The Gospel Blimp (A Parable of Evangelism)

Thinking about evangelism during our brief emphasis on Sunday mornings caused me to head to the bookshelf to find a couple of resources to recommend. Tucked away amongst academic tomes and popular works was a tiny paperback entitled, The Gospel Blimp by Joseph Bayly. My guess is that you’ve never heard of it. Published in 1960, it first fell onto my radar while I was in seminary (about forty years later). Largely unknown today, yet the book is pure gold. 

The Gospel Blimp is a parable about modern thinking and methodology when it comes to reaching our neighbors for Christ. Though the book is dated, Bayly’s insights still ring true. He puts his finger on a perennial problem–believers looking for that “silver bullet” of evangelism. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t exist. That silver bullet idea may look different in 2023 but, at its core, it’s still the same as a “gospel blimp.” 

The book is full of wit, satire, and biting humor. It stings because we can so easily see a multitude of people and ministries reflected in the story and dialogue.  But the book doesn’t exist merely to take pot-shots. Bayly gives what may be a surprise ending–not because it’s especially unique, but so shockingly simple. The Gospel Blimp ends with a very simple, repeatable, and biblical approach to evangelism. Some of the characters miss it. Will you? 

I hope you’ll read the book, which is easily found on the second-hand market. But, just as easy–and maybe a little more charming–is watching the short film that was based on the book. Made it 1974, it’s also a bit dated. Nevertheless, viewing it may be the best 40 minutes of your week. It will certainly give you a refreshed perspective on evangelism methods and, I hope, refresh your zeal for an evangelistic lifestyle. 

This article was cross-posted at the Providence Bible Fellowship Blog

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