Chapter 11

CHAPTER ELEVEN

THE METHODS: SATURATION EVANGELISM

OBJECTIVES:

Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:

  • Write the Key Verse from memory.
    • Define “saturation evangelism.”
    • Summarize the Biblical basis of saturation evangelism.
    • Discuss the basic principles of saturation evangelism.
    • Discuss the pattern of saturation evangelism.
    • Explain how a local pastor can prepare his congregation for saturation evangelism.

KEY VERSE:

Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum I have fully preached the Gospel of Christ. (Romans 15:19)

INTRODUCTION

To “saturate” means to “fill completely with something that permeates.” Saturation evangelism is an approach to spreading the Gospel that functions much like leaven in bread dough. Its purpose is to spread the Gospel until an entire area is permeated and affected. Starting first in a local community (your Jerusalem), saturation evangelism spreads to permeate your state or province and eventually your nation.

THE BIBLICAL BASIS OF SATURATION EVANGELISM

The phrase “saturation evangelism” is not found in the Bible, but neither are evangelism, personal evangelism, or mass evangelism. The New Testament emphasis is on the work of evangelism although these specific terms are not used.

However, saturation evangelism is well illustrated in the New Testament. The city council reported that the apostles had filled Jerusalem with their doctrine (Acts 5:28). The churches in all Judaea, Galilee, and Samaria were edified. All that lived in Lydda and Saron turned to the Lord and all Joppa was informed of the Gospel (Acts 9:31,35,42). Thousands of Jews turned to the Lord (Acts 21:20). In Antioch of Pisidia and in Ephesus, it was recorded that “the Word of the Lord was published throughout all the region” (Acts 13:49).

All that lived in Asia heard God’s Word, (Acts 19:10), and perhaps the greatest report on saturation evangelism came from the pen of the Apostle Paul:

Through mighty signs and wonders by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem and round about unto Illyricum I have fully preached the Gospel of Christ.

Yea, so have I strived to preach the Gospel not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation. . .

But as it is written, To whom He was not spoken of they shall see; and they that have not heard shall understand. (Romans 15:19-21)

BASIC PRINCIPLES OF SATURATION EVANGELISM

Saturation evangelism is based upon the following principles:

ABUNDANT REAPING REQUIRES ABUNDANT SOWING:

The Apostle Paul told the Corinthian church:

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. (2 Corinthians 9:6)

Applied to evangelism, this law of harvest means that only the church that works at evangelism can expect to harvest lost souls. No matter how good the seed, how fertile the ground, or how skillful the farmer is, he cannot reap without first sowing. Pastors and churches who do not sow in evangelism do not reap the results of evangelism.  Saturation evangelism requires that you invest time, people, effort, prayer, tears, and funds in evangelism.

A DEDICATED MINORITY CAN IMPACT A NATION:

The Biblical record reveals that God prefers not to work by many, but rather by few. You will remember that God sent home the extra warriors of Gideon’s army and used a small band of 300 men. It only took a few Spirit-filled disciples to “turn the world upside down” (Acts 17:6), and that is all it takes today.

Even if every believer were mobilized for evangelism, in some cities and nations, they would  still be a minority in comparison to the total population. But this does not hinder saturation evangelism. When God does great things through a few people, all the glory goes to Him instead of man.

EVERY BELIEVER MUST BE MOBILIZED:

Saturation evangelism requires that every believer is motivated and mobilized for the task of evangelism. This mobilization involves a vertical relationship from God to you, motivating you with compassion for a lost and dying world. It also requires a horizontal relationship from one person to another. When God moves you by His Spirit, your zeal becomes contagious and spreads to others.

Traditionally, evangelism has centered around the pastor. In saturation evangelism, the emphasis changes from the pulpit to the pew. Yet it is not a movement which sets aside the pastor, for his role as leader is more important than ever. He is the one to mobilize the local congregation.

Mobilization of the church for evangelism must be based on the Scriptural concept of spiritual gifts, with each member functioning in an area for which he is gifted. (The Harvestime International Institute course “Mobilization Methodologies” explains “gift based mobilization” in detail.)

MOBILIZATION IS WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE CHURCH:

In saturation evangelism when we speak of the church, we mean the local congregation, the church as a denomination or group of churches, and the Church as the entire universal community of true believers.

Saturation evangelism should involve the local church, but it should also spread to denominational levels. If every local church and every denomination would give itself to such in-depth evangelism, this would result in the mobilization of the universal community of true believers.  Basic to this framework of mobilization is the conviction that the Church is the channel which God has chosen to reveal the mystery of the Gospel to the world (Ephesians 3:9- 10).

THE FOCUS IS “GO” RATHER THAN “COME”:

In modern times many churches have adopted a “come” approach to evangelism. They open their church doors at service time and wait for the unsaved to come. But the New Testament teaches a “go” methodology. The church is to go out into the world with the Gospel. Saturation evangelism requires that people get out of the pew and into the world. The major evangelistic thrust is done by the church, but not in the church.

UNITY IN SPIRIT IS REQUIRED:

Saturation evangelism requires a united witness with other believers and other denominations. Such a witness does not require compromise of personal convictions or denominational

emphasis. It is the unity of spirit enabled by God’s Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13). Our spirits are united for the task of evangelism.

God’s people are called the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). If this is true, then we should act as a body and not as unrelated and uncoordinated members. (You will learn more about this as you study “Networking For Evangelism” in Chapter Fifteen.) Saturation evangelism attempts to  enlist as many churches, missions, denominations, and organizations as possible to cooperate in evangelism.

IT IS GLOBAL IN NATURE:

The Great Commission was given to all followers of Christ and the command was to every creature. Saturation evangelism means using every legitimate means available, to reach every person, presenting the whole Gospel to all men.

In many cases, our evangelism goals are set too low. We have thought only in terms of one small geographic area. Working with limited funds and limited vision, we sometimes believe we have fulfilled our responsibility when we have worked in a small portion of a city or country.

When Christ commanded us to go and disciple the nations He meant for us to reach whole nations. Saturation evangelism is global in nature, for as whole nations are reached the world will be reached.

THE PATTERN OF SATURATION EVANGELISM

Saturation evangelism takes various forms as it is applied throughout the world. The cultures of the world differ and it is natural that evangelism in different cultures will assume different patterns. We must recognize a method that is effective in one culture may not be effective in another.

The basic pattern of saturation evangelism, however, is to design an outreach to penetrate every people group of every region of every nation and, ultimately, every nation of the world. Here is the basic pattern of saturation evangelism:

THE ORGANIZATION:

For total saturation of a nation, there must be a coordinated local, regional (state or province), and national evangelistic effort. To accomplish this, it is suggested that an evangelism committee be formed in each church. This committee would concern itself with evangelism of its specific geographic area and individual people groups within that area.

A city-wide committee should be formed by local churches to coordinate evangelism within the city. This would provide coordination rather than competition between churches at the local

level. A regional committee would concern itself with the entire state or province, and a national committee with the national effort.

The composition of each committee will vary depending on local, regional, and national circumstances and goals. But each committee might have at least the following members:

-Chairman: Who directs and coordinates the committee.

-Assistant-Chairman: Who assists the chairman and substitutes for him in his absence.

-Secretary: To handle clerical duties, such as letters, notes on meetings, records, etc.

-Finance Chairman: Who handles funds, budgeting, and financial reporting.

-Prayer Chairman: Who directs coordinated prayer efforts for evangelism.

-Training Chairman: Who organizes training for evangelism.

-Supply Chairman: Who is responsible for literature necessary for the evangelistic thrust, such as tracts and Bibles, as well as supplies such as maps, visitation cards, evangelistic books, films, tapes, etc.

-Publicity Chairman: Who handles advertisement of special events on radio, television, newspapers, sound-cars, posters and flyers, as well as special mailings.

THE SCHEDULE:

There must be an organized schedule for saturation evangelism activities. Here is a suggested annual schedule:

January:                         Organize local, regional (state or province), and national committees. February:                                    Train leadership.

March:                           Train every Christian.

April:} Saturation of local
May:}}areas by various means of
June:     } July: August: evangelism. Local evangelistic campaigns. Local follow up.

September:                    Regional evangelistic campaigns. October:                                    Regional follow up.

November:                    National evangelistic campaign. December:                                    Follow up and planning for next year.

(In Chapter Twelve you will learn how to organize and conduct an evangelistic crusade. In Chapter Thirteen you will learn how to follow up new converts and train them in discipleship.)

THE METHODS:

Every conceivable type of evangelism is used at local, regional, and national levels, including the following:

-Prayer meetings focused on evangelism.

-Radio and television evangelism.

-Evangelistic audio and video cassettes.

-Evangelistic films.

-Evangelistic Bible study classes in the home, church, or a community meeting place.

-Evangelistic correspondence courses.

-Bussing people to church and evangelistic events.

-House-to-house evangelism.

-Evangelism of military personnel.

-Evangelism targeted to reach business and professional people.

-Literacy programs with an evangelistic emphasis.

-Medical programs with an evangelistic emphasis.

-Telephone evangelism.

-Sound cars sharing the Gospel and inviting people to evangelistic meetings.

-Personal letters sharing the Gospel.

-Institutional evangelism in jails, hospitals, old folks homes.

-Evangelism through Christian education: Sunday school, vacation Bible school, and Bible schools.

-Evangelism in parks, plazas, and other central gathering places.

-Evangelism at special events in a community, for examples a local fair, circus, or political rally.

-Evangelistic concerts and drama presentations.

-Literature evangelism: Distributing tracks, books, and other printed materials.

-Evangelism to special need groups: Alcoholics, drug addicted, hungry, homeless, child care, mentally or physically handicapped.

-Specialized evangelistic outreaches to children, youth, men, and women.

-Evangelizing international students at a local college or university.

-Campus evangelism of public schools.

-Mass crusades at local, regional, and national levels.

Some of the evangelistic methods in the previous list will not be possible in certain nations because of government regulations. But the point is that in saturation evangelism a serious effort is made to saturate the country with the Gospel in every legitimate way possible.

There is no limit to the variety of methods that can be included in saturation evangelism. Remember that the goal is to reach everyone with the Gospel.

PREPARING THE LOCAL CHURCH

Because regional and national efforts stem from what is done locally, and because saturation evangelism occurs within the framework of the local church, it is important that the local pastor know how to prepare his congregation for saturation evangelism. Here are some methods to help the pastor accomplish this objective:

-Set the example yourself: When your congregation sees you excited about evangelism and winning souls, they will be affected by your zeal.

-Direct the Sunday morning message to the unsaved. If unsaved people visit a church, it is usually on Sunday morning.

-Periodically, preach a series of messages on evangelism.

-Make media on evangelism available to your congregation: These might include video and audio cassette tapes, films, and a book table focusing on evangelism.

-Make soul-winning a prerequisite for church leadership. A qualification for every leader should be that he is winning souls. If your present leadership is not winning people to Christ, start by training them.

-Focus the Sunday school on soul winning: Teachers should be trained in how to present the Gospel and invite students to respond to it. Unsaved parents of children in the Sunday school should be reached.

-Make evangelism the primary emphasis of prayer meetings: Many prayer meetings today are becoming just another service with singing, good preaching, but little real praying. Lead your people back to real, Spirit-led, New Testament praying with a focus on the lost and raising up laborers for the harvest.

-Conduct on-going evangelism training: You can use this course, “Leaven-Like Evangelism,”  for that purpose.  Keep repeating the class as new members transfer into your congregation or as new converts come to the Lord.

-Make a plan for your area: Take a map of your village or city. Divide it into sections and place a leader over each section. Then. . .

-Dedicate at least one evening a week to personal evangelism. We only do the things we make time to do, and this is true of evangelism. You will never begin to win souls until you set aside definite time for it.

-Set a definite day and time, meet with workers for prayer, and then send them out two by two. Provide them with assignment cards to visit families, businesses, stores, plazas, parks, gasoline stations, taverns, pool halls–everywhere–that is what saturation evangelism is all about.

-Institute a follow-up program: Train your people to be personally responsible for following up converts. Start a class for new converts to teach them the basic doctrines of the Christian faith and integrate them into the church.