If you describe someone as being “very pastoral,” it implies a warm tenderness towards people. And these are qualities that are certainly a part of the shepherd image, but they’re not at the forefront. In fact, if a shepherd spends all his time nuzzling with the cute, little lambs, or binding up the sick ones, the flock will scatter, starve and die. A shepherd is pre-eminently called to lead.
I’ve heard stories about evangelistic tent meetings. And while I’m sure there were obstacles and challenges, I’m always amazed at the simplicity that seems to describe them. Hold a meeting in the biggest room you can find and with the right speaker and almost everyone would come – and many would find new life in Jesus. Times have changed. And while I’m still envious of the simplicity of former days, I’m also amazed at the new ways that the gospel is bearing fruit in our day. There are four characteristics of effective evangelism that I’ve seen recently.
This week I’ve been encouraged by the legacy of a Zimbabwean believer who was used to further the cause of equality in South Africa. Albert Luthuli was born in 1898 near Bulawayo in what is now Zimbabwe. His mother had lived in the household of a Zulu king and on his father’s side both his grandfather and uncle had served as tribal chiefs. It was an impressive pedigree for a future leader, but it was the influence of an earnest older African minister that was used to lead him to faith and the devout atmosphere of an African evangelist’s family with whom he lodged that stirred his calling to become a lay preacher.