Author Feature: Matt Brown

June 17, 2011

What’s up, everyone?

I’ve got a special feature for you today.  A while back, a handsome friend gave me two copies of a book I had never heard of,Revolutionaries, by a guy I had never heard of, Matt Brown.  It turns out, the book blew me away.  It’s a collection of stories of the most shock and awe inspiring Christians in history.  And it turns out that Matt lives up to his name by being incredibly awesome.  He’s a big time evangelist traveling across the country, and you’ll want to see what we talked about.

I’m giving away these two copies of the book too…reluctantly.  I wish I got to keep one.

First of all, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your ministry?

My wife Michelle and I have been traveling and speaking evangelists for eight years. We worked for Franklin Graham for part of that time, and now we speak once or twice a week at churches and outreach events.  A few years ago I started blogging about evangelism.

Okay, about the book.  To me, it’s a bit like a mini version of “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs,” except not so gruesome.  What value do you hope the book gives to readers?

I worked on Revolutionaries for about five years.  I read a hundred biographies and Church history books as part of my research and ended up sharing short stories of fifty-five evangelistic people in Church history.

Many Church histories have gaps of up to 1,000 years. Revolutionaries covers every century since Christ and shows how we went from 0 to 2 billion people.

What makes someone a “revolutionary?”

I decided on that term for one reason: the revolutionary impact these Christians had on their societies. Many people don’t realize that Ireland used to be cannibalistic, Germany worshipped idols, and England has a long history of barbaric civil wars. Much of the good in the world today resulted from revolutionaries who carried the light of Christ in much starker times.

Most people don’t think of themselves or their opportunities as extraordinary.  Can an ordinary person be a “revolutionary,” even if there won’t be a book written about them?

“Revolutionary” doesn’t mean something extraordinary.  “Revolutionary” best explained the phenomenon of the Gospel being preached and transforming cultures. God has a long history of using the insignificant.

The truth is God does most of His work through un-trumpeted workers.  My hope is that after reading the book, people will begin to see how big their God is and how much he thrives in working out the impossible and improbable. Just look around and ask God how you can serve. You’ll be surprised at how He uses you.

The vast majority of the “revolutionaries” are called “evangelists” in your book.  Many people want to be “revolutionaries,” but are scared to be “evangelists.”  It conjures ideas of street preaching and door-to-door witnessing, and other frightening things. How can a person be a “revolutionary” who’s scared to be an evangelist?

There is no underestimating the power of leading one person to faith in Jesus Christ. I have a relative who shared her faith in Christ with a lady in the parking lot of a grocery store at three in the morning eleven years ago.  That woman left a life of pain, abuse and addiction, joined a local church and has now written a book about the change Jesus brought to her. She has shared her story on many Christian TV networks as well as Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network. She shared the Gospel with Oprah’s best friend, Gayle King, over the air!

It’s okay to be afraid to share our faith. Even the godly church leader Ananias seemed afraid in Acts 9:10-16. What’s not okay is letting fear stop us from obedience to God’s call to share his message with those around us.

Most people don’t come to the Lord because some street preacher convinced them the end is near. The majority of us come to the Lord because our friends or family cared enough to share the truth of Christ or brought us to a place where we heard.

Any of us can be revolutionary.  Even more importantly, to live a life that looks increasingly like Christ and to spend our lives serving those around us paints a beautiful portrait of the salty Gospel that causes people to thirst for more of what we have found in Christ.

How does someone get started being a revolutionary?

Dawson Trotmann, founder of the Navigators said, “Soulwinners are not soulwinners because of what they know, but because of the Person they know…”

Time with the Lord in prayer, growing obedience to the Scriptures and community with believers is where all the fruits of the Christian life spring from. Two keys to effective evangelism are having God’s heart for those without Christ and learning to be led by the Holy Spirit in our witness. Both of these spring from prayer.

Thanks, Matt!  Okay, you all know the drill.  Just leave a comment below to enter to win a free copy of Revolutionaries, or check out the book here and Matt’s blog here. I promise you will not regret it.  Heck, I’ll throw in a couple of Church of No People stickers too!  Tell us: do you think you are an evangelist, or does the word itself scare you?  Who is your most inspiring “revolutionary?”

26 responses to Author Feature: Matt Brown

  1. I am in. I love the testimonies of Christians from any generation. I like that, I am in because of who I know! Thanks, gentlemen.
    David recently posted..Talking Like Bible Experts – Stupid Things Christians Do Part 4

  2. You think I am handsome? Thanks Matt!!
    Darrell recently posted..Worst Advise On Becoming A Pro-Blogger

  3. I do love me some stories of the faithful, and I love the idea of talking about it as revolutionaries- society-changers rather than in terms of evangelizing or focusing only on souls. Our faith can change people’s lives here and now, not just in some after-death fate. We don’t spend nearly enough time talking about that, even though it’s all Jesus talked about.
    Layne recently posted..#trust30 Day 17: Invent the Future

  4. Sounds like a great book. Would love to win a copy.
    Ben Wiggins recently posted..Review of “The Next Christians”

  5. There is no underestimating the power of leading one person to faith in Jesus Christ.

    I loved what Matt said here, people would be much more effective in evangelism if we really believed it would work.

    I love reading testimonies about the faith of others and the impact they’ve had. I would love to be counted in the draw.
    Andrea York recently posted..5 Ways my Dad Taught Me About my Father

  6. The word doesn’t scare me, although my approach to evangelism has changed the more I’ve grown in my faith. I used to do the hit-them-with-a-track-as-they-pass-you-by-on-the-street approach. Now I focus a lot more on building friends in which I genuinely love them and hope they come to Christ through that. But I never, ever, build a friendship for the sole purpose of evangelism, because that feels more like manipulation than preaching Jesus-Love.

    I don’t yet have a revolutionary, though, but I hope that doesn’t disqualify me from the drawing! :)

  7. I find it hardest to share with the people I am closest to, such as my family, because I considered myself an agnostic for so long. But I am so thankful for my husband, who brought me to his church when we first started dating. He wasn’t afraid to share.
    Ashley recently posted..Don’t get Gipped on Your Wedding Day

  8. I try not to think of myself as an evangelist, but not out of fear. I don’t think the term is relational enough for me. I prefer to think of myself as an embedded representative of the Kingdom of God. I carry the truth, life, and restoration of the Kingdom with me wherever I go, and I get to connect others to it through relationships. Jesus was an incredibly subversive revolutionary. I want to be like that.

    As for my favorite revolutionary, I will have to read the book to decide that 😉 This post did remind me of a story I heard when I was in Paris last summer. Montmartre (the hill north of the city where the famous Basilica of Sacré Coeur is found) was actually named “Mount of Martyrs” because this is where the indigenous folks would kill missionaries. The story of Saint Denis says that he was decapitated here for spreading the gospel, but he didn’t die. Instead, he stood up, picked up his head, and carried it 6 miles to the place where he is now buried, preaching the whole way. Talk about being relentless…
    Jon Fulk recently posted..One reason why the French are NOT as rude as you thought

  9. I am so in!

  10. I live in an area where evangelism is still saturated with the idea of convert and then leave. Or invite them to church to passively listen to someone preach three times a week. This is evangelism without discipleship. So I see starting with relationships as setting a foundation for discipleship. All that to say, yes, I see myself as an evangelist.

  11. A speaker once explained that we don’t necessarily have to move someone from A to Z in their journey toward God. Sometimes, our job is just to help them from M to Q. Looking at it that way is much less overwhelming and scary. I’m thrilled that God has used me in that regard… as part of a team that ended with my friends choosing Jesus.

    I know so many incredible, devoted “revolutionaries” that I’d be hard pressed to pick just one… but I’ll choose my husband, who traded earthly success for obedience, and never looked back.

  12. Wow. Sounds like a great book that I am going to have to read even if I don’t win a free copy. 😉

    Loved the answers he gave to the questions. Multiple things just kind of reached out and grabbed me. I have to admit I am kind of scared of the word evangelist. It is something I should work on.

    Great stuff and I will check out the book one way or another.

  13. The word doesn’t scare me, because I focus on friendship evangelism. That is reaching out to my friends that I already have a relationship with.

  14. Matt A., great Q&A with Matt B.! You really have a gift at cutting to the most interesting aspects of an author’s creation for your readers. As an aside, I was so interested in reading more I went and downloaded the book to my Kindle – it was a steal (Father forgive me) at $2.99! Great stuff!

  15. My favorite revolutionary is my former roommate Karen. She became a believer at the age of 30 while working as a sheriff’s deputy in a prison in California because of a prison Bible study. Within 8 years of that transformation, she was overseas in Iraq, building relationships with our neighbors there, working towards being able to do that for the rest of her life. After being our “security expert” for a few weeks too long (and thereby focusing on all the things happening in Baghdad at the time – i.e., summer of 2003 (Baghdad fell to Coalition forces in April of 2003)), she decided the situation was not safe and moved out to Amman. She spent the next few months scaring our volunteers to death before sending them in to Baghdad where the rest of us remained. But then she slowly conquered her fears to the point that in March of 2004, she moved back. Her first task was to take some future team members around the country to show them the work that was being done in various areas (she was going to basically act as their note taker so that they could focus on understanding, seeing, and doing). On their way from Irbil to Mosul, their vehicle was hit by RPGs and small arms fire, killing Karen and two others instantly, mortally wounding a fourth, and seriously injuring a fifth.

    Sadly, our company saw this as a reason to take a step back from our work, so I wouldn’t say necessarily that she changed the world in that regard…but because of our friends’ deaths, we were able to share with our neighbors and friends in direct ways that would not have been possible otherwise, given the culture and the situation.

    But more importantly, I think the revolution that occurred within Karen was amazing. To go from abjectly afraid (and trying to get others that way too) to completely without fear within a couple of months. And even more to go in just a few years (and as an adult) from a non-believer to someone who dies in a place where she wouldn’t be except for her love for Jesus and those people…..well…that’s amazing to someone like me who grew up in the church.

    And this is totally coincidental, but I just realized that tomorrow would have been her 46th birthday!

    In fact-checking to make sure I had the right birthday, I came across this quote from a letter she left with her pastor (to read in the event of her death) before she went overseas: “To obey was my objective, to suffer was expected, his glory my reward.” Her church shares this letter with its young people, encouraging them to serve (they’ve also named a building after her, I believe).
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  16. You should give me the book, I’m hot.
    😉

  17. i would like to get a copy. i am a team leader for the evangelism outreach at my church. i only have two qualifications for that. fear and much trembling. :)
    virgil recently posted..When Great Work Goes Unsaved

  18. is it wrong to say i’m a reluctant evangelist? i know its my duty and privilege to share the love of God with someone but sometimes its just easier and less “troubling” to not say anything. and then i’m convicted later. o__o

    revolutionaries…hmmm….. i’m really inspired, encouraged, and continually amazed by long-term overseas missionaries, especially those that give up their comfortable western lifestyles to serve in undeveloped nations. i have a cousin serving in nepal who until recently, didn’t have electricity for 14 hours a day. its better than no electricity at all, but it’s still a little sobering to see the willingness to sacrifice something in order to make His name famous.
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  19. When a teenager begins to “get it” and starts becoming a radical servant instead of just another consumer-Christian… That’s when I see one of my favorite evangelists.
    As the eyes of his/her friends and parents grow wide at the changes in their lives…
    There’s scary awesome power in there that’s contagious. I LOVE IT! And it is, dare I say, revolutionary in our modern “what’s in it for me” culture.

    “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” (St. Francis of Assisi)
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  20. Thanks for doing the interview with Matt. Years ago I worked on a recruitment video for Wycliffe Bible Translators and we called it Ordinary People, because it’s really true that God doesn’t need people who are cute or have the “it” factor or who are incredibly talented. He is just looking for yielded lives. Most of the people I know who really impact their lives are just normal people who really know who Jesus is and live their lives in His presence. He’s pretty good about taking care of the details. I am not a street corner evangelist type, but I have opportunites to share with people all the time, including my students here that I teach privately. I think as the world gets darker that people are able to spot real light easier.