Tyndale provided me with a copy of Felicity Dale’s updated book An Army of Ordinary People.
I agreed to review and they’ve given me liberty to review the book as I see fit.
As I read these simple stories as told by Dale, I often found my self thinking:
This is what personal evangelism looks like.
Ordinary people who share their life and faith in Christ with the people around them in natural ways.
These were amazing stories that demonstrate many of the basic principles of personal evangelism that I teach in my seminars:
- Watching for the work of the Holy Spirit
- Offering to pray with people when its appropriate
- Vibrant personal faith that is relevant for today.
- Find the spiritually thirsty people.
In reading these stories, effective personal evangelism seems possible. I’m sure there were some colossal failures and lessons learned, but this collection of stories demonstrates some of the successes.
Each story highlights ordinary people like you and me, and how they gathered a group of believers or even not-yet believers into small gatherings in houses, parks, coffee shops, etc.
The stories of personal transformation was more encouraging to me, rather than the principles of the simple church.
Almost every chapter contains a story followed by an offset that lifts out the principle related to the house church, or simple church, or organic church. It’s not a theological manual on the whys and hows, but rather simple story telling that demonstrates what a simple church might look like.
If you are familiar with other literature in the simple church movement, you’ll be familiar with these. However, in Dale’s book, you get access to the living rooms and kitchen tables of people who actually make a difference.
I enjoyed this book, even if I’m still not in full agreement with their definition of church.
I’m familiar with the literature and always enjoy their stories. I am blessed by the stories of personal evangelism, cooperation with the Holy Spirit, and dramatic life changes.
Last year, I reviewed the Dales book, The Rabbit and the Elephant (Review), which contains more stories and principles.
If you want to read more on the house church, you could also start with Wolfgang Simson’s The House Church Book (Review), particularly if you want to know how this movement sees church as distinct and different from small group ministries of a church.
Order through Amazon (affiliate): An Army of Ordinary People: Stories of Real-Life Men and Women Simply Being the Church
From the Editor:
An Army of Ordinary People contains the key to explosive, transformational, 21st century evangelism. Renowned church planter Felicity Dale shares stories of how God has always used—and is still using—ordinary believers to carry out his work in simple ways throughout the world. Some of these stories are dramatic—people being led to the Lord by the friends who counseled them through drug addictions and criminal pasts. Some are everyday—a dad spending his Sunday teaching Bible lessons to his kids, or a couple inviting their neighbors over to dinner and a spiritual discussion. But in each of them, there is a light bulb moment, when someone just like you thinks I can do that!”
Evangelism in the 21st Century
Evangelism in the 21st century will not be solely dependent on the inviting people to church.
The growing number of “spiritual but not religious” people means that more people will need to hear the gospel through conversations with Christians.
You’ll need to be able to comfortably talk about your faith in Christ without being obnoxious about it.
I have a DVD set that focuses on a conversational style evangelism that would be effective in:
- casual conversation between friends
- causal conversation between strangers
Read more about the Effective Evangelism Conversations in the store.
It is a recording of a live seminar I gave in 2012.
Thank you so much for this review of my book “An Army of Ordinary People.” You capture the heart of the message when you talk about evangelism and the power of the Holy Spirit working in the lives of not-yet- believers. When God’s people are released to reach out into their communities, to see Jesus touch and transform people’s lives, the kingdom of God will increase.