by Robert E. Coleman
A book review by Nik Lingle
Associate Pastor, Christ Covenant Church
Raleigh, North Carolina
No personality necessary—have you ever taken an evangelism course like that? In Bible college, I took a course called Personal Evangelism. The class required each student to memorize a plan for sharing the gospel. It was all laid out: the exact sequence of questions, the progression of Bible verses, the best illustrations to make your point, and yes, of course, the all-important call for decision at the end. That was it. No relationship necessary.
Personality not included—or needed.
If you have been through a class like this, then The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman would be a breath of fresh air—not to mention it’s only 108 pages short.
As Coleman unfolds the principles that characterized Jesus’ life and relationships (the “Master’s plan”), we are reminded that Jesus never had a mere decision in view. He didn’t want “converts”; he wanted followers. He wanted people who would drop their nets and follow him. And he wanted to teach them how to follow not by handing them a manual for Christian living, but by living before them as a model they could follow.
Coleman sees in the Great Commission a calling not merely to preach the gospel, but “to make disciples—to build people…who were so constrained by the commission of Christ that they not only followed his way, but led others to as well” (93).
The book is not about Coleman’s grand strategy for making converts, but rather “it is an effort to see controlling principles governing the movements of the master in the hope that our own labors might be conformed to a similar pattern” (14). Coleman sees in the pages of the Gospels a “well-thought-through strategy of movement day by day in terms of the long range goal” (14). And he attempts to distill that strategic movement into eight principles that rise to the surface as one considers the life of Jesus.