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20 Quotes and Chapter Summaries of the "Master Plan of Evangelism" by Robert E. Coleman

In his work The Master Plan of Evangelism, Robert Coleman derives eight guiding principles from Christ’s strategic approach to evangelism. In the following review, I provide my own brief summary to each chapter along with key quotes from each (twenty quotes in all).

1. Aim: Robert E. Coleman has presented a set of principles and sketched a scheme that, if studied carefully, will go far toward rescuing the concept of evangelism from the realm of the “special” and the “occasional,” and anchoring it where it belongs in the essential, ongoing life and witness of the congregation. 11

Preface: The Master and His Plan

2. This is a study in principles underlying his [Jesus's] ministry—principles that determined his methods. One might call it a study in his strategy of evangelism around which his life was oriented while he walked on the earth. 14

3. Contrary to our superficial thinking, there never was a distinction in his mind between home and foreign missions. To Jesus it was all world evangelism... His life was ordered by his objective. Everything he did and said was a part of the whole pattern. Not for one moment did Jesus lose sight of his goal... The following pages attempt to clarify eight guiding principles of the Master’s plan. 18, 19, 20

Chapter 1 – Selection: Jesus poured much of his life into a select few who would lead the multitudes when he was no longer present.

4. It all started by Jesus calling a few men to follow him. This revealed immediately the direction his evangelistic strategy would take. His concern was not with programs to reach the multitudes, but with men whom the multitudes would follow. 21

5. We must decide where we want our ministry to count—in the momentary applause of popular recognition or in the reproduction of our lives in a few chosen people who will carry on our work after we have gone. Really it is a question of which generation we are living for. 36

Chapter 2 – Association: Jesus discipled this select few through the close proximity of continual engagement rather than a periodic and formulaic system.

6. Jesus would have it no other way. He wanted to be with them [His disciples]. They were his spiritual children (Mark 10:24; John 13:33; 21:5), and the only way that a father can properly raise a family is to be with it . . . Building men and women is not that easy. It requires constant personal attention, much like a father gives to his children. This is something that no organization or class can ever do. Children are not raised by proxy. The example of Jesus would teach us that it can be done only by persons staying close to those whom they seek to lead. 43, 46

Chapter 3 – Consecration: Jesus called His disciples to follow Him in a life wholeheartedly consecrated to God, ultimately demonstrating the cost of such consecration with His own life at the cross.

7. The cross was but the crowning climax of Jesus’ commitment to do the will of God. It forever showed that obedience could not be compromised—it was always a commitment unto death. 56

8. There can be no dillydallying around with the commands of Christ. We are engaged in warfare, the issues of which are life and death, and every day that we are indifferent to our responsibilities is a day lost to the cause of Christ . . . There is no place in the Kingdom for a slacker, for such an attitude not only precludes any growth in grace and knowledge but also destroys any usefulness on the world battlefield of evangelism . . . Indeed, it would appear that the teachings of Christ regarding self-denial and dedication have been replaced by a sort of respectable “do as you please” philosophy of expediency. 58-59

Chapter 4 – Impartation: Jesus imparted His Holy Spirit to His disciples to produce in them His own burning compulsion for evangelism.

9. Love is like that. It is always giving itself away. When it is self-contained, it is not love. That is why he lost no opportunity to impress on his followers the deep compulsion of his own soul aflame with the love of God for a lost world. How else could they ever fulfill the commission of their Lord with joy and inward peace? They needed an experience of Christ so real that their lives would be filled with his presence. Evangelism had to become a burning compulsion within them, purifying their desires and guiding their thoughts. Nothing less than a personal baptism of the Holy Spirit would suffice. 62, 68

10. The very ability to give away our life in Christ is the proof of its possession. Here is the great paradox of life—we must die to ourselves to live in Christ, and in that renunciation of ourselves, we must give ourselves away in service and devotion to our Lord. 70

Chapter 5 – Demonstration: Jesus demonstrated His evangelistic technique to the disciples by allowing them to watch the best methods for approaching others, letting them see the fundamental need for all people and across all social classes, the emphasis He put on Scripture (sixty-six references to the Old Testament in different dialogues with the disciples and more than ninety allusions to it in speaking with others) how He won their confidence, opened the way of salvation, and called them to a decision.

11. They observed how he drew people to himself; how he won their confidence and inspired their faith; how he opened to them the way of salvation and called them to a decision. 75

12. Our weaknesses need not impair discipleship when shining through them is a transparent sincerity to follow Christ. 78

Chapter 6 – Delegation: Jesus delegated His own authority in commissioning His disciples to go out in pairs and represent Him to others.

13. They were not hand-shaking emissaries maintaining the status quo of complacency . . . They were going forth with a revolutionary gospel, and when it was obeyed, it effected a revolutionary change in people and their society. 84-85

14. Evangelism is not an optional accessory to our life. It is the heartbeat of all that we are called to be and do. It is the commission of the church that gives meaning to all else that is undertaken in the name of Christ . . . But it is not enough to make this an ideal. It must be given tangible expression by those who are following the Savior. The best way to be sure that this is done is to give practical work assignments and expect them to be carried out. When the church takes this lesson to heart, and gets down to business with evangelism, then those in the pews will soon start moving out for God. 89-90

Chapter 7 – Supervision: Jesus asked questions, gave illustrations, warned, gave reminders of their ultimate identity, and admonished His disciples so that they would be thoroughly equipped to fulfill His mission of world evangelization.

15. His questions, illustrations, warnings, and admonitions were calculated to bring out those things that they needed to know in order to fulfill his work, which was the evangelization of the world. 91

16. Here was on-the-job training at its best. Jesus would let his followers have some experience or make some observation of their own, and then he would use this as a starting point to teach a lesson of discipleship. The fact that they tried to do his work, even though they may have failed at it, gave them greater awareness of their deficiencies, and hence they were more disposed to the Master’s correction. Moreover, their encounter with life situations enabled Jesus to pinpoint his teaching on specific needs and to spell it out in the concrete terms of practical experience . . . We always appreciate an education more after we have had the opportunity to apply what we have learned. 96-97

17. He did not expect more from his disciples than they could do, but he did expect their best, and this he expected always to be improved as they grew in knowledge and grace. His plan of teaching—by example, assignment, and constant checkup—was calculated to bring out the best that was in them. 97

18. We have not been called to hold the fort, but to storm the heights. 98

We have not been called to hold the fort, but to storm the heights.

Chapter 8 – Reproduction: Jesus called His disciples to follow His example of faithfulness to a few who would reproduce and teach their disciples to reproduce also.

19. The criteria on which a church should measure its success is not how many new names are added to the role nor how much the budget is increased, but rather how many Christians are actively winning souls and training them to win the multitudes. 106

Epilogue-The Master and Your Plan. There is a need for everyone to be given some form of specific evangelistic work within the church.

20. Our satisfaction is in knowing that in generations to come our witness for Christ will still be bearing fruit through them in an ever-widening cycle of reproduction to the ends of the earth and unto the end of time. 122


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