The Power of One-on-One and Thoughts on “Natural-Born Evangelists”

My friend Jim Stump has a new book out, released earlier this year, called The Power of One-on-One: Discovering the Joy and Satisfaction of Mentoring Others:

The Power of One-on-OneWhen Jesus walked the earth, he focused his energies not on filling stadiums but on twelve handpicked disciples whom he mentored and equipped to carry our ministries of their own. For the past forty years, Jim Stump could often be found sitting in a cafe on the Stanford University campus, chatting with some of the most talented athletes in the world, getting to know them, walking with them, sharing his life with them, and loving them. He understands that the best way to have an eternal impact on the world is to develop deep and meaningful relationships with a handful of people.

With engaging personal stories and examples from the life of Jesus, Jim Stump shows you how to develop rich mentoring relationships with the people in your life, providing simple steps toward sharing faith and life with those you care about.

Jim Stump is the real deal. I love who he is and what he does. Jim’s brother John is a friend, and John’s son Dan, Jim’s nephew, married my daughter Angela. I couldn’t be happier to have grandsons with the last name Stump. Jim and I don’t exchange Christmas gifts (you first, Jim), but I hear great reports about him at family gatherings.

Years ago, when I first spent time with Jim, I was struck with his genuineness. He’s all about Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, who alone can draw hearts to God.

I’ve read books about evangelism that credit a technique. Jim credits the gospel and the power of God. It’s a relief to know the work of salvation can’t be done by us. We’re “just” the messengers . . . but what a job!

I appreciate how Jim models loving people and investing in them. He doesn’t want them just to go through the motions, but to follow Christ with abandonment for a lifetime. And he’s there to help them do just that.

Jim StumpWhen it comes to sharing the gospel, Jim seems to be a natural. But this kind of “natural” is not like a fish swimming. It’s like a veteran tennis player swinging a racquet. A fish may be born swimming, but a tennis player wasn’t born holding a racquet. He was coached and corrected, and he worked hard to achieve that “natural” swing. I was encouraged to learn it was once difficult for Jim to share his faith!

I coached high school tennis for ten years. Coaches tell players to do seemingly unnatural things. Some players quickly conclude, “This doesn’t work,” and go back to their old habits. But unless they’re willing to work on the skills coaches offer, they won’t be great tennis players. It’s those willing to learn who receive huge payoffs.

Raised in an unbelieving home, I vividly remember coming to Christ as a teenager. I’ve had many experiences of sharing Jesus with people at schools, on planes, and on tennis courts. Some friends think I’m a natural-born evangelist. But I’m not! I find the hardest thing is choosing to open my mouth. Once I do, the Lord graciously gives me the words. Sharing my faith isn’t as “natural” for me as for Jim Stump, but it’s far more natural than it once was. For that I thank God.

I found The Power of One-on-One to be clear, direct, and refreshing. Reading it made me eager to be more intentional about sharing my faith and mentoring others.

Everyone we meet has exactly the same need—to know and follow Jesus Christ. He did the hard work of redemption. He calls us to do our part, one-on-one, sharing the Good News with those who desperately need him and helping them grow.

I enthusiastically encourage you to read Jim’s book. I guarantee it’s worth it!


photo credit

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries