Christ's Ambassadors
Equipping the Saints

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Reprinted from THE CHRISTIAN chronicle                         Vol 56 / No. 5 / May 1999


How Christ’s Ambassadors uses a comprehensive training program to teach churches how to evangelize and incorporate new Christians

Christ’s Ambassadors

In 1987 Don Calhoun sold his packaging equipment business and began teaching church members “not just to evangelize, but how to evangelize,” he says.

At the core of his approach is materials developed by the late Chuck Thyne, domestic missionary sponsored by the Airport Freeway church, Euless, Texas.

 Airport Freeway oversees Christ’s Ambassadors, the ministry resulting from Calhoun’s efforts. This comprehensive evangelistic approach uses a non-confrontational method of Bible study that stresses practical ways to integrate Christians into a local congregation.

Calhoun’s journey

Calhoun’s journey began in 1986 when as “deacon of evangelism” he realized his congregation wasn’t doing enough to reach non-Christians. He investigated various evangelism methods, but couldn’t find anything that seemed to be a good fit for his dream. When he saw Thyne’s approach, he says he “fell in love with the material.” He explains the method uses discovery learning, which is “student-centered, not teacher-centered. The student learns about Christ by reading the Bible and answering the questions. The teacher is not allowed to tell the students anything that they can learn for themselves.”

              After Thyne died of cancer, Airport Freeway obtained the copyright to the materials. Thyne had called the series “Fishers of Men.”

             His method taught a small group of members in a congregation how to teach home Bible studies. Calhoun expanded on that concept, incorporating materials to teach members to work together as a team, no matter how large or small the congregation, and to help members discover and use their talents.

             Also a key principle, he says, is to “reach out to people you know,” whether a relative, friend, co-worker or casual acquaintance.
             In 1992, Calhoun went full-time, with three congregations providing the bulk of his support.

The program

             The Christ’s Ambassadors program he developed includes:

    “An 11-week “Equipping the Saints” course which teaches church members basic Bible knowledge and a method for reaching and teaching the unchurched. The course uses a 456-page book with Scriptures teaching Bible basics and with information on evangelistic strategies, including “How to talk to people about God,” “How not to be offensive,” and “How to control the conversation”.

 •    A weekend “Quest for Truth” seminar draws participants from congregations in a local area. The seminar is designed to spark interest in the method and give people the most basic tools they need to talk to others. It uses a 60-page notebook which includes instruction on interesting someone in studying the Bible and on teaching a home Bible study.

When the participants return to their home congregations, some will want to host or take the 11-week class, either by contacting a certified Christ’s Ambassadors instructor or by using a videotaped series to learn the material and do the assigned homework.

As of now, 239 instructors in five countries have been trained, and plans are for Calhoun to travel to Jamaica this summer to teach and certify additional instructors.

In 1987, those Calhoun had trained baptized at least 257 people. Since then, those using the approach have baptized more than 6,000 people. More than 12,000 people have taken the Christ’s Ambassadors class.
Bible study the key

Why has Christ’s Ambassadors been successful? The key Calhoun says is that it involves people in Bible study. He explains, “ If you get someone to study, not just read or listen to the Bible, for an average of one hour a day for ten weeks, God will change them. It becomes a lifestyle, not an 11-week program. The idea is to create good habits in Bible study and enrich the individual’s life. We want it to be something they enjoy for the rest of their lives.”



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