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  • Christopher Thompson

Green Berets of the Gospel

Surely you’ve heard of the Green Berets. The Green Berets are the Special Forces of the U.S. Army. These soldiers receive specialized training to respond to special, important, and dangerous assignments on short notice. Now, I’m no armed forces expert, but as I understand it, the Green Berets are usually called on first to prepare the way. They are sent before the rest of the soldiers.

The morning session in the Welcome Center was filled with what looked to me like the Green Berets of the Gospel. These special forces agents gathered for some additional specialized preparedness training from David and Marquita Klinedinst. These evangelism specialists carefully explored the various components of visitation, home Bible studies, and prayer in preparation for and during evangelistic initiatives.

The Klinedinsts emphasized the importance of a master plan for evangelism in the church and contended that the reason public evangelism efforts are often unsuccessful is usually due to inadequate pre-work and no long-term plan or strategy. Nevertheless, these Green Berets never missed a beat. They all nodded in agreement and added specific anecdotes from the front lines that served as evidence that the information being presented was spot on.

The session included particular directives: dos and don’ts about praying in homes with people who have requested Bible studies, how to choose a Bible translation to study with, how to select and progress through a Bible lesson series, and much more. But again, this was not an audience of regular soldiers. These are the special forces. They took everything the Klinedinsts threw at them, and they were still ready for more.

This session served as evidence of what happens when the Spirit comes. When the Spirit comes, the people of God get excited about the mission. Better yet, excited is an inadequate term for them. I think the appropriate military term is “mission-ready” because this group is ready to do the work of the Gospel. At the close of the session, the Klinedinsts shared a quote that would serve as the catalyst for Friday’s discussion: “If you teach them the ‘truth’ but they fail to know Jesus personally, then you haven’t taught them the truth.” It’s a reminder that the real mission is to bring people to Jesus, not simply to the point of baptism.

—Christopher C. Thompson

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