One of the topics that many attracts book writers is the evangelism. Every year, new books are written and new techniques are put forward to make it “easy for Christians to share an appealing message to non-Christians.” In the midst of that, Derek Prime has written a small book that brings a breath of fresh air to the stacks of books on evangelism. It’s called, ACTive Evangelism.
Prime has done the Church a wonderful service by writing this little book. Prime uses the Bible (particularly the book of Acts) as the foundation for his approach to evangelism. Thus, you do not get cool new methods, but simple, proven, biblical principles for sharing Christ. Prime is a master at taking the practice of the apostles and translating that into practical advice for Christians today.
ACTive Evangelism is divided into 10 chapters. Chapters 1-9 are expositions of key narrative accounts of the apostles’ evangelism from the book of Acts. In each case, Prime uses the theological truth of the Bible’s teaching as the foundation for the very practical advice he gives in each chapter. In these chapters, he covers:
The Message in Outline (Acts 2:1-41) – The core elements of the gospel are shown from the text. Here is a basic gospel outline to shape our presentation of Christ.
Seeing the Opportunity (Acts 3:1-26) – Prime emphasizes the need to be aware of situations where we can share the gospel.
Power and Equipment for Evangelism (Acts 6:1-15; 7:51-60) – This book should be called “The Acts of the Holy Spirit.” He is the one who overcomes a sinful heart and convicts of sin, imparting life and faith to the lost.
The Director of Evangelism (Acts 8:1-4, 26-40) – God’s providence is at work in our evangelism. While his plan may be different than ours, God’s timing is perfect so we should be faithful to evangelize and leave the results up to him.
Only One Way! (Acts 10:1-48) – Christ is the only way of salvation and he must be presented that way.
Reaching Out to Families (Acts 16:11-34) – Whole families can be reached through one member. We should target fathers and children especially.
Starting Where People Are (Acts 17:10-34) – Paul understood that he could start with the Scriptures when witnessing to Jews, but he had to start more basically with the pagan Gentiles. We must know where people are in their understanding of spiritual matters and begin evangelism there.
Telling Your Story (Acts 25:23-26:1-32) – We who have experienced the grace of Christ are the best witness to what God offers in the gospel.
No Throwing in the Towel! (Acts 28:11-31) – There is never an excuse to stop sharing the gospel. We must draw on God’s strength and remain focused in our joyful task.
In the book’s final chapter, Prime answers seven key questions about evangelism. These provide a “pulling together” of the themes and issues that arise in the previous chapters and serve as a good conclusion to the book as a whole.
Any honest review will always present the faults of the work being reviewed. So what is lacking in ACTive Evangelism? Not much! Derek Prime is fine expositor (you can find some of his sermons online) and it shows, even in print. The only thing one may find off-putting is Prime’s “English-ness.” Coming from the UK there is the occasional unfamiliar work or term that appears from time to time in his writing. Personally, this was not a problem for me and I would suggest that any reader should not let it deter them from reading the book.
In the end, this book’s only real fault is that it was not published sooner! This book is suitable for individual or group study (My own church has used it for their discipleship program). Many thanks to Derek Prime!