Mastering Outreach and Evangelism

By Myron Augsburger, Calvin Ratz and Frank Tillapaugh
Portland, Oregon : Multnomah (1990). 168 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. Alex Montoya
3.1 (Spring 1992) : 96-97

The third volume in the delightful "Mastering" series spearheaded by Leadership and Christianity Today, this book offers a fresh approach and suggestive insights into the Great Commission of the church. Its purpose is to provide ways for getting the congregation focused outwardly and committed to making a difference.

The three authors, though distinct in personalities and ministries, have one thing in common: they are committed to evangelism. Myron Augsburger is pastor of Washington Community Fellowship in the inner city of the nation's capital. Calvin Ratz pastors 1Editor's Note: The volume by Augsburger, Ratz, and Tillapaugh has valuable discussions and suggestions, especially from the first two contributors. Inclusion of this review is not intended to minimize the seriousness of Frank Tillapaugh's recent moral disqualification from ministry. Abbotsford Pentecostal Assembly in Vancouver, British Columbia. His interest and gifts in evangelism have earned him the privilege of also serving in the Billy Graham School of Evangelism. The third author, Frank Tillapaugh, took the Bear Valley Baptist Church of Denver, Colorado in 1972 and built it from 70 to twelve hundred. The strength of the book lies not so much with the methodologies proposed as with the heart and passion of the authors. This reinforces the old adage that the desire to evangelize is "more caught than taught."

Though primarily evangelistically oriented, this volume contains a great deal of teaching. The authors take turns contributing to the three major divisions of the book. The first division, "Preparing the Way" has a chapter by Augsburger on "Overcoming the Obstacles of Evangelism." This is followed by one on "The Pastor's Role" by Ratz. The latter emphasizes the pastor's role as a model for evangelism. Ratz states, "My people will not become what I say they should be; they'll become what they see is important in my life. And that's true with evangelism" (p. 26). This reminds us of what our Lord said, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men" (Matt 4:19).

The second section discusses structures for evangelism, including chapters on preparing the church for evangelism. Although each author is an evangelist in his own right, the treatment centers on getting the corporate church involved in outreach and evangelism. This section is particularly helpful since every pastor knows that mobilizing people for outreach is one of his most difficult tasks.

The third and final section suggests practical strategies in the areas of outreach, preaching evangelistically, and assimilating newcomers into local assemblies. The pragmatism and uniqueness of the ministries discussed make it unlikely that everyone will be able to use these as a blueprint for outreach. The suggestions, however, serve as useful in stimulating our minds to seek our own strategies to reach the lost and the unchurched.

With the Great Commission being such a great commission, we welcome this useful volume to the arsenal of resources for helping Christian leaders to help their churches to reach out and evangelize.