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Ben Jack | How to Advance the Gospel with Advance Groups

Ben Jack is advancing the Gospel by forming Advance groups that are designed to equip, encourage, and empower evangelists through monthly mentoring sessions. Advance groups have been wildly successful in Great Britain and now they are spreading to many nations in a variety of different languages.

What is Advance? The Advance Evangelist Movement exists to promote and stir up the gift of the evangelist. Through Evangelist Group Mentoring and the personal witness training offered from Advance Bootcamps, they are committed to equipping and empowering those who have a desire to prioritise the sharing of the gospel, be it from a stage or a one-to-one conversation.

Website: advance2020.org


Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:00):
Ben Jack is advancing the gospel by forming Advance groups that are designed to equip, encourage and empower evangelists through monthly mentoring sessions, advanced groups have been wildly successful in great Britain. And now they’re spreading to many nations in a variety of different languages.

Evangelism Podcast Host (00:20):
Jesus said, go into all the world and preach the gospel. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord. Welcome to the evangelism podcast with Dr. Daniel King where Daniel interviews, full-time evangelists, pastors, missionaries, and normal everyday Christians to discover how they share their faith, their powerful testimonies and amazing stories that will inspire you to reach people with the good news. And now here’s your host missionary and evangelist Daniel King. Welcome to the evangelism podcast. I’m Daniel King, and I’m excited to have a special guest with me today. His name is Ben Jack, and he is from the other side of the pond. He is from great Britain. And so we’re just so delighted to have you on today. Ben, thank you for joining me.

Ben Jack (01:15):
Oh, it’s great to be here, Daniel. Thanks for having me.

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (01:17):
So tell me a little bit about your background in evangelism and how you got passionate about serving Jesus.

Ben Jack (01:26):
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I became a Christian in my teenage years. I grew up in a Christian home, but it took a while for it to kind of stick in my, in my heart, in my mind that Jesus was going to be Lord and not just the kind of part of my culture, you know, and when it did finally stick, I was thinking about going off to university or college as you call it in the States. And because of this new relationship that I have with Jesus, I felt like, you know, I’m not sure if I should go to college at this time, I feel like I want to go serve the Lord somewhere. So I ended up at youth for Christ here in great Britain. And I did a couple of years with them as an evangelist reaching out particularly to young people in a high schools, we’re very privileged over here to have access to high schools, to be able to share faith religious education as part of the curriculum.

Ben Jack (02:08):
And often Christians will be invited in to teach about Christianity and other subjects as well, which is great. So we would do that, but we would use creative arts to help engage the young people. I was a DJ. And so we’d use music to get them engaged in workshops with them and music classes as well, and then invite them to concerts where they could then have a good time, but crucially hear the gospel. And out of the back of that, I then continued on and I became a DJ in the, in the club scene for a few years and was just reaching out to that challenging environment, a lot of lost and broken and hurting and needed people in that world. And just trying to be light in, in what is often quite a dark environment after doing that for quite a few years, felt like the Lord was calling me then to more specifically turn DJ concerts into you know, evangelism comp concerts is that you can’t preach the gospel while you’re deejaying in a nightclub. You can talk to the, to the bar owners and the staffing be very relational, which is great, but I really felt like I wanted to use the music as a platform for them proclaiming from the stage. So we began to do those concerts over many years, but then for the last six years I’ve been working for an organization in Manchester in the UK called the message trust where we have established this, this project called advanced, which is all about equipping and encouraging the church for evangelism.

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (03:20):
Yeah. And you’ve had really tremendous success in great Britain raising up evangelists in, in helping to, to mentor and coach evangelists. And it’s all through the advance group mentoring guide, which I have a copy of it right here, the bright red cover, which is beautiful and I’ve gone through it, great material here. And in fact this next week I’m going to Sierra Leone and we’re going to be training some evangelists there. And so we’re taking this material with us and we’re going to put it in their hands and they’re going to be starting advance mentoring groups in Sierra Leone, which is super exciting. So, so tell me how this got started and what you’ve been doing with it.

Ben Jack (04:07):
So the founder of the organization, the message trust is excuse me, as an evangelist called Andy Hawthorne is, is well known over here in the UK for really pioneering evangelism and evangelistic opportunity, particularly in the city of Manchester, but then around the UK as well. And he, six years ago really felt that as he gets older in years, he wants it to mentor younger preaching evangelists. So he gathered 12 around himself. I was one of those and he began to mentor us once a month for a couple of hours. And it revolved around five basic principles that we would meet regularly. That’s once a month, we would sharpen at each other in what the gospel is to really make sure that we weren’t miscommunicating, that we weren’t starting to preach our own ideas or the culture of the age or anything like that.

Ben Jack (04:51):
But what is the truth of the gospel and let that come through clearly, rather than through any of our clever, you know, communication or anything else. So sharpen each other, what the gospel is, accountability, that would be Holy people who carried a Holy message. Again, not to take away the accountability of the local church or the accountability of within a marriage or something like that. But just to be another layer of accountability that particularly focuses in on things around the task of evangelism and proclaiming living and proclaiming the gospel communication was another principle that between group meetings, we communicate with each other stories of encouragement, prayer requests and things like that. And then number five was that we’d think about multiplying one day that we would also then do what you’re doing by taking this guy to Sierra Leone. And that we would think about taking on a new group of our own or encouraging others to do likewise. And so we started that one group in Manchester six years ago, and now we have a thousand or so groups in 55 countries around the world. And I think it’s simply because the, like God likes it when we prioritize his gospel and his, and his breathed upon it. And the church needs as much resourcing and help as it can get that to be faithful to what God’s called us to do.

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (06:07):
That is absolutely amazing. I think it’s a huge miracle. What you’ve done getting evangelists together. Talk to me about why you feel it’s important for evangelists to be in relationship with one another.

Ben Jack (06:22):
Well, I think evangelists could often be wired a particular way where there’s still quite a lot of diversity within the fraternity of or the sisterhood of evangelists, but there, we can often be wired quite similarly. We can be quite a Maverick in how we approach things and, you know, always wanting to get out and a back out. And sometimes we can come become a little bit disconnected to our local church community. One of the things that advanced really seeks to do is, is create community for the evangelist to grow and thrive, but consistently points back to the local church community and says like, you don’t get detached, don’t become isolated. Isolation will actually harm your ministry rather than help it. And so I think we need to be called in to fellowship. We need to be sometimes we want to champion enthusiasm.

Ben Jack (07:09):
We want to say, yes, keep going, be enthusiastic, keep, keep going and doing what God’s called you to do, but never neglect fellowship, never neglect the preparation. That’s why we have installed in it as as the first principle regular meeting. And we say, you know, you should treat that as a secret thing, even if a good opportunity ministry wise comes up, that you’ve already got your date in the diary. How seriously are you going to take it that God can do more with you in the secret place than he can in the public place. And if you want to go serve in the public place, you need to first prepare in the, in the secret place for want of a better term. So we certainly don’t want people to neglect their responsibilities out there in the world, but we also want to take it very seriously that God wants to prepare his people for his purpose.

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (07:51):
So some of the 12 lessons that you have here in advance are the identity of the evangelist, the message of the evangelist, the task of the evangelist, the power of the evangelist, the devotion of the evangelist. I’m seeing a theme here of everything has to do with the evangelists. So the submission of the evangelist, the character, the opportunity, the commitment, and then the, the inspiration of the evangelists. So talk to me about some of these key principles that you feel it’s important for evangelists to talk about with one another.

Ben Jack (08:27):
Well, we’re actually developing a new version of the guide at the moment that gives you three years worth of group sessions, or what you have at the moment is just the first year. And in that first year, what we really wanted to do is make sure that we were talking about the character of, of the, of the people that are called. And I think we have a lot of evangelism training and equipping that is, that revolves around method. I’m going to give you a particular tracks or a particular way of explaining me, ABC of Greg gospel. And those things are very helpful and important for us. But before we employ a method, we need to make sure that we’re, we’re going to be good messages. And I don’t mean as communicators. I mean that our hearts are right before the Lord. And if we want to do that, then we need to understand the message deeply and richly.

Ben Jack (09:13):
Again, not just intellectually, but we need to know it, it needs to know us as much as we know it. And so are we letting God actually transform us into his ambassadors? That, that we, that we would know what it is to be ministers of reconciliation, because it’s not just a title that we hold. It’s the reality of who we are when we become Jesus followers, where we’re now not going to be ministers of reconciliation into the world, simply because Jesus has told us to, we’re going to be ministers of reconciliation, because this is who we are. Now we have a new identity. It’s just what flows forth from a Jesus person. So the character stuff that we outline in that first year is very much about what if we thought a little bit more about the people that God is calling us to be in light of what his gospel is, how might that affect us for our evangelism into the world. And, you know, as Leonard Ravenhill said, any method of evangelism will work, you’ve got is in it. So how do you make sure that God’s in the mandate? You make sure he’s in the messenger. How do you make sure God’s in the message and you make sure the gospel is in the messenger. Yeah,

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (10:11):
That’s powerful. So what’s going to come in years, two and three.

Ben Jack (10:15):
Is a reflection on the challenges and the fruit of the evangelist. So it flip-flops each month. So one month you’re looking at a challenge that there is for us as evangelism, whether it’s, you know, persecution or, or focus or something like distraction, you know, whatever. And then, and then on the other month, you’ll be looking at a fruit. So what is the fruit that comes the fruit that comes out of you personally, the fruit that comes from your effort, the fruit of relationship with Jesus. And obviously looking at honing that in a little bit on the fruit of the spirit that we read about in Galatians. And it’s kind of like trying to look at the reality that often our walk with Jesus evangelism or otherwise is, is the rough and the smooth, not the Jesus is rough. His burden is light and his yoke is easy, but outworking our faith in this fallen world, that’s, that’s rough, that’s difficult.

Ben Jack (11:01):
And so what we wanted to do in the second year was having established character and who God’s calling us to be, what does that now look like? Well, sometimes it looks very hard. These are the challenges let’s think about those. And sometimes it looks incredibly fruitful. This is what that fruit can look like. And then the third year is actually where we really open it up for more of a bespoke approach for the groups. And instead of providing pre-written sessions to cover the whole year, we provide a whole wealth of different ways that you can approach it. So that by the third year, you know, your group better than we do, you know, their different needs, you know, where everybody’s at, you can take the suite of different ways of thinking about it that we offer and potentially create your own sessions month in, month out to specifically meet needs of your and developing groups.

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (11:49):
So if someone is interested in getting involved in a group or, or starting an advanced group, and they have a passion for evangelism, they know some other people that, that have a calling from God to be an evangelist, how would they go about getting started having one of these advanced groups?

Ben Jack (12:07):
Well, what I would say is, first of all, if you are an evangelist, then, then this absolutely could be really helpful and beneficial. You know, we, we’ve been blessed to impact and work with a variety of different types of Angeles from all over the world and hearing their feedback and of how they use it. And there’s, there’s enough flexibility within how to use the sessions. There’s a level of prescription, but there’s also a level of look, make it your own, make it work for you. We don’t ultimately care if you follow the material. We, we just want you to be helped and to develop that by God’s grace and power in fellowship with one another. So use it to that extent. And, and we seeing real fruitfulness of it, but we’re also seeing more and more men and women who don’t necessarily believe they have the calling the office of the evangelist on their life, but they certainly want to do the work of you and you think they want to be a faithful witness into the world.

Ben Jack (12:53):
And so we actually have a number of people now engaging who wouldn’t say that they’re primarily evangelists, but they do have a passion for advantages. So look, whether you’re an evangelist, whether you just want to be faithful to the witness that God has called you to, you can get connected@advancedgroups.org. And there’s a, the website is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese. There’s also various sub sites for a few different countries. But even if there isn’t a sub-site in your country, just get in touch with us here in the UK, we’ll help you to get started, add, Hey, maybe we could even get a, a new sub site set up in your nation, get a translation of the material we’ve got about 14 translations of the guide currently available. The new guide we’ll be launching in March, which we’re excited about, but there’s everything you need to get started is right there@advancedgroups.org.

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (13:37):
What are some of the languages that are available?

Ben Jack (13:40):
So we’ve got English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French Arabic Swahili. What else have we got? We’ve got we got a couple South African languages in there. I think Amharic is, is Ethiopia is on the way if it’s not up already. So yeah, various languages, they’re all, they’re all for free. The whole thing’s free by the way as well. It doesn’t cost a penny. You just go and download it.

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (14:10):
Wow. What a tremendous resource for evangelists? I think this really answers a big need in the body of Christ for evangelists. Just the, there, there, there is a need among evangelists to, to be together, to work together, to encourage one another. Sometimes other parts of the body don’t always celebrate the evangelist the way that evangelists would like to be celebrated. You know, sometimes I’ll go on a missions trip to another country and lots of people get saved and, and God will do amazing things. I’ll come back. And the number one question I always get is, you know, what kind of food did you eat? I was like, you know, I want to talk about all the people that Jesus saved, you know but evangelists get excited hearing about all the people that were, were saved. And so just being around other evangelists encourages me and helps me to, to be in a better evangelist and to keep the fire in my own heart. And so if you’re listening, I’d encourage you to, to go in and get a copy of the advance group mentoring guide download it, it’s free and start a group of evangelists or start a group of people who have a heart for evangelism. And let’s encourage evangelism in the body of Christ brother. Ben, do you have a one final thought about what Jesus is doing in the world today?

Ben Jack (15:35):
Just to encourage people and say, yeah, just encourage people to say that the, you know, we’re in some very strange days at the moment with, with COVID and all the other challenges that are associated with it. And we have plenty of challenges even before COVID came along. So this world is a complicated and strange place. And yet day by day, God is continuously revealing his glory. And I have seen more opportunity for gospel proclamation and engagement with my neighbors, with those closest to me with strangers than at any other point in my 20 year evangelism journey and my 38 year life journey. This is a moment where people are open. They’re thinking through their foundations. They are scared, they’re concerned. We in no way seek to come in and exploits the chaos. What we seek to do is come in and exalt the one who can bring peace to the chaos and through you right now, any way, shape or form feeling a bit deflated or defeated. Let me encourage you brother or sister. God wants to work in your life powerfully and he will do wonderful things. If you will simply say, here I am, Lord, I’m available. I’m willing and he can take care of the rest.

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (16:41):
That’s awesome. Well, Ben, thank you so much for joining me on the evangelism podcast. I love what you’re doing and I believe it will result in many people getting saved around the world. God bless you.

Ben Jack (16:54):
Bless you, Daniel, take care. Thank you.

Evangelism Coach Daniel King (16:56):
Thanks so much for listening to the evangelism podcast today, I’m Daniel King and I’m always excited about telling people about Jesus and I’m also excited about helping other evangelists. And so if there’s something I can do for you go to my website, King ministries.com and get in touch with me. And also while you’re at it, could you leave me a review on iTunes go and your five star review will help other evangelists to find this program because we want to help everyone

Evangelism Podcast Host (17:28):
For more information about how to share your faith or to financially support our worldwide evangelistic outreaches. Visit King ministries.com. Again, that’s King ministries.com.


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