‘Knowing Christ – loving him, worshiping him, meditating on him, enjoying him, and becoming more like him – is the primary resource every evangelist must have’ – Megan Hill.
Joyfully Spreading the Word edited by Kathleen Nielsen and Gloria Furman focuses on the centrality of evangelism in the Christian life. Now, joy probably isn’t a word many followers of Jesus associate with evangelism. In fact, many view it more as an added extra (even if they would never say this). Joyfully Spreading the Word is therefore a a helpful, and needed, correction on this issue.
The primary audience of Joyfully Spreading the Word is female, and anyone will benefit from reading regardless of gender. One of the reasons for this is the contributors pay attention on ensuring their work will help those who want to become better at sharing their faith. Another important factor is that each contributor paints stories from their everyday life. While contexts vary, the stories plant evangelism in a reality which can easily be applied to oneself.
Examples to Follow
Joyfully Spreading the Word isn’t a book full of heroes. The women that contribute to the book are ordinary people who live their faith in ways that help others see Jesus. Their stories reflect their experience, from neighbours and friends, to college campuses and work colleagues, to children and grandkids. The richness of the examples don’t give give us something to follow but show how evangelism happens in the context of everyday life.
Not all the stories are victories. Some end with people coming to know Jesus but some don’t. This is so refreshing. Who hasn’t felt like an evangelistic failure because you’ve just finished a book full of victories but you’ve tried no one came to Jesus! We need books that help us see that evangelism is loving our neighbours and sharing Jesus with them whether they believe or not. Thankfully this is one of those books.
How Do You Joyfully Spread the Word? (Shar Walker)
Joyfully Spreading the Word does 2 balancing acts really well. Firstly, it approaches the subject holistically. What evangelism is, is the topic of many books. Equally, there are many books about how to evangelise. But Joyfully Spreading the Word deals with both the the ‘how’ and the ‘what’ well. It achieves this succinctly with section 1 looking at the ‘what’ of evangelism and section 2 dealing with the ‘how’.
The second balancing act Joyfully Spreading the Word does well relates to the contributors. One of the difficulties with books with various contributors is there is that jarring moment between chapters as the reader adjusts to the new writer. While each contributor has their own tone and style, the change in writer do not negatively impact the book as a whole. Much of the credit for this must go to the editors.
‘It is our theology that must impact our methodology. Not to overlook the importance of the how—but it’s absolutely vital that we begin with the what. Never has this been truer than today, for in a truth-denying world, even Christians are tempted to lose confidence in the powerful truth of the gospel’ – Becky Pippert.
‘The gospel turns traitors into ambassadors and guests into cohosts. Invite your friends and neighbors in—go out and run to meet them. When you step out of bed in the morning, when you walk through a parking lot at work, when you wander the aisles of a store, remember you are an ambassador—a “cohost” of sorts. Christian hospitality cannot be contained within the walls of your individual home; “this is our Father’s world—oh, let us ne’er forget!” And what does a cohost do? She introduces his guests to him. “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” (John 4:29). One by one, individuals are raised to new life in Christ when the Spirit causes them to be born again and they embrace the gospel. What a privilege we have to be sent as his ambassadors to our lost brothers and sisters!’ – Gloria Furman.
Disclaimer: I have received a free epub copy of this book in return for this review.