13 December 2010
What every young evangelist needs
The Rev Martin Durham, a Baptist minister and chair of the Emerging Evangelists' Institute (EEI), explains how the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) can help young evangelists to make the most of their calling...
With the new session of EEI due to start in March 2011, it has been encouraging to catch up with former participants and hear how the EEI has helped equip them in proclaiming Jesus to a needy generation. One such evangelist is Pamela Stewart.
Pamela completed two years of training with the EEI in March 2010, and in her own words the training was "pivotal" as she pursues this precious call to proclaim Christ to a lost generation. During these two years the Lord has opened many opportunities for Pamela to make Him known, and it has been quite a journey of seeing lives challenged and transformed, and as Pamela hints in her testimony, her first book is now with publishers. I am sure that as you read her words, you will sense the urgency of Pamela's desire to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ at every opportunity.
Have you ever stopped a stranger in the street and asked them what they thought of Jesus? Well, I hadn't either, and quite honestly, I did not want to! Nevertheless, part of our training at EEI included a week of street outreach in Belfast. My heart sank at this. In my bedroom I knelt in prayer, asking for help. Along with my outreach partner, I stopped two teenage girls who were walking past. I was astonished to discover they were keen to talk about the emptiness they felt inside. This was a perfect situation for me. I shared how I too had become dissatisfied with a formal church in my teens. They were amazed. I shared with them how someone introduced me to the wonder of being saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus.
At their request I put my arms around both of them and prayed. There and then they found the saving grace of Jesus. We hugged before we parted; all of us had tears in our eyes because it was clear that God had met a need in their hearts.
That incident changed me forever. Now I share my faith wherever I am with anyone that will listen. But I do it sensitively under the Holy Spirit's leading and always with an attitude of prayer. For instance, last week as I waited at the Pelican crossing, I initiated a conversation with a lady. By the time we had crossed over the road we were talking "faith" issues. Twenty minutes later I had a telephone number and an address to follow up and an order for my new book.
Here at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association we count it a huge privilege to be able to stand alongside 'emerging' evangelists like Pamela. There are many former participants urgently proclaiming Christ across this nation, and we know there are many more just starting out on that call and who will benefit greatly from having someone run alongside them. The EEI meets that need. The first week of the new EEI is the 14-18 March 2011. If you are interested in participating, or know someone you think would benefit from taking part, please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and an application form.