Why We Need A Plan: 8 - My Three Part Plan

After all I’ve read and written about from John Ritchie and R. A. Torrey (see Blog Archives), not only am I convinced that I need a plan, but I also believe that this plan needs to be put into effect as soon as possible. To that end, I’m going to be using two new books, my bible, and a piece of paper.

The first book, as illustrated above, is Dr A. Ray Stanford’s “Handbook Of Evangelism”, published - or rather, republished - by CrossReach Publications. You can order it from Amazon, but I believe it’s also available for free on the internet. Take a look at it, and see what you think. 

Having already skimmed through the work, I can see that there is a great deal to be learned from Dr Stanford, even though I know that his theology is problematical in places. My plan is to read it again, slowly and carefully, checking his scriptural references wherever necessary. Where I don’t agree with him, I want to be able to say why. I estimate that I’ll need to spend between three and six months on this, depending on how busy I am in 2018.

The second book, as seen above, is “Open-Air Preaching: A Practical Manual For Pastors, Evangelists, And Other Christian Workers.” It’s written by Edwin Hallock Byington, and published by ULAN Press - another older publication reissued for a modern audience.

Some years ago, in another church, when the topic of Open Air Preaching came up in the presence of the pastor, his response was simple: a sniff, a sneer, and a supercilious comment: “Hit-and-run evangelism - it’s just a waste of time!” I’d hazard a guess that quite a few of the people who will read this are of the same mind, for all practical purposes - which just goes to show how wrong you can be.

Again, I’ve already glanced through this volume. The only problem I’ve noticed thus far is his overly optimistic view of what was then the near future. With hindsight, we will wonder what led him to such speculations. That said, I look forward to learning a lot from this work as well. I’ll read it little by little, as time allows.

I don’t know whether I’ll be using a new bible in the new year, though that might be necessary, since my present one is falling apart. I’d like to claim that this has been caused by much study, but I’m afraid it’s just that Crossway bibles are very poorly bound.

What about the piece of paper? Well, I’m just coming to the end of a bible-in-one-year reading plan from Ligonier Ministries; but instead of reading it myself, I’ve been listening to Max McLean reading it for me. It’s been an excellent experience. N.B. You don’t have to pay for a recording, you can simply download one of the many versions available on the internet. Highly recommended.

What about next year? Since my grasp of history (both ancient and modern) is sketchy in the extreme, it’s time for the-bible-in-chronological-order-in-one-year. There are lots of these plans around, and they mostly agree on the chronology, so again I’m using one from Ligonier Ministries. Perhaps I’ll employ Mr McLean again. I haven’t quite made up my mind.

In conversation with a young man a few months ago, I was told in no uncertain terms that I didn’t need to read any other book apart from the bible. It explained itself, and that was that. There is some truth in what he said; but, then again, if George Whitefield read Matthew Henry along with his bible for a couple of hours every day, I don’t think I need be ashamed of getting help from wherever I can find it. As Clint Eastwood remarks at the end of “Magnum Force”: “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

And that’s my three part plan. If you’ve got a better one, I’d like to hear about it. I see that our pastor has put a new Guestbook section on this site. That might be a good way to get in touch!