Acts of the Apostles
Part 2: Strategies for Evangelization
Chapter 6 • 'Win, Build, Send' Evangelization & the Spiritual Multiplication Depth Chart (Acts 14:1-28)
Have you ever heard the phrase, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”? How does this apply to evangelization? How does it not?
Evangelization doesn’t usually happen by accident. In reading through the Acts of the Apostles, it is so easy to get caught up in the signs, wonders, and supernatural happenings that we can fail to recognize that there is human strategy involved as well. Here in Acts 14, during the second half of St. Paul’s first missionary journey, we get an up close look at St. Paul’s methods for winning over converts, building them up in the faith, and then sending them out as disciples to reach others.
1 In Iconium they entered the Jewish synagogue together and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks came to believe, 2 although the disbelieving Jews stirred up and poisoned the minds of the Gentiles against the brothers. 3 So they stayed for a considerable period, speaking out boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the word about his grace by granting signs and wonders to occur through their hands. 4 The people of the city were divided: some were with the Jews; others, with the apostles. 5 When there was an attempt by both the Gentiles and the Jews, together with their leaders, to attack and stone them, 6 they realized it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding countryside, 7 where they continued to proclaim the good news.
8 At Lystra there was a crippled man, lame from birth, who had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul speaking, who looked intently at him, saw that he had the faith to be healed, 10 and called out in a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet.” He jumped up and began to walk about. 11 When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they cried out in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in human form.” 12 They called Barnabas “Zeus” and Paul “Hermes,” because he was the chief speaker. 13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, for he together with the people intended to offer sacrifice.
14 The apostles Barnabas and Paul tore their garments when they heard this and rushed out into the crowd, shouting, 15 “Men, why are you doing this? We are of the same nature as you, human beings. We proclaim to you good news that you should turn from these idols to the living God, ‘who made heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them.’ 16 In past generations he allowed all Gentiles to go their own ways; 17 yet, in bestowing his goodness, he did not leave himself without witness, for he gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filled you with nourishment and gladness for your hearts.” 18 Even with these words, they scarcely restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them.
19 However, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium arrived and won over the crowds. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 But when the disciples gathered around him, he got up and entered the city. On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.
21 After they had proclaimed the good news to that city and made a considerable number of disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch. 22 They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” 23 They appointed presbyters for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith. 24 Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia. 25 After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia. 26 From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now accomplished. 27 And when they arrived, they called the church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 Then they spent no little time with the disciples.
- Do you feel that evangelization or discipleship is more important?
- How do we find a balance between the two?
- If you were building up a new convert, what topics would you consider giving them as they start their journey?
- Which do you personally prefer—evangelization or discipleship?
- What steps can you take to work on the area where you are weaker?
*Adapted from FOCUS