"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
Traditional views of evangelism are often intimidating and push the limits of personal comfort, leaving the job of reaching out to new and searching Christians for the professionals – the clergy of the church. Knight and Powe show how this basic misunderstanding is contrary to John Wesley’s view of evangelism, which he understood as a complete circle. Once one has been evangelized to and welcomed into the faith, part of the transformation of their lives includes Christ’s teaching, which is to help others to become welcomed in the faith.
The key to Wesley’s way of sharing the faith is to relate to others in love, compassion and gratitude for God’s divine grace. Knight and Powe’s explanation of evangelism is steeped in the Wesleyan tradition, exposing how God’s love and grace comes to each of us as we once received it, through the gift of proclamation. A true transformative act of evangelism is R.E.L.A.T.I.O.N.A.L.: Renewal; Enter; Listening; Acceptance; Testimony; Inviting; On-Going; New Beings; Assurance; Live-It. As Christians, we are not to keep the gift we receive through evangelism; we are to live out what we learn in community and study, by inviting others into this grace. Knight and Powe express that evangelism should not be viewed as an ugly word or act that most fear to live out, but as a way for one friend in Christ to welcome another friend in Christ to the faith.