Does Bible prophecy still work for evangelism?

Larry WitzelEvangelism Practices

One of the great disconnects in the Adventist church in North America is that many members have a distaste for Bible prophecy—even though it was likely Bible prophecy that led their parents and grandparents to join the church in the first place.

When SermonView started doing evangelism marketing all those years ago, we wanted to create beautiful designs that talked about Jesus and hope. I really like some of our early work. But there was one problem: it wasn’t effective.

Since then, we’ve learned a lot of lessons, and here’s one of the most important ones: people today are interested in Bible prophecy like never before—and many will come to a prophecy seminar.

I recently ran across an article from Dr. Hal Seed, senior pastor of a non-denominational church in Southern California, who believes preachers should regularly cover the prophetic books. He may not be an Adventist, but he offers three great reasons for preaching Bible prophecy:1

  1. People are curious about prophecy. Dr. Seed wrote, “Ask any small group what they’d like to study next, and a substantial number of them will say, ‘Either Revelation or Daniel.'” When he did a 10 week series on Daniel, attendance grew 17%.
  2. People need help understanding Bible prophecy. “I have years of formal education in Biblical Studies,” he says, “yet I still find myself consulting commentaries every time I open apocalyptic literature.” If pastors need help understanding prophecy, how much more does the average lay person. And among people who are biblically illiterate, a class or seminar may be the only way they’ll even attempt reading prophetic books of the Bible.
  3. People need assurance about the future. We live in a world filled with chaos, and fear of the future is at an all time high. Prophecy speaks to our present condition, while offering hope for a better tomorrow.

We’ve been running the numbers, and I can tell you definitively from our experience that nothing draws people to an evangelistic series like a well-crafted handbill focused on Bible prophecy.

One of my favorite testimonials comes from my friend Cecille, a woman who joined our church a few years ago. This pretty much sums up why Bible prophecy can be such a powerful tool for evangelism:

“I’ve always gone to church since I was young, and in all my life, I’d never heard the Book of Revelation explained. This seminar answered all my questions, plus more questions I didn’t even know I had. I have hope now, because I know the end of the story.”

For many years, I was one of those Adventists who didn’t believe we should use prophecy for evangelism. In fact, back then it bothered me that the first sermon in the New Beginnings series was from Daniel 2. If you had told me 15 years ago that I would be writing a post like this one, I would have laughed at you.

But my mind has been changed by the thousands of people that I’ve seen respond to the relevant message of hope that can only be found in Bible prophecy. And it doesn’t really matter what we think as church members. What matters is the needs of those we are trying to reach—and prophecy draws many of them in.

So don’t dismiss Bible prophecy as irrelevant to the unchurched. We’ve seen crowds respond to evanglism marketing promoting a Bible prophecy series, and you can too.