Spirit makes evangelism easier, says Hoey

SAN JOSE — Reclaiming the power of the gospel will greatly help with one of the most difficult challenges Presbyterians face— evangelism, according to the Rev. Eric Hoey, director of evangelism and church growth [], who spoke at the evangelism breakfast June 26 at the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

After opening with a short video that showed a high-energy pizza deliverer who promised, “If you can give your life to Jesus tonight, I’ll throw in some free breadsticks,” Hoey said that evangelism does not need to be “knocking on doors and being obnoxious.”

Hoey referenced a variety of Bible texts and the denomination’s Book of Order to demonstrate how evangelism can be revitalized — the power of unity, of the Holy Spirit and of prayer, and the willingness to take risks.

Regarding unity, Hoey cited 1 Corinthians 1:13-17, verses that stress unity through the power of the gospel rather than through individual leaders. The gospel is unifying, Hoey said.

Fear of evangelizing can be eased by the Holy Spirit, Hoey said, citing texts from Matthew and Acts. Evangelism can be made easier by asking of the Holy Spirit, “Show me what you want me to do.”

Hoey also called for a “storm of people praying” for the PC(USA), citing Ephesians 6:19, “Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known the gospel.”

He said the church needs to dare to speak the gospel. “Somehow we’ve lost the spirit of taking risks” to proclaim the gospel. Quoting G-3.0400 of the Book of Order, Hoey said, “The church is called to undertake this mission even at the risk of losing its life.”