The Reformation’s Legacy of Personal Evangelism

Today’s guest post comes to us from Paige Patterson for 9Marks.org.

Martin Luther’s transition from Augustinian monk to cogent Reformer began with a dark night of the soul. As this monk grappled with the question of how to be acceptable to God, Johann von Staupitz evidently had been the unintentional evangelist who told Luther to read the Bible. Luther was thoroughly acquainted with Scripture, but now he read with insight. Describing his own pilgrimage, Luther said, “It was as though I were born anew.” The remainder of his life, Luther lived in the light of this new birth.

No event of the Reformation was more determinative for evangelism than Luther’s year of “friendly captivity” in Wartburg Castle. Luther used that year following the Diet of Worms to translate the New Testament into German. The invention of the printing press and the availability of the Bible to the common man were two of the most “evangelistic events” of history. Luther’s own experience of seeking right standing before God and discovering that status through the reading of Scripture led him to translate the Bible into the vernacular so that all might find Christ. At this stage, Luther was not as much interested in making Protestants out of Catholics as he was in making genuine followers of Christ out of professing “Christians.”

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church planter, coach and church growth strategist, working with churches in over 45 denominations. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in San Francisco and Boca Raton, FL. He first developed the Assimilation System 10 years ago at the Journey Church and has since implemented and improved these strategies with over 3,000 churches across all sizes and denominations. He started coaching pastors in 2006 and has personally coached over 2100+ senior pastors, helping them break common growth barriers like 125, 250, 500, 1000 and beyond, all while maintaining personal life and ministry balance. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has trained more than 50,000 church leaders (3,000+ church planters). He is the author of over 80 church growth resources and 15+ books, including Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests Into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church and The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry. His continued mission is to help church leaders around the world cooperate with God in creating healthy, thriving churches. Nelson is married to Kelley and together they have one son, Alexander.

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