For the past weeks (maybe months) I have been focusing on providing reviews of books dealing with the topic of evangelism (see here, here, and here for examples). As I have previously explained this is because of my own wrestling with the subject and desire to be faithful to the Lord’s command(s) in Matthew 28:18-20. Therefore, what I want to do this week is less of a review and more of a recommendation or even commendation. I want to provide a profile of sorts of someone who displays the desire, dedication, and doggedness of a faithful Christian in the area of evangelizing the lost. I want to introduce you to a friend of mine named Steve Cha and I want to do so by recommending his book to you. (Note: I will admit that the copy of the book I read was a gift from Steve. However, the book was not given for the purpose of being reviewed nor did Steve ask that it be reviewed in this or any forum by me.)
Steve is currently a student at The Master’s Seminary where he is pursuing his Masters of Divinity, but that was not always the case. Steve started out his adult, professional life in the television and movie industry working as an extra. These experiences are the backbone of his story as told in his first foray into the publishing world, Hollywood Mission: Possible.
As is common among autobiographical books, Steve provides some background information on himself in the opening chapters. This introduction to himself includes his early realized desires to be in the entertainment industry, the struggles he faced as a high school student in a church youth group, and the transition into working as an extra in Hollywood. Steve sets the stage in these early chapters as to the honesty and rawness with which he intends to tell his story. He does well at not painting himself as the hero or martyr of every encounter, instead he strives to recount each opportunity as what it is – a chance for someone who is lost to hear the Gospel, to repent and to place their faith in Christ (Matthew 4:17; Acts 2:38; Romans 10:9).
One might expect that since Steve’s primary employment in Hollywood was as an extra that the encounters he records would primarily be among folks that could have just as easily been evangelized at the train station, the mall, or some other public place and to some extent that is the case. However, Steve also includes instances when he took a chance and the Gospel to folks whose names you will surely recognize should you read this book. It is in these instances especially that Steve provides the reader with insight on the struggles of a Christian who desires to be obedient in evangelizing while being burdened with a fear of man. It is likewise through the sharing of these situations that I believe the greatest triumph of the story is revealed. The triumph of one man overcoming of his fear as he realizes that if he trusts in the Lord for salvation, then he can, even must trust Him in every situation to include evangelizing the lost people he encounters. However, if you are looking for a book on evangelism filled with success stories then you may want to look elsewhere, depending on how you define success.
What I mean by that last comment is that Steve doesn’t pack his book full of episodes of him sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and people getting immediately saved. Instead he provides a raw and realistic view of what it’s like in the trenches of cold contact evangelism. What this means is that many of the encounters end with him being ridiculed, yelled at, insulted, demeaned and dismissed as a fool. On the other hand, sometimes it means follow-up conversations and future meetings where God’s grace in saving the lost is put on display. But in same way that Steve is able to defeat his fear, he is able to persevere in the face of what the world would view as failure – that way is through the strength provided by Christ in salvation. The success Steve enjoys is likewise found in his proper understanding of his responsibility, his role in evangelism. Steve demonstrates time and again that he is NOT responsible for the salvation of anyone, but that he IS responsible to tell everyone he is able of their need of a Saviour, as well as who that Saviour is – Jesus Christ.
It was Steve’s sharing of these individual dramas which served to encourage me in an area I strive daily to improve – reaching the lost. It was through his doggedness that I was reminded that like himself, I can save not one, but that I have a responsibility to proclaim Christ And Him crucified (1 Corinthians 1:23) to any and all that I meet. And this is why I wanted to share Steve’s story with all of you, I shouldn’t want to be the only one to benefit from this man’s example.
As a final recommendation of this book I want to leave you with the words of Jesse Johnson. Jesse is the Lead Teaching Pastor of Immanuel Bible Church, contributor to the popular evangelical blog The Cripplegate, and former Professor of Evangelism at The Master’s Seminary:
You may not agree with Steve’s methods, but this book will motivate you to be a more passionate evangelist. Hollywood Mission: Possible is a fast-moving look at Cha’s life, as well as his approach to evangelism, but ultimately it ends up making the reader ask this question: ‘Am I doing All I can to reach the lost?’
Last of all, if you want to know more about Steve and his ministry, please visit his personal website. And if you have a minute leave a comment, a question, or just some good old fashioned encouragement for this faithful brother. I am sure he could use it and would appreciate it.