Evangelism Workshops Review

Starting in September and continuing through October, the Young Calvinist Committee held four workshops to help the young people and young adults be more proactive in evangelism. These workshops set a foundation for these young people and young adults in their life of evangelism. They helped comfort them and gave them a reason not to fear evangelizing; it also guided them in how to evangelize. I hope that each of the workshops will serve to bring a desire to witness in the hearts and minds of these young people and young adults. 

The first of the four workshops began the series by asking, “Why?” Why should we evangelize? We possess a great truth, the truth of a Savior who came down to this world to save us, such wretched sinners. We have the truth of salvation! Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” and Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Just that simple truth should cause joy to pour out of our hearts and also cause a great desire to show this truth to others. Salvation alone is sufficient enough motivation for us to spread the truth.

However, salvation is not the only reason. God commands us in Acts 13:47, “I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.” Not only should we want to, but we are commanded to just as all the apostles were. It is a God-given calling to go into the world and evangelize.

The second workshop followed up with another question. We now see the reason to evangelize, but what do we use to carry out that calling? We must use the truth of salvation and the good news of the Gospel. What is the Gospel? The Gospel is the story of our salvation starting with the perfect and holy Creator of all things. The One who created man. Man who exists to give God the glory. And that same man who fell into sin and, because of that fall, is worthy of eternal damnation. But because of Christ we have hope! The hope that His life of perfect obedience is imputed to us, the hope that His death has paid the punishment we deserve, and the hope of His resurrection which conquered death for us so there is no longer any pain in death, no more sting. It is this great God who loves us and because of that love, sent His Son to die for us and for our sins. This is a great comfort. The world looks at death with great fear. Bringing this truth to the world can give comfort in everything but especially in death. Christ’s love for His people is deep, personal, and assuring. Go and share the love of Christ, the truth of the gospel, to those who have never felt it before! What a great joy it would be to be shown the gospel truth by someone who evangelizes to one of us.

The first workshop discussed why, the second discussed what, and the third taught us how. How ought we to evangelize to someone who may have never heard the gospel before? The proper way to tell someone of your faith in Jesus Christ is with meekness. What does that look like? Listening to those who you are evangelizing to can help you understand them. To understand their situation and what they have gone through is a big part of evangelizing with a meek heart. Be willing to say something that may be personal because if you say something vulnerable, they will be more willing to say something vulnerable or personal in response. You can use the personal thing that they said to bring the conversation closer and closer to their beliefs and your beliefs.

The third workshop also gave us helpful tips on what to say to get you to a conversation in which you can evangelize. We discussed how to go from a basic greeting to having a conversation with them about Christ and the good news of the gospel.  A way to do this is to ask them questions that will prompt them to tell a story rather than a short answer. Also after they talk, have some way to follow up bringing you to a conversation about your or their beliefs. The speech that night was done by Rev. Dennis Lee. He focused on the gospel call given by Jesus to Matthew’s colleagues and family, found in Mark 2:14-17. It is here that Jesus called Matthew to be a disciple. Jesus visited with Matthew, his family, and with Matthew’s publican co-workers. The Pharisees didn’t understand why Jesus would fellowship with sinners, but Jesus was there as a witness. He was instructing them and bringing them the gospel, and they followed Him.

In the last workshop, we discussed fear: the fear of man and the fear of God. When you think about going to someone and sharing your faith with them, it may frighten you a little, because of all the things that could go wrong. What if they disagree and our friendship is ruined? What if I say something wrong? What if I don’t know what to say or can’t give an answer? These are some legitimate fears one might have in evangelizing. All four of these workshops, however, helped us with those fears and made us more comfortable. But there is nothing that gives us more assurance in evangelizing than fearing the Lord. He will give you the words to speak. Colossians 4:3 says, “Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door  of utterance…” But also remember what you are saying to them. You are bringing the very Word of God, which is the good news of the gospel, and the story of your Savior. There is nothing more comforting than that. You’re speaking of Christ the Lord (2 Corinthians 4:5). Mr. Deane Wassink shared some of his experiences to show that evangelizing does sometimes work—God does work through you to bring His people under His wings. He also assured us that even if the evangelizing doesn’t work, you still gave God the glory. God will use you as a weak means, and God will use the means of evangelism. Don’t be afraid to evangelize. Don’t fear man, but fear God.

These workshops were very helpful in instructing us on how to evangelize. Those who were there sat at a table and together discussed certain topics and Bible verses. Some tables brought their discussions and ideas up to be presented and shared with all. They were well attended and enjoyable, but also very helpful and encouraging. They caused me to be excited and have a desire to evangelize to those who I come into contact with. 

The main thing to take away from these four workshops is to go and evangelize because evangelism is a good gift of God and also rewarding when you bring someone to the truth. And also there is no reason not to. These workshops were comforting because they made clear that the Lord is on your side. Not only did the workshops help with what to say, and how to say it, but they gave helpful examples for situations you may come across. And finally they showed us why. God calls us to go to all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, so with this knowledge we are prepared to fulfill this command of Christ to evangelize.

Spencer Dykstra

This document was compiled by the Young Calvinists and contains a summary of some of the content of the workshops, as well as additional resources helpful for use in personal evangelism.

Polished Stones

We all know what it is like to face difficulty. Each person has endured, is currently enduring, or will endure their own struggles. These challenges and struggles, however, are not unique. Though maybe under slightly different forms, the people of God across the ages have faced similar troubles. Why does our God send these various trials or struggles to His people? We are being shaped into living stones, fit for a place in the temple of God.

The Bible compares us to stones that make up the temple. Now, this statement might seem an odd response as we seek to understand why we are sent trials in this life; but think about all of the things that must be done to each stone of a temple. They must be cut from the quarry and shaped individually. They must be shaved and sculpted to fit perfectly in their place among the other stones. Finally, they will be lifted up into their place in the temple. That is not an easy process.

These stones are cut out from the quarry for a special purpose. There is no longer a possibility that they will be used to build a house or a well. These stones are now given the purpose of building a temple. They are given that unique reason for their shape, dimensions, and their very existence.

But the truth is that we have similarly been cut out from the quarry of this world for a special purpose. Every trial that we face is shaping us – even as the stones are shaped by the mason – into the people that God intends us to be. He is molding us into the perfect shape to fit in our place within the temple. These stones, now lively members of a body that is separate, are given a new and holy design.

Though we are called out of the world and made holy through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, we are still rough and unformed. From the time we are infants, we are living with the reality of sin. We struggle against sin every day until we draw our very last breath.Like the stones fresh from the quarry, we still bear the scratches and marks of sin. But by God’s grace we are not left in this shape. All through our lives He is sanctifying us and creating us to be holy, beautiful stones that are worthy to fit among those in his temple.

How often do we ask for God to remove sin from our lives? When we pray for forgiveness and the ability to avoid that sin, we must understand that God may fulfill our request in a way that might be difficult or painful. Like the rocks, we will be shaved and sculpted. The smoothing of the stains and mars of sin in our lives is a painful process and requires much work. Do we pray for spiritual growth with that awareness in mind?

There are many trials that we face in common. These trials have lessons to teach the church as a whole. Maybe facing a pandemic was intended to show us how much we need the church and the worship that we so often take for granted. Maybe being isolated at home reminded us of how we ought to value the fellowship of our Christian brothers and sisters. Maybe a controversy within the church is predetermined to lead us to treasure unity among the believers.

Alongside these trials which God uses to purify his church are the many personal struggles that we face. These might be teaching us to lean on God, to leave behind a reliance on ourselves, or to let go of a tendency towards pride, anxiety, or lying. Whatever the trials we face, we are individually being shaped more and more into a lively stone that is useful in the temple of God.

Throughout this entire life we seem to face trials and struggle against sins, so where is the end of this process? There are still imperfections and gouges that cannot be polished away in this life. Every Christian in this life would confess with the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 1:15 that “I am the chief of sinners” until their last breath. Until we are called to the perfection of Heaven, we will continue to be crafted bearing the flaws of sin and suffering. The end of this suffering will come at that moment when our soul is lifted up to join our Creator, the One who is shaping us all our life long.

So how do we find peace in all of the trials that we face? It is easy to merely say that it is making us a better person and a better Christian, but in the moment that might not make our struggles feel any less daunting than before. The comfort is that our loving God is the sovereign One who is sending these trials. He is the one cutting away the rough edges. We cannot understand why each piece has to be cut a certain way, yet we can trust that His ways are best. We cannot see all of the shaping that God is doing in the lives of his other living stones among whom we must fit perfectly, and this makes our individual shaping difficult to grasp as well. Psalm 139 says that the knowledge of God’s sovereignty over our entire lives is too wonderful for us to fully understand in this life. (139:6).  However, we can trust that even when the process hurts, it is always working for our good (Rom. 8:28). We may be touched by affliction, but it is light in comparison to the eternal weight of glory(2 Cor. 4:17). We will be a part of the beauty of His temple, shining into eternity. What a promise is ours!.

When God lifts up His stones to glory, He places them among the other perfected stones in His temple. These stones are given a place among the glorified elect where they will be praising God forever. What a beautiful product this temple will be. Each glistening, perfectly shaped stone will reflect the glory of God Himself. Each one will be a part of the one church that is made to praise God in eternity.

This is a beautiful future that we have in store, and it is only ours through the work of Jesus Christ. The beauty of this building is upheld by the work of Christ, our cornerstone. Through His work we are justified, sanctified, and glorified. It is a work that begins even in this life, and is perfected in heaven. If Christ were not the base of this radiant temple, then all of it would never be able to stand. Thanks be to God that we have Christ as our foundation now, and eternally in the life to come.   

Mikaia Looyenga

Evangelism Workshop #4

Our final workshop on personal evangelism will be held on Sunday, Oct. 31 at Trinity PRC at 8 pm! We’ve covered why evangelism matters and summarized the gospel. We’ve discused how to have conversations in meekness that lead to the gospel message, and now we will end by considering the encouragement that comes when we witness in the fear of the Lord.

Click here for a brief study guide for you to use to prepare for the upcoming workshop.

Seeing so many young people interested in this topic has been encouraging to many, and we look forward to seeing you all again!