Written by Peter Debekar Mazumder
We got an energizing and provocative word from the Lord at the Asian Access Bangladesh class in February. Rev. Adrian De Visser of Sri Lanka was our faculty. His topic was Evangelism Through Grace.
Grace? That seemed odd to some of the participants. Evangelism is about proclamation and warning people away from Hell, isn’t it? But Brother Adrian gave us a new look at this vital area of the ministry.
Adrian began by identifying the four aspects of a human being: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. He told us,
“As ministers, we too often focus only on the spiritual side of a person. While this side is very important, it can cause us to ignore the other three components. All four, together, are vital to a healthy and balanced disciple.”
At the session, Adrian spent extensive time on emotions. “We need to understand a person’s emotional needs as well as their spiritual needs if we are to reach them for Christ. But we also need to be healed from our emotional wounds if we want to be an effective leader. Without addressing the emotional needs of others and of ourselves, we cannot understand God’s grace in our lives.”
Brother Adrian then shifted his focus onto evangelism. “There are two things we need to remember,” he told us, “Truth and Grace. But if we first approach an unbeliever with truth, without showing any grace, they will react to the truth—that they are a lost sinner.
“For those of us in shame/honor cultures like Bangladesh and my country, this can be devastating. But if we can first show grace to others, it can make a bridge to open their hearts. Then, we can share the truth.”
He noted that, as Asians, we got the gospel from Western missionaries. While their intentions were good, these missionaries served at a time when people did not realize that they might be adapting the gospel to fit their own cultural interpretations.
“We must identify how Western culture has negatively impacted our understanding of the gospel and learn how to communicate the gospel in ways that can be understood by our culture. We can then share the gospel in more meaningful and effective ways.”
Finally, Brother Adrian laid his hands on the participants to bless them so that they can build big dreams and seek God’s vision, which will guide them to impact the nations His glory and Kingdom. The participants then took the opportunity to pray for Pastor Adrian, his family, and the ministry God has given him to serve others.
We were also able to take some time for fun at nearby Nandon Park (see photos). All in all, this sixth session was a great time of dynamic training and fellowship. Praise the Lord for this special session and time of companionship.
Peter Debekar Mazumder
National Co-Director, A2/Bangladesh