I have only read (studied) about one third of this book so far,but even so, I can say that I will be studying it and putting the thoughts and ideas into practice. I will be recommending it to my friends and I will be using the practices recommended personally. I think that it will also be a great learning aid in my ministry. Thank you.
I have read a lot of books about spiritual topics including sharing your faith. Most of them had steps to follow, goals to set, and acronyms to remember. Those are great tools. They help me stay focused, and theologically sound. However, there was something missing. I have never felt comfortable walking up to some stranger and asking, "If you died today where would you spend eternity?" Or leaving a little booklet on the restaurant table with my tip. It's not that I don't love Jesus. I just feel like a used car salesman. Reading all those books left me feeling guilty. The Sacrament of Evangelism takes a different approach. The focus is on relationships: My relationship with God, my relationship with those around me, and God's relationship with them.
The book starts by explaining what sacrament means. God is already present and working around us. When we are taking communion, He is present. When we pray for those who are lost, He is present. He wants to have a relationship with us. So...as I nurture my relationship with Him, some things happen:
1.As my understanding of God's love for me grows, and my love for Him grows, that love overflows into my relationships with other people. 2. As my understanding of God's love for the lost grows, my love for the lost grows. 3. As I remember that God is already present and working in my life and the lives of those around me, I become more aware of His presence. I start to recognize the work He is doing. I recognize the brokenness in other people as an invitation to lovingly tell them about Jesus.
See, evangelism, like prayer and reading the Word, is not intended to be a "good deed," or something to check off my do-list, or part of a magic formula to have a more rewarding walk with Jesus. Evangelism is about nurturing my relationship with God and joining Him in the work He is already doing. His desire is to draw the lost to Himself, and we get the blessing and joy of being a part of it.
The Sacrament of Evangelism isn't heavy on theology. I'm a seminary student, but I think this book is readable for anyone who loves Jesus. There are a few tips on starting conversations and being discerning. There are some suggested Scriptures to use in conversation. There are some touching stories. In one inspiring story, a man shares Jesus with a college student and then mentors him, and the fruit that resulted over the years. It occurred to me that if a mature believer had come alongside me in the early days of my faith, "evangelism" might not have seen so scary.
So, if you are looking for another book on Evangelism that gives you a program to implement, this is not the book for you. If you are looking for something refreshing and different, then I highly recommend The Sacrament of Evangelism.
Review of “The Sacrament of Evangelism” by Jerry Root and Stan Guthrie
I grew up in the Catholic faith tradition. I am thus acquainted with the sacredness of “sacrament” in the context of this definition: “an outward sign, instituted by Christ to give grace.” The outward sign is visible in the ceremony or prayers said that accompany the 7 sacraments’ administrations -- Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction ( Last Rites), Holy Orders, and Matrimony. All of these sacraments symbolize the grace that flows inwardly, the person of God’s Spirit strengthening an individual for his life and for his roles in life.
I am also a born again Christian who knows the sacredness in affirming that Christ is my Lord and Savior.
I heard the title of this book long before it was published. I was immediately taken by the title as the perfect “marriage-merger” of two words, “sacrament- evangelism”. They resonated deeply within me.
Now, having read Jerry Root and Stan Guthrie’s book, that resonating is firmly set. If I were to encapsulate the message they bring, it is about Incarnation. God, the Son ( Jesus Christ ) became flesh entering our world. He bore our sins as Savior dying on the Cross, reconciling us to our Father and our eternal Home. We are filled with His Spirit. Some of us know this experience of being in relationship with Him, having accepted Him as Lord and Savior. For those not yet aware that they are, “pregnant” if you will, with the God we know, we long to bring them the good news of such a relationship so its birth can take place. The longing in them begs to be identified for them.
Jerry Root and Stan Guthrie lead their readers through a new path of recognition. “Evangelism” has a connotation among many as Christians Bible thumping and dragging others into the saving relationship with Christ through all kinds of techniques. Not so fast, these authors warn. We are to approach all whom we know or with whom we are in contact knowing their deep longing to be known and to know the living God who is already present within them. We recognize our own brokenness, even as believers. We go to God “unlike Him and receive his grace [sacrament] to be more like Him.” From these points ( over and over again ) we are prepared to go out led by His Spirit into our everyday world and workplaces, noticing, engaging, waiting for seed bearing moments, and for new growth to emerge in others. We partner with the God we know. It never has to be forced. We walk the walk and talk the talk as led. Amazing grace.
Jerry Root and Stan Guthrie share from their own lives and experiences in ways that encourage we readers. They do give Scriptures and tools, even warnings to be aware of as we engage yet-to-be-believers. They offer follow up directives meant to keep all of us, including new believers, encouraged and growing in our faith.
It is a very readable book and helped me to relax as I recognized that, although I do not have the large platform or the same style of a Billy Graham or others when evangelizing, my life path has many a traveler with whom I will engage in the ways I am led on the platform where we meet.