Gary Grogan has been both a pastor and an evangelist. Today he tells a story about the first person he ever led to Jesus. It was a man who had a gun to his head about to kill himself. Gary was only 14 years old but God sent him to lead the man to Jesus.
Connect with Gary Grogan: https://twitter.com/papagrogan
Subscribe to The Evangelism Podcast Today! With Evangelism Coach Daniel King
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:00):
Gary Grogan has been both a pastor and an evangelist. And today he tells a story about the first person he ever led to Jesus. It was a man who had a gun to his head about to kill himself. And then at the age of 14 or 15 of years of age had sent Gary to go and to lead him to Jesus. You’re gonna love this story. Keep listening. As we get started on today’s episode of the evangelism podcast,
Evangelism Podcast Host (00:41):
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.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (01:06):
Welcome to the evangelism podcast. I’m Daniel King, and I’m excited about telling people about Jesus today. I’m here with brother Gary Grogan. Thank you so much for being on the evangelism podcast.
Gary Grogan (01:18):
Joy to be here. Thank you so much. God bless you.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (01:21):
So let’s start at the beginning. How did you first get excited about evangelism?
Gary Grogan (01:27):
Well, when I was a freshman in high school, our home church got a new pastor, 10 years older than me. So he was 24. I was 14 and he taught us how to share our faith, a Romans road, steps of peace with God, four of laws. And you know, I’ve, I’ve noticed that churches don’t do that as much as they used to, you know, evangelism explosion with Dr. James Kennedy of coral Ridge Presbyterian church. Plus the Pentecostal charismatic church was known for teaching its people, personal evangelism, churches had prayer coordinators, evangelism coordinators, and now we have service project coordinators. So it was that pastor that got me excited about sharing my faith.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (02:13):
And so tell me some of what you’ve done since then.
Gary Grogan (02:18):
Well I’ve been a pastor. I’ve been a youth pastor. I’ve been a statewide and college director. Did the Chicago outreach with David Wilkerson. Some of you have heard the name, David Wilkerson and times square church and way before that, the cross and the switch blade. And then I became a state and college leader, like I said, then I took O what we call in the church world, a burnt Overfield and small group of people and developed it into the third largest church in our tribe in the state of Illinois five years ago, I turned it over to one of my sons in the faith. And so I, I switched my credential from pastor category to evangelist category. And I, I think every pastor should have the heart of an evangelist and every evangelist should have the heart of a pastor. I think everybody should be involved in telling somebody about Jesus.
Gary Grogan (03:14):
That’s a real, you know, Paul told Timothy and he Timothy had trouble with shyness timidity, you know, Paul of all the people in the new Testament that Paul mentored and coached and discipled, he only told Timothy God has not given us the spirit of timid of fear, but of power and love and a sound mine. But he also told Timothy do the work of an evangelist. It was a command, it was an imperative sheep reproduce sheep. So some of my heroes in the faith you know, TL, Osborne, I’ve preached in his churches in democratic Republic of Congo. Amazing pastor Tommy Barnett used to be up in the well, what we call the quad cities in Iowa and, and great work in Phoenix, Arizona. He told me one time, he said, Gary, if you do not go out of your way to be a soul winner, you’ll never be a soul winner. So I’m very passionate about this personal Evangel evangelism, corporate evangelism, creative evangelism power, our invent evangelism, anyway, that we
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (04:23):
Prophetic evangelism miracle Evangel,
Gary Grogan (04:26):
Come on, come on. You’ve written about all that kind of stuff. Anyway, we can reach people for Jesus. That’s what I want to do. That is true. Spirit filled living.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (04:36):
Now, sometimes when people hear about the evangelist, they think, well, it’s the Evangel job to evangelize, but really the great commission is given to everyone in the whole church by Jesus. Every believer is called to go and preach the gospel. And so how can a normal everyday believer get involved in sharing their faith?
Gary Grogan (05:00):
Well, first of all, they have to learn how to share their faith. I teach the prayer care share approach. So we’ve gotta get our people praying for the lost fellow students, neighbors, my wife and I have a list of all of our neighbors. We’ve met all of our neighbors. We pray for them by name. We share with them and I’ve led some of my neighbors to Christ. That’s the prayer approach, praying for the lost, and then you care for the lost. So we’ve done a million things for our neighbors at the beginning of the pandemic and older neighbor, who’s a retired CIA agent, by the way,
Gary Grogan (05:43):
They were so afraid to go out of their house. They did not go out of their house for it was either five months in one week or six months in one week. I can’t remember. I wish my wife was here to remind me, but so we bought their groceries. We did everything for them. So you’re, you’re caring for your neighbors. You take ’em cookies, you take ’em pies. You, somebody in the family passes away. You go prayer care share approach. But also you have to be taught how to share your faith. This is what changed my life as a 14, 15 year old freshman in secondary school. In high school, I had a pastor that taught me how to share my faith. So I, I want to tell that story, but to answer your question, evangelism is not just for the evangelist are exactly right.
Gary Grogan (06:39):
Sheep reproduce sheep. Otherwise they’re sterile. I’ve never met a board soul winner. I’ve met a lot of board Christians. I said earlier, this is true spirit filled living. I pray in a prayer language that I never learned every day. I love it. I, I love the spirit baptism, but I believe the lifelong evidence to the spirit baptism is a life of soul winning a life of witnessing. That’s not just for the evangelist. The people we work with, we’re supposed to be salt and light. There are a enough Christians in the world that if every Christian would begin to pray for the lost care, for the lost and share with the lost in one week, we could evangelize the 7.8 some say 8.1 billion people on planet earth. We could do that in one week, but it’s the leader’s jobs. The apostles prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelists, to equip the saints, to pray for the lost care for the lost and share with the lost.
Gary Grogan (07:51):
So you, you can’t fake soul winning. You can fake worship. You can fake devotion. You can fake spirituality. You can fake a lot of things, but you cannot fake true spirit filled living that is spirit filled living, just walking by somebody and not being concerned about their soul. That’s not spirit filled living. I’m not trying to motivate anybody through guilt. I would never do that, but hearing the voice of the spirit many times, I’ve, I’ve done it here, where we are right now, brother king. And I’ve just said, what’s one thing I can pray with you about. I, I just prayed with the manager. We’re actually at a hotel right now. And I prayed with the manager of food services and his name was Gabriel Angel’s name by the way. And he was so appreciative. And so thankful. I said, what’s one thing I can pray with you about. And he told me, and it was just a wonderful experience together. So but my life changed when I led my first soul to Christ. And I’d like to tell you this.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (08:57):
Yeah. How did you lead your first soul to Christ?
Gary Grogan (09:01):
It’s a miraculous story. This doesn’t happen to everybody. I mean, I’ve had a lot of failures, you know, Jesus was awkward and there was a moment of awkwardness in Jesus’s conversation with the woman at the well in John chapter four. So if Jesus is going to have a moment of awkwardness in his conversation in trying to reach a soul, we are too it’s okay. But we push through it. That’s where the gifts of the spirit came through. Go tell your husband, well, I don’t have a husband. You’re right. In fact, the man you live with is not your husband. And you’ve had five husbands. He had a word of knowledge in that nanosecond. But my point in that story is it’s okay to feel awkward. You know, some people are this far from Christ and you may not win him to Christ, but you may bring, ’em a step closer to Christ. You may bring ’em two steps closer to Christ, or you may be the person that actually gets to reap the harvest of somebody’s prayer of somebody’s seed sewing, and you get to be the one to lead them to Jesus.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (10:12):
I think having this perspective is, is really valuable and help helps people to avoid the trap of discouragement, because you’re not necessarily the one who’s gonna bring everyone to Christ, but you can bring everyone a little bit closer to Christ and advertisers know that it takes about seven positive contacts with a new product before someone is even willing to try out the product. And so people need at least seven positive contacts with a on fire believer, telling them about Jesus before they might be ready to receive Christ. And so our job as evangelists is to sow seeds. We don’t always reap a harvest, but every single day we can be sowing seeds.
Gary Grogan (10:57):
One of the things I teach it takes seven to 10 contacts for a person to really make a commitment to Christ. It’s very common, fuller, theological seminary has done tons of interviews about this over the decades. And that’s what they say, seven to 10 contacts. So here’s the first person I ever led to Jesus. I can’t remember if I was 14 or 15. It was the summer in between my freshman and sophomore year in high school. And my birthday is July 23rd. So I might have been 14 into my 14th year, beginning of my 15th year, but I was just a kid, a teenager. You don’t have to be a theologian to win somebody to the Lord. Solomon said in Proverbs 1130, he, that wins souls is wise. If you wanna be known for something noble, if you wanna leave a legacy, be a soul winner, lead people to Jesus. Our pastor, as I said earlier in the podcast, if you’re just tuning in taught me as a, as a teenager, how to witness. So we would practice on each other in Sunday school and youth group. And I would be the person witnessing and you would be the person listening. And I would go through the whole thing. And I would say, do you wanna receive Jesus? And you’d say no.
Gary Grogan (12:24):
So I’d have to figure out what to say. And then it’d be your turn to practice on me. And I would say, well, maybe yeah, tell me more. So one Saturday, he took us to a little town in what we call the Midwest here in the United States. And we just thought we were going on a youth trip with the youth group, cuz he used to do that with us. And we loaded into some vans or a bus. I don’t remember exactly. And we went into this little church and they had mapped out the city and they gave us a partner. And so I went with a guy named Steve and the first door I knocked on, I was so nervous. His name is Steve, my name’s Gary. And I said, hi, my name’s Steve. This is my friend, Gary. We started laughing. You forgot your own name.
Gary Grogan (13:17):
I forgot my own name. And the lady slammed the door in our face and I’m like, Hey, I blew that one, man. I’ll do better next time. So the next door we went to, hi my name’s Gary. This is my friend Steve and our approach. Wasn’t very good. And I said, we’re out around the neighborhood talking to people about God. I’d like to talk to you about God. She goes, yeah, come on in. She had us reading out of the new world translation, which in particular, the new Testament is very inaccurate by dishonest so-called Greek scholars. It’s actually the Bible that the Jehovah witnesses use. And she’s in revelation talking about the 144,000. I’m like, I don’t know, maybe you’re right and I’m wrong. I mean, my pastor talked me into coming out here and I was so confused. We went back to that church for a late lunch and some of my friends that I’d gone to youth camp with convention, with revivals rallies, wonderful church services, they had led their first soul to Christ and there was a fire in them that I’d never seen before.
Gary Grogan (14:29):
And Steve and I wanted that and Steve said, let’s fast lunch. Well for a 14, 15 year old, a 13, 14 year old, he was a year younger than me to fast lunch dude. That was a big thing, man. Yeah, but we did Jesus. We wanna win a soul to you. I would encourage you to ask the Lord, Lord help me to be a witness today. I did it this morning in my devotions. And I’ve already been able to share with somebody here, even though I’m at a Christian conference, help me to witness to somebody. Lord help me to thank
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (15:04):
God. There’s at least one Christian here. That’s willing to witness to other people.
Gary Grogan (15:08):
Well, hallelujah. So you know, you pray, pray, prayer care share approach. So we skipped lunch. We prayed, we fasted, we went to a little trailer court in this little town of Rushville, Illinois, right by the Illinois river in the Midwestern part of the United States. And we’re knocking on trail our doors. It was my turn to talk. This is a true story. Knocked on the door. I said, hi, my name’s Gary. This is my friend, Steve. We are out around the neighborhood talking to people about God. We’d like to talk to you. The guy that answered the door, he goes just a minute. And he came back with a revolver, a pistol, a gun. He said, sit down here on the front step boys. It was warm time of the year. I don’t, it was summer. And I’m like coming home, coming home, never or more to Rome.
Gary Grogan (16:15):
I wasn’t really too worried because the cylinder was not in the pistol. But then he pulled the cylinder out of his pocket and he put it in the gun. And he said, boys, see that mirror in there on the wall said, yes, sir. He said, I’ve been standing in front of that mirror for 30, 45 minutes. I don’t know how long our child died. In what we used to call crib death. My wife couldn’t handle it. Had a nervous breakdown. She’s in a psych ward, in a nearby hospital, in a larger city. The transmission fell out of my car. I haven’t been able to get to work. I’ve lost my job. They’re going to reap the bank’s going to reposess my trailer that I live in, my relatives have helped me all that they can help me. And I’ve been standing in front of that mirror, boys. I don’t know, 30, 45 minutes with that gun up to my head, ready to take my life. And I said seconds before you knocked on the door. God, if there is a God, send somebody here to talk to me about you
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (17:25):
And you knocked on the door. 14, 15 years old teenager sent by God to help rescue this man.
Gary Grogan (17:33):
Hi, my name Gary. This is my friend, Steve we’re out around the neighborhood talking to people about God. We’d like to talk. The very thing that he had just prayed brother king. The very thing that he had just prayed. I said, gimme the gun. And I used my little new Testament and I let him through what we call the Romans road. All of Sinon come short of the glory of God. But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. Our Lord, to as many as received him, he gives the power, the authority, the he to become the sons of God. I led him in the longest what we call sinners, prayer and history. I mean, I was so excited that I was leading somebody to Jesus. I had him make all kind of commitments to the Lord in his prayer. He didn’t even know what I was talking about, but he knew that God had heard his prayer, that Anne served the Lord in a church in Rushville, Illinois, for years and years and years.
Gary Grogan (18:34):
And every Christmas I would get a card from him. He’s gone on home to be with the Lord. Now that experience changed my life. And I knew from that point to this, it didn’t matter what I did in life. I wanted be a soul winner. I wanted to introduce people to the person and work of Jesus Christ. That’s what evangelism, that’s what soul winning. That’s what witnessing is all about. Now. The evangelist is part of the fivefold ministry, Ascension gifts of Christ in Ephesians chapter four and a true evangelist missionary evangelist. Like this one knows how to equip us, equip the body of Christ. If you go to his website, you can look at all of his materials that he’s prepared as an equipping evangelist to teach you. And I how to share our faith in Jesus prayer care share approach. So I, I don’t want to be critical of any part of the body of Christ.
Gary Grogan (19:38):
I love the body of Christ. I preach in every kind of church you can imagine. I used to do teens encounter Christ tech rallies for the Catholic church, way back in CA at charismatic renewal days, I’ve done holy spirit things for the Methodist church all over the Midwest and had some wonderful experiences was in a Methodist church, not too long ago, about 40 people got holy spirit baptized. It was awesome. Prayer meeting at the end of the service was just amazing. Mainly young people responding, but evangelicalism we’re part of the charismatic Pentecostal part of evangelicalism. They have taught the gift of evangelism. I just don’t see it in scripture. I see the gift of an evangelist and Ascension gift of Christ. I believe every healthy sheep reproduces sheep. So yes, there are some people that are perhaps more gregarious in their personality, a type, a personality. If you’re into the Igram, some of you know what I’m talking about, a type eight, but I just don’t see the gift of evangelism. That’s what the evangelical church teaches. They literally teach people only 5% of a church has the gift of evangelism,
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (21:04):
Which is sad because if only 5% are actively doing evangelism, the church is not growing very fast. We need everyone in the church out there telling people about Jesus, even if they might be introverted in their nature.
Gary Grogan (21:20):
Yes. You know, God uses introverts. I mean, there’s a lot of books out on that. Now. Some of the most successful pastors I know would be introverted in their personality. I think it’s sinful to use our personality types to hide behind. If we’re an extreme extrovert type, a personality, I don’t believe that gives you an excuse to be obnoxious and rude and plow over people, run over people. If you’re an extreme introvert, I don’t believe that gives you an excuse to hide behind your personality, to not engage with people. The holy spirit leads us, guides us direct us. The father sent the son, the son sent the spirit. This is the responsibility of the holy spirit to lead guide, teach and direct to, to transform, to make the love of the father, the heart of the father, real the forgiveness of the son, real and to help us do what we cannot do in our own strength.
Gary Grogan (22:21):
It’s we call it the anointing, you know Hebrews one eight, the, the Lord anointed Jesus with the oil of gladness. I love the king James here above all of his fellows because he loved righteousness and hated iniquity. That’s the secret to the anointing. We love righteousness. We want to live for the Lord. We want to win souls and we hate iniquity. We don’t want to go way of the flesh. We want to go the way of the spirit, which is soul winning. So anyhow, his arms getting tired. You know, I love what you’re doing. I love the fact that you have a heart for missions. You have a heart for evangelism. You are called to be an evangelist. One of the fivefold. I think every evangelist needs to have the understanding of a pastor and every pastor needs to have the understanding of an evangelist and we need to work together. So let’s get people to come to Jesus. That’s what I say. And you can do it. You can do it. It doesn’t matter. Your personality temperament type. The first evangelist in the new Testament was not Philip. It was the woman at the, the, well in John chapter four Jesus through personal evangelism and a word of knowledge, a gift to the holy spirit won her. And she went back and said, Hey, come and see this man that he told me everything I’ve ever done.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (23:54):
And the whole village came, the
Gary Grogan (23:56):
Whole village came. So I, I mean, some of the most awesome soul winners, I know are contemplative, quiet thinking people. So anyhow, I don’t know if your, your viewers send you emails and stuff like that, but if they wanted to contact me, they could do that.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (24:16):
What would be a good way to get in touch with you? If someone wanted to learn more about evangelism,
Gary Grogan (24:22):
My Facebook page is full, but you can to my public Facebook page, Gary Grogan, G a R Y G R O G a N. Or you can go to my Twitter at Papa Grogan, or you can go to my Instagram, Papa underscore Grogan, G R O G a N, my primary gifting, spiritual fathering. It’s my job to come alongside the younger generation and encourage you to fulfill what God’s called you to do. So my passion is the emergent up and coming, developing generation of local church workers and min. That’s what I’m giving the last third, third of my life to, to set alongside you and encourage you. That’s it? I don’t need anymore opportunities, but the next generation I can open up doors of opportunities for them. That’s my primary calling. That’s what I love doing. Paul said you have many teachers, but few fathers. So that’s probably the easiest way initially to get in touch with me. And then of course they can find me on messenger and send me a message. And usually I get back to people within 24 hours. You know, if I’m in a conference like this, you get pretty busy. And we’re actually in Jacksonville, Florida in the Southeastern part of the United States. And it’s a winter time in the Midwest. So I’m really happy to be here. That’s why I’m wearing this wild shirt, cuz I can’t wear it right now in the Midwest.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (26:02):
Well, I’ve heard several people call you Papaji, Papa, Gary. And so thank for mentoring and fathering young ministers in the faith that’s so needed and so valuable. And thank you Papaji for being on the evangelism podcast.
Gary Grogan (26:19):
Thank you so much. I never gave myself that nickname. You guys did. Your generation gave me that and I, I really love it. It really, I wouldn’t be where I am today. If it wasn’t for generations who had gone before me, that invested in my life. And now it’s my turn. So you, you know, I’d say if you’re my age, if you’re a baby boomer, okay, I’m all for retirement, but you can’t just sit on the beach forever. You, you, you can’t just fish every day. You have lots of wisdom, lots of experience. And especially these gen Zers, they want to hear from you, but let’s not throw the millennials under the bus. Either. God is not done with any generation. He still calls people every generation to serve him and to be a witness. And so that’s, you know what I’m all about?
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (27:11):
Well, thank you,
Gary Grogan (27:13):
God bless you.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (27:15):
Thanks so much for listening to the evangelism podcast. I am excited about telling people about Jesus and we could not preach the gospel without your help. Over our years of ministry, we found that we’re able to reach one person for Jesus, for every dollar that people give us. And so that means that if you would give us $1, we could start a party in heaven. In fact, I’m asking people to a join our partnership program and give at least $1 every single month to help us to lead more people to Jesus. This is the greatest investment of your dollar that you can make. It’s the only investment that’s gonna matter 10,000 years from now. So if you would like to help us lead people to Jesus, please visit king ministries.com K I N G king ministries.com and help us lead people to Jesus today. God bless you
Evangelism Podcast Host (28:16):
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.