New witnessing tool
combines Bible & outlines
___By Bud Jones
___BROWNWOOD--Through 30 years as a Baptist pastor, Richard Jackson found something missing when searching for a concise, easy-to-understand witnessing tool.
___So, as a craftsman in the art of evangelism, he has created a tool he hopes will help others share their Christian faith more effectively.
___This printed tool, called "The Covenant of God's Love," takes a New American Standard translation of the New Testament and adds outlines designed to lead the non-Christian into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
___Jackson, a native Texan who gained national prominence as pastor of North Phoenix Baptist Church in Arizona, now directs the Jackson Center for Evangelism in Brownwood.
___"Through the years, I used a testament called the 'The Christian Life New Testament,'" Jackson said. "Four years ago, some people challenged me to edit out the stuff I felt was cumbersome. I didn't do that."
|RICHARD JACKSON, director of the Jackson Center for Evangelism in Brownwood, with his new witnessing tool.
___ What Jackson did instead was survey the available evangelistic Bibles and tracts. From this survey, he came up with two conclusions.
___ First, many of the Bibles were so full of information that an unbeliever would be confused. Second, some of the other available Bibles and tracts had scarcely any information in them.
___"The end result was that I accepted the challenge of writing simple outlines to give direction to many Christians wanting to share their faith with others," Jackson explained. "The outlines also make it possible for someone who isn't a Christian to read it for themselves and become a Christian through that."
___That has been just the effect the book has had on people who have come in contact with it already.
___With 150,000 copies of "Covenant" in print, another 50,000 are on the way. A Spanish translation, with an advance printing of 50,000 copies, is now available.
___Jackson's outlines lead the reader step-by-step through making a decision for Christ, and beyond.
___"A lot of people believe in God," he said, "but they have concluded that they can't know God personally because they believe they are 'too bad' or God is angry with them.
___"The message of the Bible is that God loves all people, not just some people. He has made a way for us to know that love through faith in his Son, Jesus Christ."
___Jackson said he chose the New American Standard translation to base his witnessing tool on because he believes it is the best English translation in the marketplace.
___New Testament in hand, Jackson went about writing three outlines with both the evangelist and non-Christian in mind.
___The outlines are titled "How to Know God's Love," "How to Show God's Love" and "How to Grow in God's Love."
___From the writing of the first outline to the delivery of the first "Covenant" took one year, and in the past six months Jackson has been on the road promoting the book. He has logged more than 25,000 miles in that time. He has spoken in churches across the Southeast and recently was a guest on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, an appearance that netted more than 1,000 inquiries.
___ Ron Cook, pastor of First Baptist Church in Brownwood, and Howard Payne University Chancellor Don Newbury have seen first-hand the impact Jackson's tool can have on people.
___Jackson spoke to the congregation at First Baptist earlier this spring, and Cook said the change was almost immediate.
___"We've got literally dozens of people sharing the gospel because of that presentation," Cook said. "We've never had that before in my time here as pastor. (Church members) continue to come in and get copies to use."
___Cook also has used the "Covenant" personally when talking one-on-one with non-Christians.
___"It's the most effective marked New Testament I've ever used," he said. "It has everything you need right there at hand. Information that's usually in a tract form is contained within the text of the New Testament. It's much clearer than the tracts I've used."
___Newbury also has seen the presentation of the outlines in the "Covenant" change lives immediately.
___ "I was in chapel the day he presented it to the students in a service," he said. "I have never seen greater attention given a speaker.
___"I'm not sure he even planned to offer an invitation, but three students stood up and accepted Christ right there. It was a service to teach kids how to share, and it wound up being a sharing time in itself."
___Howard Payne President Rick Gregory was at both presentations.
___"What he's doing is very powerful," Gregory said, "but at the same time it's very simple. It's laid out so clearly. You really just walk through the marked New Testament.
___"I think that's the strength behind what he's doing. It's simple, clear and powerful."
___With help from the Lockman Foundation, Jackson has been able to produce the books at low cost to churches and Christian organizations. Bulk shipments of 60 or fewer cost $2 apiece, including shipping; orders of 60 or more in multiples of 60 cost $1.50 per copy.
___"We're not out to make money on this at all," Jackson said. "We just want to get the gospel into the hands of the people who need it."
___To order copies of Jackson's book, contact the Jackson Center for Evangelism at Box 99, Brownwood 76804, (915) 643-4092.
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