It was going to be an exciting day. Our church, Calvary Chapel Montebello was hosting a pastors’ luncheon for nearly two hundred local pastors and their associates. My good friend, Pastor Mike Macintosh of Horizon Christian Fellowship, was coming to share a message. I woke up energized, looking forward to what the Lord would do. Then, around 6:15 a.m. (PST) my cell phone began ringing. One frantic caller after another told me, “Turn your television on … you will not believe what’s happening!” The date was September 11, 2001. Most people who lived through that day have similar stories. One minute it was life as usual and then suddenly everything changed. That morning in California, the pastors still came to the luncheon, except for Mike Macintosh. After receiving a call from Washington, D.C., Mike made special arrangements to fly to New York City to serve as chaplain at Ground Zero. The rest of us gathered and watched the historic events unfold on television. Pastor Raul Ries of Calvary Chapel Golden Springs suggested we get on our knees and pray for our country. It was a time of prayer like no other— poignant, weighty, and powerful.
As we prayed, unbeknownst to us, the Lord was already answering. He was opening amazing doors for His people to move right into the vortex of this tragedy with the true and living hope of the gospel. He was also putting a timely message on the heart of another pastor in the New York City area—a message to remind us that God’s singular passion every day is to reach the lost. That pastor is Lloyd Pulley. The message was originally published in a book titled Patient Evangelism. In it Lloyd chronicled the unique ministry the church was involved in during the 9/11 tragedy, and the simple yet reviving way that the Lord stirred His people to share their faith at that time. When I read it, I was blown away by how clearly Lloyd articulated a viewpoint about contemporary Christian evangelism that I myself have felt for a long time but have found difficult to put into words. I thought, This is a vital message for anyone who shares God’s heart to win souls.
When Lloyd sent me this new manuscript, which is a revised second edition of that original book, I was surprised to find that this updated version had more impact than the first. By shifting the emphasis off the specific ministry done in the aftermath of 9/11 and focusing more on Jesus’ encounter with the woman He met by the well, Lloyd has made the message of this book more accessible to every Christian. In a sense, he has taken evangelism out of the realm of the extraordinary, ministry-centered outreach event and brought it down to where we all live—into our own homes, workplaces, neighborhoods, and classrooms. I love that Lloyd offers no slick formulas or evangelistic methods. It’s what makes this book truly stand out from others of its kind. Nothing I’ve read on the subject of evangelism does a better job of reflecting the true missionary heart of our Savior, and His calling for us to go into the world with the gospel. Each biblical principle is drawn from observing how Jesus spoke to an ordinary woman who crossed His path one day, and serves as a helpful reminder that we should make the most of every opportunity to share the gospel with others. Unfortunately, evangelism has gotten a bad reputation because some of the techniques used by Christians can come across as pushy, unloving, or self-serving. Instead of drawing others to the Lord, many are actually turned away from Him. I do believe there is a place for tracts and other methods and formulas when witnessing and sharing our faith. Such tools in themselves are not bad and can be effective; however, nothing is more valuable in furthering God’s kingdom than a person who is sensitive to the Spirit’s leading. This is the main message Lloyd develops here, and it is one that is drawn from the Master Himself.
I am thankful to Lloyd for writing this book, and especially for taking the time to put together this second edition. Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well is such a timely message for the church today. Reading Lloyd’s insights have personally blessed me, and as a pastor, his book has provided me with a useful resource for teaching others. It is a practical and memorable way to share the greatest news in the world—the hope of salvation through Jesus Christ—with those we love and encounter every day. I believe it is for such a time as this that Everyday Conversations, Eternal Impact has been written. May God use this message in your life, and may He bless you, empower you, and open many doors for you, as you seek to share your faith with those around you.
Pastor Pancho Juarez
CALVARY CHAPEL MONTEBELLO, CA