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 (Manna 86: Go and Make Disciples of All Nations)
Building A Strong Evangelism Team
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Adapted from sermons by Derren Liang—Irvine, California, USA

Editor’s note: This article is based on a series of lectures delivered by Preacher Liang at National Evangelical Workers’ Workshop in February 2017 at Baldwin Park, California, where he shared practical advice for building a committed evangelism team.

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Mt 9:35–38)

Our Lord Jesus instructed His disciples to preach the gospel. This Great Commission now rests on members of the True Jesus Church. We have to preach the salvation gospel to the world and, to do this effectively, we must have strong evangelism teams. What lessons does the Bible provide on how to select members for these teams, and what these teams should do?


Choose Impartially

The first thing to note when building a team is that we should not exclude anyone merely because of their cultural background. Paul, Silvanus and Timothy were all part of the evangelism team during the apostolic period (1 Thess 1:1) although they had very different upbringings. Silvanus grew up within traditional Jewish culture, while Paul, also a Jew, was educated under the tutelage of Gamaliel. Timothy was a Jew who grew up in the Gentile regions. Differences can be strengths. In particular, the varied skillsets, experiences and backgrounds of believers can and ought to be tapped to build a good evangelism team. A diverse team will bring different perspectives and considerations, enabling richer discussions and work approaches.

Choose Those with Right Mindset and Motivation

Second, in selecting evangelism team members, choose those who will serve with the right motivation.

After Jesus ascended to heaven, the disciples returned from Mount Olivet to Jerusalem and stayed in the upper room (Acts 1:12–15). There, 120 people, including the women who followed Jesus, His mother Mary and His brothers, gathered to pray for the Holy Spirit. These 120 represented the core of the church, and within this core group, there were three sub-groups of believers who can provide lessons on the correct motivations of service. 

1.    The apostles: the gift of service

The apostles were personally trained by the Lord Jesus and assigned specific responsibilities, one of which was the critical task of passing on the complete truth that Jesus had taught them (Mt 28:20). Today, when we work for the Lord, we are also assigned duties. It is important that we have a sense of responsibility, but we must guard against having this deteriorate into a mere sense of obligation. The Almighty God can accomplish things on His own. Yet, He shows us grace by providing us this privilege to participate in His work. Hence, we must never view these duties as burdens to be grudgingly borne. Viewing our service to the Lord as a great sacrifice reveals the immaturity of our faith; we do not realize how very blessed we are to be His servants. So, if we have been entrusted with the responsibility of serving in church, to be used by God, we should consider this a blessing and be joyful and thankful.

2.    The women: out of gratitude

The women who followed Jesus had received bountiful blessings from Him, so they served Him out of deep gratitude. Believers who are grateful for the Lord’s love will have a natural desire to reciprocate, needing little persuasion to serve. Of the ten lepers Jesus cleansed, only one returned to give glory to God because he was filled with gratitude. Mary, who had seven demons cast out of her, not only followed and served Jesus, but also offered financial resources to support the ministry, because Jesus had given her a new lease of life. Service motivated by gratitude is powerful. An evangelism team underpinned by such grateful service will truly be effective (2 Cor 5:13–14). In contrast, we should be cautious of compelling reluctant members to join the evangelism team. As we can see from our social or work interactions, when one is not driven by genuine motives, one may end up just contributing superficially or undermining the organization (Acts 8:18–21; cf. Ex 25:2).

3.    The family of Jesus: recognition of the Master

Jesus’ mother, Mary, had recognized earlier that Jesus was truly God (Lk 2:19, 51), and, by this time, the rest of His family had also come to know this truth. Today, if we recognize and remember that the One we serve is the Almighty God in heaven, we would carry out God’s work diligently.

So, in summary, what are the right attitudes to look out for when recruiting members of an evangelism team? We should seek those who accept their assigned sacred duties with joy and humility; who are grateful for the blessings of the Lord; and who are moved by their understanding of God.

Choose Those with the Right Attributes

Third, we must choose those who have the right attributes according to biblical principles.

When the apostles selected seven men to serve tables, they did not just select randomly. Nor did they seek those with administrative abilities. Instead, they sought out “men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom” (Acts 6:3). These three prerequisites are a good basis for selecting workers to form part of the evangelism team. 

1.    Good reputation

Paul reminded Timothy, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim 4:12). Good reputation is earned through good conduct. From the Bible, we can see how important it was for God’s servants to maintain a good reputation (see Acts 20:33–35).

2.    Filled with the Holy Spirit

Someone filled with the Holy Spirit is also filled with the love of God, because the Holy Spirit pours God’s nature—love—into his heart (Rom 5:5). When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, it is a joy to serve the Lord, and to bring God’s word and love to others. We are also filled with courage, not fear (2 Tim 1:7).

3.    Wisdom

Having wisdom from the Holy Spirit aligns our perspective with God’s. We need this wisdom to lead the church on the right path. Disagreements may arise in church because members from different backgrounds will have different perspectives on matters. But the matters of the church are actually the matters of God and, if we are filled with God’s wisdom and are aligned with His perspective, we will be able to find consensus when making decisions. For example, many Christian churches today use various secular means to attract the younger generation—contemporary, upbeat music performed by rock bands are employed to liven up worship services. Wisdom from above will help us discern that adopting such secular approaches is not correct, no matter how well-intentioned. Wisdom from above will help us remember that the True Jesus Church should continue to rely on only three things to draw man to God: the truth, the Holy Spirit and the love of God. 

Include God-fearing Pillars

Fourth, while we tap into the diverse gifts and experiences of different team members, we should include pillars of the church—stable and godly believers who will not easily fall or crack under pressure. The apostle Paul describes James, Cephas and John as pillars of the church (Gal 2:9).

A key identifier of these pillars is that their strength lay in the Lord. Paul exhorted Timothy to be strong in the grace of God (2 Tim 2:1). As humans, we are weak, and it is only through the grace of God that we can accomplish anything. Pillars remain humble throughout their service, regardless of how significant their past evangelistic achievements. In fact, the more truth-seekers we bring to church, the more humble we should become. This is because we soon realize that no matter how eloquent we are, we cannot make someone believe. If God is willing, He will move their hearts to accept Him. When we recognize and understand this, we will learn to humbly rely on and find strength and courage in Him.


Casting and Mending Nets

And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”…Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. (Mt 4:18–19, 21a)

In these verses, we see two persons casting nets and another two mending them. Which is more important—casting or mending? Casting a net with a big hole may initially sweep in many fish, but they will likely escape. Conversely, if we have a well-mended net but do not cast it out, we will not catch any fish either.

For an evangelism team to do its work well, it must first mend its broken nets. What are these nets made of? The first component is love, because without love we will not be able to attract others. The second is the power of God, because it is this power—experienced through the Holy Spirit and prayer—that causes newcomers to stay in our church. The third is unity, which we need to successfully carry out God’s. If an evangelism team is equipped with these—love, power and unity—it will become a very strong force and, through the grace of God, will catch many fish.

Remaining Committed

After Isaac moved to Beersheba, “he built an altar there and called on the name of the LORD, and he pitched his tent there; and there [his] servants dug a well” (Gen 26:25). These three actions alone tell us a lot about Isaac’s priorities. Firstly, Isaac built an altar, which was to establish his life of faith; secondly, he pitched a tent, which was to invest in his family life; and thirdly, he dug a well, which was to continue his livelihood.

Isaac’s priorities also highlight his commitment to his God. Today, commitment means we will dedicate a portion of our time to God. Committing ourselves to the work of evangelism requires a re-balancing of our lives, which, given the number of demands on our time on any given day, may seem like a difficult task. But if we truly have the heart, God will provide the means.


We mentioned earlier that evangelism is not just about casting nets to catch fish, but, importantly, also about mending nets to ensure the fish are brought to shore. While the evangelism team does its work with love, reliance on the Holy Spirit, and unity, the entire church must also do its part by considering what it is that really attracts people to the body of Christ.

If we use activities to attract newcomers, then the latter will lose interest when such activities end. If we rely on certain members to keep truth-seekers returning, what will happen if those members move away or even leave church?  The force attracting people to church should be God Himself—it is God who draws believers to Him (Jn 6:37, 44, 65).

Beyond bringing people in, we need to help them remain in church. If truth-seekers and newly-baptized members are unable to become part of the fabric of the church, they will easily stray. We need to focus on making the church, the body of Christ, more welcoming and accommodating. But how can we transform the church in this way?

Acts 2:42 records how the believers “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” As a result, their preaching prospered, and “the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). Let us look at how these four factors can create a welcoming environment for truth-seekers.

Steadfast in the Apostles’ Doctrine

When newcomers attend church, they should be entering an environment that feels different from the rest of society. Otherwise, what reason would they have to come? The difference should lie not only in that we pray in tongues, but also in our concepts, values and perspectives—all of which should be biblically-based. Every word in the Bible is good for us; God’s word is perfect and the source of all wisdom. As such, the pattern of God’s word must be held fast and protected (2 Tim 1:13–14). We do not retain newcomers just by talking incessantly and superficially about God’s love. Instead, we help them grow in knowledge so that they can discern heresies when the time comes.

The word of God must also be applied. The apostle Paul reminded the young evangelist Timothy: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16–17). If we study the Bible in depth and systematically, and follow its teachings, we will indeed be transformed. Conversely, if there are believers who have attended church for decades but are not transformed, it is because they still hold on to concepts, values and definitions of success that are no different from those of the world. These believers have not applied the word of God in their lives and built themselves up in the most holy faith (Jude 20–21).

Steadfast in Fellowship

To have fellowship is to join together, to focus on God and share our faith. A common misconception is to associate fellowship with conducting many activities. Unless these activities are centered on God, they fall short of the definition of true fellowship because they will not strengthen the faith of members. The kingdom of God is more than food and drink. A church could have numerous visits to other churches, and a range of hiking and cooking fellowships, but still not grow spiritually. In contrast, if our fellowship is God-centered, truth-seekers will experience the genuine and warm atmosphere of God’s love.

Fellowship is not just a social gathering: it should focus on God’s love, which does not discriminate based on nationality, gender or social status. If, today, a truth-seeker comes to church and feels excluded, we have failed in our duty. As a church, we should not give precedence to any particular culture or language; we speak tactfully (Col 4:6) and speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15), because people of all backgrounds are accepted and should feel at home. Believers are prone, especially in large churches, to form cliques that newcomers find hard to break into. We must thus always remind ourselves that the church is one big family, and we need to commune and spend time with all our brothers and sisters, as well as any visitors.

Breaking Bread

To break bread is to remember the Lord’s love during Holy Communion, as well as a reminder for us to constantly count the blessings of God. If we are thankful, we will not complain; if we complain, this means we have become ungrateful. If we are grateful to God for leading us out of Egypt and slavery into the land flowing with milk and honey, we will not ask, “Why are we always eating manna in this wilderness?” Instead, we will be grateful when we see manna every day. Therefore, breaking bread—constantly thanking and praising God—is an important component of our spiritual lives and service.


The more we pray in the Holy Spirit, the more united we will be. If two people kneel down and pray together for half an hour, agreement will come easily between them. Conversely, the most obvious sign of disunity between two people is the unwillingness to pray together. Evangelism team members should constantly pray together, and the church should also constantly support the team through earnest prayer. The example of how Moses prayed, with the physical support of Aaron and Hur, while Joshua battled is a familiar but perpetually apt reminder of how earnest and united prayer can defeat the fiercest of enemies (Ex 17:8–13).

During the first National Church Conference in the United States, in the 1980s, we had four days of meetings, some of which lasted until midnight. There were many gifted members—highly educated with sterling secular accomplishments—in attendance. But this also meant that they came with their own analyses and experience (and pride in these experiences, undoubtedly), affecting the unity of the sessions. So we started having fasting prayers and soon found that our meetings were significantly shortened—difficult issues were resolved in a matter of minutes. This shows that praying in the Holy Spirit not only makes us like-minded (Phil 2:1–3), but is also essential to understanding and carrying out the will of God (Phil 2:5–8).


The Lord has promised that the gospel will be spread to the ends of the earth and, by the grace of God, this task has been entrusted to us today. It is an immense blessing to be His chosen instruments. So let us prepare well by building effective evangelism teams in our respective churches, by adopting the right work approaches, and working in unity as one body to be fishers of men.

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Author: Derren Liang
Publisher: True Jesus Church
Date: 09/28/2018