Pastor, how do you inspire the people in evangelism? That’s a question that I have received numerous times over the years and one that I have asked of myself. What’s the key to effective evangelism? That’s another question I often receive. My prayer as a pastor is that the people under my care will have the heart to share the gospel and live a life on mission for the glory of God. But here’s the thing, I cannot, in and of myself, effectively inspire anyone to evangelize. I don’t have that power. And, in reality, my passion for evangelism isn’t the fuel needed to inspire others in evangelism. So what’s needed?
The gospel of Jesus Christ should be the foundation and motivation in evangelism. It is our understanding of that good news that should propel us forward in our mission. When our hearts are gripped by and saturated with the gospel of Jesus Christ, we cannot help but speak of what we have seen and heard (Acts 4:20).
Overflow: How the Joy of the Trinity Inspires our Mission is a book that seeks to ground our ministry in the beautiful truths of the gospel. Michael Reeves writes, “my goal in this book is for the Christian to enjoy the extraordinary and beautiful truth that mission-which is about going out, whether nearby or to a foreign land-is not something alien to who God is (Reeves, 18).” He adds, “Mission is rooted in the Trinity, in the very being and nature and heart of God (18).”
Reeves demonstrates that the Christian’s going is an overflow of God’s love. God takes the initiative in love. He is not reactionary with His love. He is outgoing. He is generous. He has come to us. He has drawn us. He has redeemed us. He loved us when we didn’t love Him or want anything to do with Him. He pursued us—what a glorious reminder.
He writes, “if you think that Christian life or mission is fundamentally some duty you’ve got to begrudgingly undertake, my dear friend, you’ve not got it. You’ve not understood who this God is (32).” We go because He came to us. We love because He’s loved us. We serve because we’ve been served. We show grace because we’ve been showing grace. We’re merciful because we’ve received mercy. Friend, our mission is rooted in and motivated by the gospel. That’s our inspiration. The gospel is our missional fuel. If the gospel isn’t our fuel, we’ll fizzle out.
As Reeves writes, “if you’re to go on mission, you’re not trying to get anything from God. Rather, you’re going on mission because you’ve already been given all there is to get. The children of God live from a fullness of life, a fullness of blessing. We can’t help but overflow with it. Other people need it too.” He adds, “So mission does not start with something we do, but with something done for us (48).” Not to belabor the point, but “mission is the overflow of love from the enjoyment of divine fellowship (56).”
Who is this book for? It’s for anyone, really; Christian and non-Christian, pastor, or layperson. But I will say this, if your heart has grown cold in its zeal for evangelism/mission, read this book. If you’re a pastor or leader in the church and would like your people to evangelize more, live on mission more, give them this book. It’s short (~100 pages), easy to read, encouraging, and simple. Reeves gives us what we need: the gospel. The gospel is the right fuel for compelling, long-lasting passion. Read this book. Be encouraged.
You can find the book here.
Soli Deo Gloria,
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*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.