“Evangelism is relational!”
This was the resounding phrase of the Go and Tell Evangelism Seminar earlier this year at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Founded in 2013 by Pastor Jim Halstead of Community CRC (Fort Wayne, Ind.), Go and Tell was endorsed by Synod 2018 as a recommended resource for church outreach and evangelism.
“We’ve grown in the past for two reasons: procreation and immigration,” Halstead says. “But God’s called us to evangelization, and it’s the church sharing the gospel with the people God has placed in their lives. God wants to use us, and God will prepare people to bring to us.”
The three-hour seminar opened with Halstead’s evangelistic conversion: at 17 years old, a Fellowship of Christian Athletes coach shared the gospel with him, and he became a Christian.
Halstead immediately began sharing Jesus with friends, family, and strangers, and many responded to him.
Structured around the themes of sin, salvation, and service, Go and Tell includes teachings on the Heidelberg Catechism as foundational principles for Reformed evangelism.
Building on this, attendees learned various evangelistic approaches and practiced with one another in groups.
Halstead emphasized prayer as the prerequisite to evangelism, encouraging participants to pray daily for five people within their social circles who did not know Christ.
“Those who pray for the salvation, by name, of others are those who will share the gospel.”
Grounded in Reformed theology, Go and Tell reiterated the importance of trusting the Holy Spirit to bring people to Christ, reminding attendees that the responsibility of salvation belongs to God.
“Who opens hearts? The Holy Spirit,” Halstead said. “If I share the gospel and they don’t accept it, that’s not on me. I can’t convict them, and God doesn’t expect me to do that. God expects me to love my neighbor and to tell them about Jesus. God only asks us to be faithful to share about him.”
The Go and Tell Evangelism Seminar can be found free online at declarethegospel.com.