get to immerse the kids in his youth group. It’s not because of any lack of desire to assist You in saving souls, just mostly because he’s not been in an environment where leading the lost to You has been a priority. That’s changed for Chase, over the past 18 months.

Chase loves people, and his heart leads him to serve and shepherd hurting souls. His natural giftedness is pastoral, so meeting new people and striking up a conversation that would lead to the important questions of one becoming a Christian, well, it wasn’t easy for him. That was, at first.

Sharing the Good News in one’s own culture is not easy, but with the added dimension of crossing into a different culture, a new language has to be learned. In this case, he had to learn the culture of poverty and homelessness. And let me tell you, after serving in this culture over twenty years now, just because we both speak English, does not mean we speak the same language.

So, throughout his apprenticeship, Chase has consistently given himself to learning how to communicate in this foreign culture. It should prove to help him as he and his family travel to bring Jesus to Peru in a year or two from now.

And though it’s not been without ups and downs, difficulties in communication, his having to learn a new language of poverty, and overcoming challenges of personal growth, Your man Chase has assisted You in leading 63 souls to the waters of baptism and 75 to be restored back to You. Makes You pretty happy, huh, Lord?

Our Executive Director, Jim Woodell, said it well. “Chase is the perfect example of a person who didn’t have the gift of evangelism, but gave himself to learning, and has become very effective in leading the lost to Jesus.”

I wonder if it’s not so much that Chase didn’t have the gift of evangelism as it has been he’s in an environment in which it can be released.

Lord, You sent this man to RCM, and he has become a harvester of souls in Your vineyard. Thank you.

… Ask the Lord of the harvest … to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:38, NIV

Blessings, Anthony Wood
Assistant Director
River City Ministry

Had Chase developed much evangelistic skill before coming to RCM? According to Anthony’s update, no.

But after being mentored and trained for a while in an environment where disciplemaking was an important priority, Chase blossomed (and I continue to hear good things about him from different people – this update is just the latest).

Chase’s experience adds to the pile of evidence already before us supporting the argument that evangelistic fervor and skill are things that are caught more so than taught.

What I mean: if one seeks to become a skilled disciplemaker, one should seek to learn in an environment where disciplemaking is: 1) a top priority, and 2) actually happening.

One is not likely to learn in an environment where it is not important or not happening. Unfortunately that describes the environment provided by most churches, ministries, and Bible college/seminaries.

What needs to change in order for more ministers entering the field to get the kind of training Chase has received?

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