The first sentence spells out the ideal: “Paying someone else less to do a better job: that's the premise that makes outsourcing of any service or task so popular.” (www.smh.com.au)
Outsourcing is a $251 billion industry in IT alone in the USA, and Pennington points out that in Australia four generations of outsourcing has given this commerce a formidable foundation of success.
There are tricks to the trade (as it where) and these five pointers according to a group of outsourcing experts avoid the high-tech equivalent of a bad marriage and costly divorce.
The five tips apply to personal evangelism
It is these same five tips, in my view, that apply equally to personal evangelism and I've simply snatched the headings and focused on the issue of one to one communicating the good news of Jesus Christ.
Don't fixate on the bottom line
The bottom line, in whatever kind of evangelism it is, might be summarised in the response of many New Testament illustrations, such as to Saul on the Road to Damascus, the Ethiopian Eunuch with Philip, the leader of the Synagogue in Berea, and many others – the bottom line is - becoming followers of Jesus.
In each case, there were stepping stones. Saul had held the clothes of those who stoned Stephen, The Ethiopian was reading the Old Testament, the Synagogue leader recognised something special was happening.
So too in our personal evangelism. Anyone to whom we speak is already on a journey and you too might be part of their journey towards Jesus coming alive to them.
What's going to work? Teamwork!
None of us are alone in personal evangelism. Even a cursory glance of the New Testament spells out there is a host of witnesses to the Salvation message before us, covering us before and after.
There are people praying for you for which you are unaware but their prayers are holding up your arms (as it were – as with Aaron with Moses). They are praying for you as you meet and greet friends, acquaintances, associates, down the street, mother's club, sport … whatever the situation.
Personal evangelism is about a team (on the one hand), for which you may know a little but can be assured they are at supporting you, and (on the other), your local suburban church fellowship of Christians supporting and encouraging each other.
Hard yards up front
Personal evangelism is primarily focusing on those whom we know and have developed a rapport with one to one integrity. This is not an instantaneous relationship. Usually, some years are involved where they've had a good look at you. This has involved many hard yards.
50-50 Shades of Co-Operation
Pennington cites this statement: “Finding the equilibrium where trust is countered by power is difficult. Outsourcing clients will achieve optimum results when they strike this balance.”
This is a reference relating to the business relationship between the owner of the contract and the people being offered the outsourcing work. Note it involves on the one hand “trust” and on the other, the business owner who has the ultimate power as to whom the work is outsourced.
In a long term business relationship a trust has developed that the outsourced work is undertaken with diligence and productivity and on the other side of the ledger (as it were) the business owner knows he has confidence in the outcome.
Personal evangelism is just the same. God owns Salvation. He entrusts us with the message acknowledging that it is the Holy Spirit that brings people (one by one) to the Salvation which God owns.
On our part is faithfulness and diligence. The Lord is the Lord of the circumstance in 50-50 shades of cooperation.
Bend with the Wind
As the Lord leads and guides us in our daily lives, so too we find ourselves in a squillian different situations where opportunities arise for 'one to one' evangelism. No two opportunities are ever exactly the same. The Holy Spirit may well prompt us within a conversation, and at these poignant moments, we will bend with the wind as to which direction we're being prompted.
Don't frighten from any of these, embrace them and rejoice in His confidence.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html