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Lesson 12: Evaluating Witnessing and Evangelism *

Introduction: At work you have annual leave (vacation) and annual review (evaluation). Which do you prefer? Which is most important? Our world is filled with evaluations that start in the first five minutes after we are born (Apgar score)! How does this work with witnessing and evangelism? Should the approach and standards of the world apply to evaluating the work of the church? The work of God? What about your personal witnessing and evangelism, should that be evaluated? Let's jump right into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

  1. The Nature of Evaluation

    1. Read 1 Timothy 3:1. Would you like to be promoted at work? Does the same kind of thinking apply to the church? (Paul writes positively about desiring promotion in the church.)

    2. Read 1 Timothy 3:2-3. Is this an evaluation? (Yes.)

      1. What kind of an evaluation is it? (Essentially, an evaluation of the person.)

    3. Read 1 Timothy 3:4-5. In some ways I find this an odd requirement. Are the two really the same? Is managing your family and your own money like managing a church and its money?

      1. Read 1 Samuel 8:1-5. Would Samuel have passed the test for overseer?

      2. If not, how do we explain that God chose Samuel to be one of the greatest overseers of Israel? (Perhaps the emphasis is on the word "children." When they are young their behavior is a test of leadership.)

    4. Read 1 Timothy 3:6-7. Are these qualifications or evaluations? (They seem more like qualifications.)

    5. As you consider the verses we have just read, does anything strike you as being unusual for job evaluations? If you are evaluated at work, does your boss evaluate you on this type of criteria? (No! I am evaluated on how well I did my job. I am not asked about how well I did with my family.)

    6. Read 1 Corinthians 3:10-11. How does Paul evaluate himself? (He calls himself an "expert builder.")

    7. Read 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. What kind of evaluation is done here? (Circumstances will test the quality of the work done by the teacher.)

    8. Why is there no mention for either the teacher or the overseer about a church committee to evaluate past performance?

      1. Did you notice the two evaluation points in our texts so far:

        1. Spiritual qualifications for the job; and,

        2. Stress?

      2. Why is there no on-the-job evaluation?

  2. Holy Spirit Test

    1. Read Acts 15:4-5. Peter and Barnabas give a report of their activities to the leaders in Jerusalem. Does everyone at headquarters give them a good evaluation? (No. Some think they are not giving the correct message.)

    2. Read Acts 15:6-8. How does Peter answer the performance criticism? (He says that proof of the propriety of their preaching is the approval of the Holy Spirit.)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 12:3-6. No matter how we serve the church, no matter the nature of our job, what insures our success? (The Holy Spirit!)

    4. What does this teach us about performance evaluation in witnessing and evangelism? Does this explain the absence of evaluation during the job? (This is not like the kind of evaluation we go through (or give) at work. The church selects Godly people, people who show that the Holy Spirit is at work in their lives and in the life of their family. The church then lets them go into ministry.)

      1. What, then, is the basis for evaluation of witnessing and evangelism? (Logically, the only question we are competent to ask is whether we see the power of the Holy Spirit in the work of the person? If we see that power, who are we to second guess how the Holy Spirit leads?)

    5. Read 1 John 4:1-3. Would you use this as the test for whether the Holy Spirit was at work in a person?

    6. Are you comfortable with the conclusion that the evaluation approved by the Bible is merely whether a person is Spirit-filled?

      1. Should we also be concerned about whether the Holy Spirit is manifested in the person's work?

      2. Read Romans 12:6-8. What does this suggest about the Holy Spirit, our gospel work, and evaluation? (We should not look only at whether the person is Spirit-filled, but whether the person is working in the area in which they have gifts from the Holy Spirit. Just because a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, does not mean they are fitted for every kind of work. That is why we could have a Spirit-filled person, who did not manifest the power of the Holy Spirit in a particular type of work.)

  3. Historical Example

    1. Read Genesis 6:9. Is Noah a Spirit-filled guy? (Yes!)

    1. Read 2 Peter 2:5. What is Noah? ("A preacher of righteousness." New Unger's Bible Dictionary says, "Jehovah ... allowed a respite of 120 years, during which time Noah sought to bring the people to repentance.")

    2. Read Genesis 6:3. Who was Noah's partner in preaching? (The Holy Spirit! "My Spirit will not contend with man forever." The suggestion is that the Holy Spirit contended for 120 years through the work of preacher Noah.)

    3. Read Genesis 6:13-14 and Genesis 7:11-13. How would you evaluate Noah's witnessing and evangelism? How many people entered the ark? (Eight.)

      1. What does this suggest to us about evaluating the witnessing and evangelism of others? (Noah had a divine appointment. He was Spirit-filled. Any evaluation must center on whether God is in the work.)

    4. Read Exodus 31:1-3. Is Bezalel a Holy Spirit filled fellow? (Yes!)

    5. Read Exodus 31:3-5. What is Bezalel's Spirit-filled work? (He is a master craftsman.)

      1. What does this suggest about the work of the Holy Spirit in witnessing and evangelism? (It is not just preaching. The Holy Spirit gives us excellence in whatever gift we are given. Excellence gives us the opportunity to share our faith with great credibility.)

      2. What does this suggest about evaluation? (Noah taught us that it is not about numbers, but Bezalel teaches us that the Holy Spirit gives "skill, ability and knowledge." If our work is not excellent, then the Holy Spirit is not at work. The entire key to evaluation is to determine whether the Holy Spirit is in the work.)

    6. Friend, do you see that a proper evaluation of your gospel work is an evaluation of whether the Holy Spirit is in your life? The focus is on you, rather than on your "numbers." But, the Holy Spirit is the author of excellence. If we are not excellent in what we do, it might mean we are not working in the area of our Spirit-gifts. It might mean we are lacking the Holy Spirit. Will you ask, today, that the Holy Spirit fill you, and show you the gifts that He has given you?

  1. Next week: A Perpetual Ministry.
* Copr. 2012, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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