A New Life Seminar: Evangelism & The Foundations of Discipleship

A New Life Seminar: Evangelism & The Foundations of Discipleship

“A loving God sent His Son into the world to bring you a new and abundant life.”

I spent the morning putting together copies of Jack Miller’s out-of-print “A New Life” booklet for next week’s seminar at Faith OPC in Long Beach, California.

William (Bill) Viss knew Jack Miller since their days together in San Francisco in the 1950s. In the late 70’s, Viss served on staff at New Life Church in Pennsylvania. Among other key roles, Viss developed and taught the semester-long “Evangelism Track” with Jack in New Life’s Leadership Training Series. The course syllabus was titled “Evangelism and the Foundations of Discipleship.”

In a 2016 interview, Viss reflected on a conversation he had with Jack Miller about The Evangelism Track’s removal from The Leadership Training Series and the emergence of The Sonship Course apart from the other tracks. Viss explained, “After some years when I was no longer involved, [the other tracks of The Leadership Training Series] was becoming The Sonship Course. I remember … being a bit distressed by the fact that The Evangelism Track had dropped out of Leadership Training, which surprised me to no end. I’m thinking Jack must have gone to another planet. How would he have ever let [something so important to him] go? But I don’t know the answer to that.”

Jack also expressed his concerns to leaders at New Life Church and World Harvest Mission about The Sonship Course (earlier known as The Discipleship Track) separating from The Evangelism Track and the other tracks in The Leadership Training Series—namely Group Prayer and Teams.

In the late 1980s, Jack would write “An Overview of A New Life” to re-explain his original purpose for writing and vision for using “A New Life” booklet. Since in Jack’s view evangelism is foundational to discipleship as justification is foundational to sanctification, Jack aimed to equip every member and leader to share their faith clearly and effectively—with one another and other Christians and nonChristians outside the church.

Over time, Jack’s “A New Life” booklet has unfortunately been conflated with other evangelism tracts—often seen as an outdated approach to evangelism generally frowned upon today.

However, Jack referred to “A New Life” booklet as a “pictorial catechism on evangelism.”

I’m looking forward to my time next weekend to talk about Jack’s purpose for “A New Life” booklet and vision for evangelism and the foundations of discipleship.

Attached is a PDF of A New Life (used by permission). Sorry I’m not better at computer graphics, but it will do for those who’ve been asking me where they can obtain a copy of the out-of-print booklet.

The content of the booklet without pictures can also be found in the appendix sections of A Faith Worth Sharing and Powerful Evangelism for the Powerless.

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