HITCHHIKERS’ GUIDE TO EVANGELISM with Bill Tenny-Brittian April 9-12, 2007 Author: Susan Williams Posted: Feb 28 2007 - 10:20 AM Subject: Hitchhikers' Guide - Intro Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent hitchhiked across the galaxy. But most of us on earth are just trying to safely hitch a ride through this journey called life. For faithful disciples of Jesus traveling along the Way, helping Wanderers (aka the “lost”), Nomads (aka uncommitted “Christians”), and Tourists (aka churched “consumers”) find the Way implies engaging the “E” word. For some, Evangelism conjures images of distributing tracts, doing door-to-door “surveys,” or being an obnoxiously aggressive in-your-face “Do you know Jesus?” kind of evangelist. Not so. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Evangelism Coaching Seminar will take a look at spiritual habits of evangelism that are safe enough to take to work…even if you’re a teacher at PS 084 in Brooklyn (or a pastor on Main Street USA). It’s beyond “lifestyle” evangelism. Hitchhiker’s evangelism is intentional, purposeful, and safe enough to share with friends who will still be your friend even after you’ve shared your faith. Author: Bill Tenny-Brittian Posted: Apr 09 2007 - 08:30 AM Subject: Don't Panic! No Vogons in the Vicinity Good Morning (Afternoon/Evening) and welcome to the Hitchhiker's Guide to Evangelism Coaching Seminar. This week, we're going to take a look at user-friendly evangelism methods. I'll share some of what I've learned and I'm hoping that you'll share with us some of what has worked and what hasn't worked for you. During this week, I'll be starting a new thread each day...but feel free to start another if you have a new topic you want to explore. It is helpful for all concerned if you'll keep replies closish to on-topic, if for no other reason than it's easier to figure out what goes with where...so don't be bashful. Start something new! So, with that said... Evangelism is a dying art in the Western Mainline church. I read an article that the United Methodist Church "turned it around" last year and actually grew in numbers. Of course, it turns out that the only reason they "grew" is because the churches on the Southern Hemisphere continents have significantly grown. The question is: Why are churches there growing while churches here in the West are not? There have been lots and lots of theories, but the one that seems to ring the truest is that it's the fault of our democratic-freedom-of-religion-taken-to-its-logical-conclusion culture. And Kantian philosophy is largely to blame. You may remember that a couple hundred years ago, the "scientific method" was well on its way to being codified and someone suggested that since faith and God couldn't be measured, that thre must not really be a God, supernatural, etc. Well, Kant, a Modern Christian wrote a lovely treatise asserting that matters of faith and truth were "above" measurement and beyond the scientific method's reach. As well-intentioned as his words were, however, they managed to be interpreted and applied and widely accepted as "Faith equals Opinion." Nothing more. Nothing less. Skipping over other developments, of which there were several, and we come to today. In the West, where we so heartily embrace "Freedom of Religion," we've taken Kantian "religion equals opinion" and married it to "it's okay for anyone to believe anything (or nothing) and besides, religion is a private and personal matter that shouldn't be any more questioned than someone's preference of vanilla over strawberry ice-cream." And so, because this collective societal belief is just that...a societal belief that has been embraced in virtually every corner of our culture...the Western church has pretty much stopped doing evangelism. Because, let's face it, most of us believe in our hearts that evangelism (aka prosyletizing) impinges on other's rights - specifically the right to beleve anything (or nothing). Evangelism, therefore, has a bad rap. There's just no room for evangelism in a worldview that beleives like that. Indeed, we somehow have deluded ourselves into believing that any other worldview ultimately leads to conversion by the sword. Which, of course, is not what's going on in the Southern Hemisphere...at least, not by the Christians. Instead, they share their faith freely for a number of reasons. First, it makes a difference in their lives. A real difference. And it's not about social lift kind of differences either. Second, it provides hope, a rare and precious commodity in some of those cultures. Third, they don't believe it's okay to believe any-old-thing because they don't believe that any-old-thing will do when it comes to standing before at the final judgment. And fourth, they've seen, felt, experienced, heard about, and believe in the power of God. There are probably another dozen or so differences between why evangelism is so effective there and why it's so limpid here, but that's a brief sketch. The issue is, So What? That's the "cause" of our lack of evangelism, what can be done about it. Well, I'd like to hear from you. If you're DOING evangelism, what motivates you? If you're not, what keeps you from it. Author: Keith Michaels Posted: Apr 09 2007 - 09:59 AM Subject: re: Don't Panic! No Vogons in the Vicinity Good Morning. You are right in saying that evangelizing is infringing upon others rights. However I think there is more to this premise. I generally think that Christian folk are afraid of evangelism because they see the person on the street corner shouting out at them. The perception is that to do evangelism is to beat one another over the head with the Bible. I have been preaching that evangelism is not the street corner evangelist but in fact is the way you interact with one another. Evangelism is a matter of not just talking the talk, but walking the walk. In other words if you proclaim to be a Christian then act like one. This may not be what your asking but I have responded as I read your subject. Keith Michaels Author: Doyll Andrews Posted: Apr 09 2007 - 10:59 AM Subject: re: Don't Panic! No Vogons in the Vicinity The folk who are apart of the congregation I serve have a number of reasons why they have not done evangelism in the past. The freedom of religion is one of the pieces. Another is the misunderstanding of evengelism as a one shot confrontational process. They tend not to like confrontation. And they feel that they do not know enough about the faith to convince anyone to join it. My thrust has been to talk about evengelism as a part of a relationship. If we care about the person and have a relationship with them, it gives us the permission to talk Jesus to them when the time is appropriate. I also tell them that all they have to know and share is what difference Jesus made in their life that connects to what is going on in their friend's life. Tell your story and connect it to your friend's story. Author: Toby Lofton Posted: Apr 09 2007 - 01:56 PM Subject: re: Don't Panic! No Vogons in the Vicinity I hate to go here friends but I shoot very straight. Referenceing Bill T's first post on this thread regarding the difference between Northern Hemisphere (particularly N. America) and Southern Hemisphere (Africa etc.) approach to evangleism; why "we don't" and "they do" I find it comes back to the question of this community: "What is it about your experience with Jesus Christ that the rest of the world cannot live without?" After serving a short 9 years in the UMC and talking with hundreds of wanderers, nomads, etc.. I find that most people simply cannot answer that question. They stare at you like deer in headlights and really have no idea how Jesus Christ has changed their life. Many of them simply know they were raised in the church, confirmed at age 13 because their parents told them to go to the class and everybody was confirmed, but experience...? Sadly, many people can't tell others about Jesus, because they don't know what to tell, because they have nothing to tell. The positive side is that many of these actually do have something to share. They just need another to help them unlock it. I have found after a little listening and coaching they realize they do have something to tell. Then it is amazing to see how easily they share their faith. For me personally, knowing the answer to our key question, before I even knew that question, is what makes sharing faith with others in multiple apporaches so easily done. Christ totally changed my life, giving purpose and meaning, and it is incredible. I love telling the story. Author: Bill Tenny-Brittian Posted: Apr 09 2007 - 03:32 PM Subject: re: re: Don't Panic! No Vogons in the Vicinity Keith, You're right is suggesting there are mulitiple reasons we don't do evangelism. The fact is, Evangelism has become the "Dirty Word" in church. Ask a group of Christians what they think of when they hear the word "Evangelism," you won't hear much positive. From knocking on doors to beating up people with the Bible, evangelism has become a four-letter word. However, the argument that my actions speak so I don't have to is a red herring. Yes, actions speak louder than words. If we're not walking the walk, we need to keep our mouths shut. But we need to put words to our deeds. One of my favorite questions to people who say "I just let my Christian life speak for itself" is: "So, how many people have come up to you and said, 'Your life is so inspiring, can you tell me how to become a Christian?'"? There are a lot of "good, moral" people out there...and sadly, it sometimes seems like the majority of them are not Christian. We're going to have to start "sharing" our faith with words if we're going to turn this Western ship around. Author: Bill Tenny-Brittian Posted: Apr 09 2007 - 03:40 PM Subject: re: re: Don't Panic! No Vogons in the Vicinity Overall I agree with you, Doyll. I've long suggested that we need to have "earned" the right to speak. But I've changed my mind a bit on that recently. For one, that's not a very New Testament way. Second, until we have a HUGE wave of Christians doing evangelism, the Church doesn't have time to wait six months to a couple of years for someone to build relationships enough so they can share their faith. We've got to move past the "I've got to be a friend" to "I've got to be a mentor" and plan on mentoring folks around us intentionally. I'm NOT suggesting cold calling, door knocking, or being an annoying "in your face" kind of confrontational evangelism. But I AM suggesting that we get busy with being intentional about sharing our faith. We need to be teaching our people how to steer conversations to faith matters. It's not really difficult...if we have an overflowing relationship with Jesus. On the other hand, if we don't have a relationship with Jesus worth talking about, well, then we probably have no business doing evangelism anyway. For these the best place to start is back at the basics of seriously practicing some spiritual habits. Author: Bill Tenny-Brittian Posted: Apr 09 2007 - 03:41 PM Subject: re: re: Don't Panic! No Vogons in the Vicinity Like I said re. Doyll's post...you gotta have something to share. Author: Harold Boggs Posted: Apr 09 2007 - 03:52 PM Subject: re: Don't Panic! No Vogons in the Vicinity In Our country, bringing out what is missing in someones life is difficult. So many believe that, in the midst of all they have, they are missing more of the same. I feel an evangelist in america will be wise to use small groups as a major avenue of conversion. I am well versed and at ease talking to strangers/acquintences, and I have come to believe, to my dismay, that words do not work well. Nothing quite speaks to what God is all about like witnessing loving godly relationships in the small group. Words are muted by scepticism, and truth is muted by intelligence. But the actions seem to always get through. We've got ourselves in abind over the course of many decades and it some time to turn the tide. Persistence, perseverance, and patience. Am I the only one that struggles with the "patience" part? Author: Bill Tenny-Brittian Posted: Apr 09 2007 - 04:15 PM Subject: re: re: Don't Panic! No Vogons in the Vicinity Harold, don't get me started on small groups...that's my heart! The question is, how do you get a small group started? I highly recommend reading Gary Poole's book Seeker Small Groups for some really great insights on how to start a small group with unbelievers. However, here's a VERY brief synopsis of what he suggests. 1. Get together a crowd of unbelievers in some neutral setting...like the coffee shop, pub, whatever. 2. Get to know each other a bit and then ask, "If God was sitting here right now and you could ask any question and reasonably expect an answer, what would it be?" 3. Take notes. Who said what? How many expressed interest in the question? 4. On some of the tough questions (like why does God allow young innocents to die?), see if you can find out what's behind the question. Is there a personal story there? It'll give you some context. 5. When the conversation wanes a bit, ask if they'd like to get together again to talk about the questions. Tell them you'll look through the Bible and share with them what it says and then they can discuss it freely and compare it to their own thoughts and experiences. Assure them this isn't going to be a "You gotta believe what I say" event, but a "Here's what the Bible says...what do you think?" 6. If they agree, decide the when, the where, and the how often. 7. Go home and prioritize the list. Decide which questions had the most interest, etc. Then search the scriptures for the answers. Decide before you meet again exactly what truth it is you want to be sure they "get," whether or not they accept it. 8. When you meet again, share the question and use the Socratic method to help them see what you've found (the book does a good job of walking you through this practice). 9. Then let the conversation go. There's no need to defend anything. Let the Bible stand on its own. You may need to look up other related questions while you're there, so be ready, but remember, you're not on trial and there's no need to defend what you've brought. Mostly listen. 10. Meet again and repeat. 11. Ultimately, plan on sharing your faith when the time is right...probably one-on-one. Again, I suggest reading the book. Small groups? You bet. I'm all over that (we just started a new house church in our home last week, so I'm jazzed!). Author: Jay Dozier Posted: Apr 10 2007 - 03:54 PM Subject: Swarm Team Hi Bill, Here's a thread for you: 1. Evangelism is made easy when you have an experience with the Lord that is undeniable. This isn't fair, but it can't be borrowed and made into a cookie cutter. But I heard the Lord once (twice actually). On this one He said, "just love them; bring them to me; I am in your worship; I will do the rest." OK, I can do that. People can tell me that I didn't really hear Jesus speak to me. Fine. They weren't there. 2. Evangelism is made easy when you have an enormous amount of confidence in the worship service you attend. Then you can assume that the Holy Spirit is actually present and active. And then you can assume that the hour (or so) in worship is pretty much the best hour of everyone's week. Then you can assume that the Word will be proclaimed. And you can assume that those who have ears to hear will hear. 3. I think we need to distinguish two types of evangelism: the evangelism that flows out of the person gifted by the Lord in evangelism and evangelism that is a spiritual discipline. Gather the people who have gifts for evangelism and listen to their stories--they're amazing. That isn't to say that people not gifted in evangelism can't participate in evangelism as a spiritual discipline. They can. But what's easy and comfortable for one group won't be easy and comfortable for the second. Author: Bill Tenny-Brittian Posted: Apr 10 2007 - 09:08 PM Subject: re: Swarm Team Jay I can't agree more with points one and two. With that said, let's talk about point three. I know it's a cliche, but it's a cliche for a reason. If Carl or Carol buy a new car that they love, there's no "discipline" involved in telling everyone about it, spiritual or otherwise. Further, there's no spiritual gift of evangelism. There's a church office of evangelist, but that's a vocation, a calling, a speciality. Billy and Frank Graham carry that office. You can name a couple dozen or more current folks who are clearly evangelists. But if we leave evangelism, which is an expected behavior of every Christian, to the dozen or so evangelists, well, we're in a lot of trouble. If evangelism isn't easy and comfortable for a Christian then there's one of two problems going on. (1) They're trying to do evangelism as a program...as an add-on to life...rather than as a life- style. Or (2) They've not had an experience of the Divine such that they were touched, moved, and inspired by the presence of Jesus. In other words, they don't have anything to share. Hopefully those suffering from point one will be taught otherwise, and those suffering from point two will find that touch in worship, in a small group, or in the presence of someone practicing evangelism. Author: Andrew Bear Posted: Apr 11 2007 - 10:29 AM Subject: re: Swarm Team Come on people, I'm trying to have a vacation here in the Chicago area with my folks and siblings. I keep trying to turn the laptop on for just a few minutes and peruse the seminar quickly and not get drawn in. I should have left my laptop back in California, darn it. Jay, I was excited to read your post, particularly the first two points. I've consciously been feeling this myself. For the first time in my life as a pastor, we have a worship service where the spirit is obviously present. I've heard the same thing--"I am here in this worship, just bring people to me and I'll take care of the rest." And I see it happening. We have to work so much harder with worship where the Spirit's presence is not palpable! As for your third point, this is a struggle for me too. I've read some papers on the underground church movement in China, and the cell-based churches in Korea, Columbia, and elsewhere--and what is striking is the evangelism is a part of being a Christian--even more a part of being a Christian than attanding a worship service outside the home. As I work to shape our cell-groups where I'm serving now, this is one of the crucial elements. I remember reading in a Leonard Sweet book that so much of the evangelism training was bogus. He says something like, "When you see a great movie, you tell all your freinds about it--you don't need training or a program to do that." So what's our hang-up? Author: Bill Tenny-Brittian Posted: Apr 09 2007 - 08:57 AM Subject: Chapter 1: Whatever Works This thread is all about what's working in the world of Western Evangelism. Here's where I'll share a bit of what I've learned and I hope to hear a bit about what you've learned. These can be examples of great evangelistic efforts that you or your church has taken on, or simple Ordinary Attempts, borrowing a term from Jim Henderson and www.Off-the-Map.org. This thread is for "Whatever Works." Author: Bill Tenny-Brittian Posted: Apr 09 2007 - 09:10 AM Subject: re: Chapter 1: Whatever Works Just to get the thread started... One of the most important evangelism tips I've ever embraced and offered for clergy is the tip of availability. There's no substitute for being out-and-about with the unchurched, dechurched, and irreligious. Most Christians I know are so thoroughly entrenched in the Christian ghetto that they can't honestly name more than a couple non-Christian acquaintances, let alone claim a single non- Christian friend. (I'm using the word friend here in a manner that means hang-out-and-have-a- beer-every-week, call in the middle of the night for help, kind of friend.) One of the things I teach in small group leadership training is that we all need to have ENOF Friends. We all need an Expanding Network Of Friends. In other words, we need to be meeting more and more people and investing in more and more friends. Yeah, that means we'll have less time for watching Desperate Housewives or the latest ball game. It means we're going to be inconvenienced often...maybe too often. You know what it means to have friends. But it also means, you're going to have increasing opportunities to share your faith. To live your faith. To BE your faith. This is, of course, another pitch to get out of your office and out where the real mission and ministry is going on. But that remains the best advice, the best make-a-difference in people's lives dictum, that I offer pastoral leaders. Author: Doyll Andrews Posted: Apr 09 2007 - 10:45 AM Subject: re: Chapter 1: Whatever Works Great counsel but not easy for me. It is advice I had heard before. So for a long time I went to Starbucks and Borders, where ever I could hang out. I listened to folks and learned a lot. But never made the leap to asking questions and pointing the conversation toward where/if Jesus was in their lives. Until a month or ago Tom Bandy posted his process on the listserve. It turned a light on for me. I can do that. I have been doing that. So I guess for me it isn't so much just being out there where non christians are. It is being there and taking the first and second steps to make friends and ask the questions. Doyll Author: Mark Clark Posted: Apr 09 2007 - 01:24 PM Subject: re: Chapter 1: Whatever Works I was out there as usual doing this today...I get tired easily so ..as usual, I stopped at the New Age Bookstore where I baught my copy of AKempis, "Immitation Of Christ" and sat to rest in one of the Adirondack chairs out front. As is usually the case, it wasn't long before the proprietor came out for a smoke. I sit in the middle chair and he's always kind enough to sit in the downwind chair or stand down wind. We talk as usual about lots of things. Extremely good, deep talk. I confide that I'm getting a ride with the local Methodist pastor to the county seat to apply for welfare...FT and TA. He said, "It's about time!" We talked about how heart-warming it's been connecting with the community here, the help I got through the church...enough kero to not freeze, a check from the member of a church in another part of the state where I interned as a student, how it came in right after learning the difference between "involuntary" and "voluntary" lenten fasting. The key words here, I think are in my first sentence above. "as usual,," Whatever you're doing in "evangelism" is it WOVEN into the fabric of your "usual" day? You're so right. You can't get "ENOF" friends so keep expanding them and the network of them. Mark Author: Toby Lofton Posted: Apr 09 2007 - 02:04 PM Subject: re: Chapter 1: Whatever Works For some time now I have practiced the discipline of availabity in ministry. But, recently, following an on-site consult with Tom, I began moving every team, group, committee (bad- word, I know) to community settings, i.e. resturaunts, coffee shops, etc. Kind of culture shock for the church folks, but even they have enjoyed the transition. More importantly the community has taken note of it and it has really invited and opened much converstaion, which in turn, leads to faith sharing moments. Can't win a community if you isolate yourself from it, that's for sure. Author: Bill Tenny-Brittian Posted: Apr 09 2007 - 04:01 PM Subject: re: Chapter 1: Whatever Works All good posts, thanks guys. But let's expand it. Sure, getting out of the office is good. And it's true, you can't do evangelism well if you're not in the presence of the unchurched. And yes, we need to have something worth saying...a question worth asking...a comment or an invitation that fuels a conversation. So, how are you getting the conversations started? How do YOU steer the conversation to faith? Here are a couple I've used: * (To a waiter/waitress): "We're just about to say grace. Is there anything we could pray about for you?" * When I was planting a church, I'd ask this one regularly: "I'm starting a new church...If you were looking for a church to go to, what would it be like?" * Then there are the myriad folks at Starbucks, the grocery line, etc. who I'll have struck up a conversation with on whatever pretense and sometimes they'll share some need...and I'll just ask if I can pray for them. Again, what are you doing to start the conversation? We'll talk about what we do once we've started the conversation later on this week. Author: Toby Lofton Posted: Apr 10 2007 - 12:34 PM Subject: re: Chapter 1: Whatever Works There are several things that I do. 1. I look for the obvious symbols of God already present, i.e. the waitress wearing a cross necklace (everyone wears one now), a picture on the wall, anything that I can use to say, "So, you a Christian?" Or "Is the owner a religious person?" 2. I've been know to wait til I see the waitress coming to bless the food. That way he/she walks right in on it. Then in the prayer, as if I don't know he/she is there, I give thanks to God for them specifically, by name if I know it or have seen the name tag. I like to do that in hospitals also. 3. I like to pay for complete strangers' food, coffee, book, groceries, or at least part of it, in order to get the "Why did you do that?" or "I got it." response. To which I will respond to the why that someone once did something like that for me. And to the I got it I say things like, "No, you don't understand I must get this for you." Then they say, why? The door is wide open at that point. Of course there are many, many more. It would be interesting to hear the many different stories of others. Makes you wonder how many volumes we could create. Author: Jay Dozier Posted: Apr 10 2007 - 03:07 PM Subject: re: Chapter 1: Whatever Works 1. Can I pray for you? Is a great opening line. 2. I'm writing my sermon...can you tell me if this makes sense? (very often, this isn't evangelism, it's sermon prep help--if it don't make sense to guy on the street, it don't make sense.) 3. My favorite: Do you know my Lord? Of every tactic I've tried, this is the only one that has had immediate tangible results. The others might so seeds, and that is great. But the cold, callous, do you know? is the harvest question. And it takes nerves of steel sometimes. But if the Lord asks for it, I either fail or throw down. 4. My second favorite: Would you like to go to church with me this week? Amazing how many people are willing to accept an invitation of offered. With those last two, I have to be absolutely comfortable when I say it. If there is any hesitation, it's seen as disengenuous. But something happens when we're so confindent in the presence of the Holy Spirit in worship--we can invite without hesitation. Author: Doyll Andrews Posted: Apr 13 2007 - 01:46 PM Subject: re: Chapter 1: Whatever Works I'm not quite that structured. I usually just listen for a while. Often times my cross will spark a comment. That will lead the conversation in the direction I want. I have asked, what kind of music do you like? I'm always looking for musicians for our band. Mostly I listen to them and allow what they say to lead to an opening that will move the conversation in a God direction. Author: Bill Tenny-Brittian Posted: Apr 09 2007 - 08:59 AM Subject: Chapter 2: Evangelism Disasters Sometimes it's helpful to admit when we screwed up. For one, we can get it off our chests. For two, it's good to laugh a little at ourselves. And for three, maybe we can learn something. That's the point of this thread. To confess, to laugh, and to learn. What's been your biggest Evangelism Disaster? Author: Bill Tenny-Brittian Posted: Apr 09 2007 - 09:18 AM Subject: Disaster on the Bus Okay, I was young. Really young. A teenager kind of young (15ish, I think). But I was committed to evangelism and I spent most of my time with the unchurched whenever I could. So, I took the bus. One day, I got on the bus and there were limited seats. I sat down next to a young woman who was probably four or five years older than I. The bus had barely pulled out of the station and I was going through my mind trying to decide what would be the best evangelistic approach. Sure, I'd never met this woman and would never see her again...which meant that this might be the only chance I had to share the Gospel with her (talk about not trusting that maybe the Spirit was already at work ahead of me...and would continue to work tomorrow). This was before the Four Spiritual Laws and I'd never heard of the Romans' Road. And so, I did the first thing that popped into my mind. I turned to her, opened my mouth and asked, "Do you know Jesus?" The response was probably what you might think. She rolled her eyes, muttered, "Oh Gawd," and turned her whole body toward the window of the bus. It was a loooooooooooooooooooong bus ride home. Author: Mark Clark Posted: Apr 09 2007 - 01:41 PM Subject: re: Chapter 2: Evangelism Disasters Bill Tenny-Brittian wrote: Sometimes it's helpful to admit when we screwed up. For one, we can get it off our chests. For two, it's good to laugh a little at ourselves. And for three, maybe we can learn something. That's the point of this thread. To confess, to laugh, and to learn. What's been your biggest Evangelism Disaster? Well, sorry...I can't think of one. My confession is the one I WANT TO MAKE! But haven't yet...the one I want to make to the person who thinks they're God's gift to [Fill in the blank] church and is trying to evangelize me. It would go something like this. I'd give them my address on the back of one of my laughing Jesus calling cards with these words. "Tell y' what? If you ever decide to stop worshiping your sex organ and start worshiping God with the help of this fellow give me a call." Yep...my biggest screw-up is the one waiting to happen in a fit of passion/anger over the state of the church today. I like the "OhhhhGod" comment of you "mark," Mark Author: Harold Boggs Posted: Apr 09 2007 - 03:26 PM Subject: re: Chapter 2: Evangelism Disasters I wish I could say I was young. I was a seasoned 40 or 41, not too long ago. I had the frustration, optomism, and desperation to talk 16 other people into going door to door. I knew it was a bad idea, but I had came to a point where I was tired of trying to create the passion for the unchurched within the wall of the church. Win or lose, I had to respond to my own fire inside. AAAAnyways...by the end of the first night the goals had changed from how many want to go to church with us on Sunday to how many have you survived talking to. On the second night (I'm the eternal optimist) It was my Wife, my Mother and Myself. 14 were smarter, 2 were loyal and I was in the prosess of learning something. After admitting my door to door record was zero wins and a couple hundred losses, I was thankfull for my Wife and Mother, It gave me someone to laugh with. Lesson learned: DOOR TO DOOR.....BAD! Author: Bill Tenny-Brittian Posted: Apr 09 2007 - 03:49 PM Subject: re: re: Chapter 2: Evangelism Disasters Funny you should bring this up, Harold. I know a BUNCH of pastors...mainliners all...who have taken up the Door-to-Door banner again. And they're finding some real success in it. But this time, they're doing something different. Instead of going out to do a phony "Survey" (was anybody REALLY fooled by our antics???), they're going out to "DO" faith sharing. But instead of starting with "Do you know for sure that if you died tonight that you'd go to heaven?" they're starting with, "Hi, I'm ______ from _____ church and I live just down the street. I just wanted to stop by and ask if there was anything that I could be praying about for you." I know of a church that's doing this...and the folks take notes on the prayer requests they get. They pray on the spot. They get what information they can get from the folks (address, etc.), and then at the end of the evening all the prayer teams re-assemble and share and pray. THEN (and here's the cool part), for those needs that were shared that the church could do something about, they did something about them. Took money, people-power, groceries, etc. to the folks within the next week. They fix cars, help find jobs, etc. How effective do you reckon their door-to-door evangelism is???? Author: Harold Boggs Posted: Apr 09 2007 - 04:01 PM Subject: re: re: re: Chapter 2: Evangelism Disasters Bill why are you doing this to me? I'm getting that feeling again..that optimism for the door to door. I'm grinning ear to ear as I contemplate the reaction from the last group I gathered. Maybe I could call around and see if any other churches are doing it in the county area and ask to pair up with someone that has had positive responses. Either way I need to have some success traveling with my wife so I can give testimony to the others. I don't think I'll have anyone that wants to share this with me otherwise. Thanks! I will pray and procede! Author: Jay Dozier Posted: Apr 10 2007 - 03:15 PM Subject: re: Chapter 2: Evangelism Disasters Bill, Failure? How about when I was driving home in July when that feeling creeped over me..."What else did I need to do for you to ask her?" Dang it. I hate that feeling. I try not to have that feeling. I don't sleep on those nights. Another way of looking at "failure:" I think I hit about .050. It takes about 20 swings for me to get one person either to walk into the church or show a meaningful sign of walking with the Lord. Who knows if that batting average is any better than that, but from what I can tell, that's about it. I'll take it further in terms of church membership. We get 20 visitors for every new member. If I'm an average evangelist, that means it takes 400 invitations for one person to sign up. I know, I know, church membership is not the same as evangelism. But I can measure church attendence and new members and I assume that they track similarly. Author: Bill Tenny-Brittian Posted: Apr 10 2007 - 08:52 PM Subject: re: Chapter 2: Evangelism Disasters Hi Jay, good to have you here. One of my pet peeves is the bad rap "Church Growth" has got over the past twenty or more years. Sure, those of us who cut our teeth in that arena made some mistakes - the biggest one was to try and replace evangelism with marketing. (Although, marketing has its rightful and needful place in the church...it cannot take the place of evangelism. The point of marketing is to help increase the sheer numbers of opportunities to share the gospel.) Having said that, there's something positive about counting the sheep that are in the fold. Anyone every notice the New Testament is pretty tied up with numbers? Twelve called, seventy-two sent, five-thousand fed, three-thousand baptized and so on? Just so long as we don't fall into the trap that 1 member = 1 sold out disciple of Jesus. If that was the case, the church in North America would not still be losing hundreds of thousands a year. (damned numbers again) Author: Bill Tenny-Brittian Posted: Apr 09 2007 - 04:36 PM Subject: Chapter 3: In the Workplace Okay, folks. Let's be honest that much of what comes across the Coaching Seminars is for Pastors. This thread is, of course, open for pastors, but it's meant primarily for those of who aren't. How do you share your faith in the workplace? The fact is, many of you reading this are expressly forbidden from bringing up faith issues in the workplace. I used to be one of you. I used to teach public school. And those of us committed to faith-sharing have to walk a very narrow and slippery tightrope. So, how do you do it? I'd like to hear from those of you who do. And for those of you who haven't figured out how to walk that tightrope, I hope the posts will give you some ideas. Here's a section from my book Hitchhiker's Guide to Evangelism: Faithful Way-Faring at Work So, what’s a hitchhiker like at work? Well, you may remember that a hitchhiker, at least by our definition, is a practicing Christian. For the sake of this chapter, we’ll add that a hitchhiker is a follower of Jesus who is an unashamedly faithful believer, but isn’t pushy with their faith. Now, I realize “pushy” is a loaded word. What may seem pushy to one person may be innocuous to someone else. However, for the purposes of this chapter, let’s say that a “pushy” Christian is like a stereotypical high-pressure used car (or vacuum cleaner, metal siding, vinyl windows, cell phones, etc.) salesperson. In other words, a pushy person responds to a “No thank you, I’m not interested” by switching closing tactics rather than by respecting the “No.” On the other hand, keeping the light hidden in the closet isn’t the answer either. hitchhikers share their faith, but they do so sensibly with a light touch. Paul wrote to the Colossians telling them, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity” (Col 4:5). Let’s use these instructions as an outline for the how-to of our faith sharing with “outsiders,” that is, our coworkers and/or clients who are outside the faith. The Foundation for Opportunities Every worthy endeavor begins with a solid foundation of preparation, and that’s no less true of Hitchhiker's Evangelism at work. The foundation of a building is stone or concrete; the foundation for a hitchhiker is faithful living. Now, most of the time when I hear some preacher say something about faithful living, it’s almost always in the context of doing “holy” things like attending worship, tithing, or serving on a church committee. However, faithful way-faring is less about what you do at church and more about who you are and what you do in your “real life” (real life = the 167 hours or so per week you’re not in a church building). As I said earlier, you’ll spend about 90,000 hours in the workforce during your lifetime. I call that the proximity factor. As a hitchhiker that means your life is continually being examined, weighed, and measured by your co-workers—whether you like it or not because of your proximity. How you treat clients, coworkers, subordinates, and superiors reflects not only on your personal faith, but on Christianity as a whole. Gandhi reportedly said, “I’d be a Christian if it weren’t for the Christians I’ve met.” These sentiments reflect a sad reality for many, especially for those in the workplace. Far too often, “Christians” press the boundaries of ethics and morality for the sake of the bottom line or to save face when they’ve made a mistake. In the early years of the twenty-first millennium there was a rash of corporate catastrophes brought on by dishonest, deceptive, and unethical business practices. The sad reality is that “Christians” sat at the helm of some of the biggest of these disasters (e.g., Enron, HealthSouth, WorldCom). Too often, Christians at work have no better ethics and behave no differently than anyone else in the workplace. In preparing for this section, I wrote a list of Ten Commandments for hitchhikers at work. The more I looked at the list, the more uneasy I became until something dawned on me: in the end, carefully keeping a list of rules doesn’t make a hitchhiker transparent, honest, and ethical. Rather, these are heart issues. I once heard a story, perhaps apocryphal, about Alexander the Great that bears repeating here. On the eve of a great battle, the great general couldn’t sleep and decided to take a starlit stroll to think. As he wandered, he came upon a soldier who had fallen asleep at his post. Alexander quietly cleared his throat. The soldier was startled out of his sleep and, instantly recognizing the commander-in-chief, a wave of terror crossed his face—the penalty for his deed was execution. However, Alexander was apparently in a charitable mood. Instead of calling for the soldier’s arrest, he asked, “What’s your name, soldier?” The soldier stammered out the words, “Alexander, sir.” The general furrowed his brow, apparently thinking the soldier had misunderstood the question, and he asked again. “Soldier, I asked what is your name?” The soldier looked at the ground and replied, “Sir, my name is Alexander.” At that, Alexander the Great stared intently at the miscreant soldier for some time, shades of disgust and anger rising and setting across his face. Then he turned on his heel and began to walk away, but not before saying, “Soldier, either change your ways or change your name.” Christians aren’t perfect, but we’ve got to be more than just forgiven. When we carry the name of Christ we are bound to a code of conduct: loving our neighbors, honoring our commitments, taking responsibility for our mistakes, and working for our employer as if we were working for the Lord. The foundation for Hitchhiker's Evangelism is faithful living. Without that, we can do little with the opportunities that may present themselves. Opening the Gate for Opportunity Paul expected hitchhikers would find opportunities to share their faith on a consistent basis. The problem is, often we don’t see the opportunities that come our way, or else they are few and far between. However, there are ways to alleviate both these issues—we can become more aware of opportunity when it knocks, and we can be more inviting so opportunity graces our door more often. 1. Pray for Opportunity. Prayer is often our last line of defense, but it is the only tool we have that safely connects us to the spiritual realm. Praying for opportunities to share our faith is one of the good-bet prayers—it’s one you can be sure God wants to answer in the affirmative. Chapter 3 noted that God is less interested in our ability as in our availability. Praying for Divinely initiated opportunities for faith sharing is a signal that we’re available. 2. Create an Opportunity-Inviting Environment. Like the Opportunity Welcome Here illustration suggests, we need to be intentional in creating an inviting environment that attracts faith sharing opportunities. It all begins with subtle hints. Indeed, think “subliminal” when it comes to opportunity creation. Begin with your physical environment. Whether you work in a cubical or out of a toolbox, if you have any control over some of your workspace, you can open the gates for opportunity to come knocking. For instance, when I’m writing at my local coffee shop, I tend to have a copy of my book Prayer for People Who Can’t Sit Still sitting on the table. This has been one of the most effective “hints” I’ve found for saying - without saying—that I’m a hitchhiker. The book is non- threatening and has opened the door for many conversations (believe it or not, when I have my Bible out people tend to avoid eye contact, let alone approach me). Indeed, as I was writing this paragraph, a young man noticed Prayer for People Who Can’t Sit Still next to me, came up and excused himself for interrupting, and we had an extensive conversation about the faith. As you can see, thoughtful “decorating” of even temporary space can open the gate for opportunities. In a more traditional vein, Steve Necessary, the Vice-President of Video Product Development for Cox Communications, has taken pains to lay out subtle clues to his faith by the way he’s decorated his office. He has a Bible on his credenza and a painting of Jesus hangs on his wall, sitting across the desk from the business people who visit him there. It’s nothing ostentatious, just a couple of simple reminders to himself about who he is; and if others happen to notice and comment, “Why, that’s an interesting painting,” so much the better. No matter what your career or where you work, there are ways to “decorate” your environment that can provide opportunities for faith sharing. Even in those places where there is a clearly defined separation of church and state, such as in the school system or in State or Federal offices, you are allowed a measure of personal “expression” that can open doors. Here’s a list of ideas that people have used that may work in your setting. • Place an icon in your space • Hang a reasonably sized faith-based painting or print in your space • Leave a faith-based book (this one!) on your desk where it can be seen • Put a faith-based desk or wall calendar in your office • Hang a set of prayer beads from the handle of your tool box, desk, or file cabinet • Keep a set of prayer beads on your desktop or workspace • Put a small labyrinth at your workstation • Burn a white unscented pillar candle while you’re working • Quietly play a CD of Gregorian Chant or your favorite Christian artist in your workspace • Set a small religious sculpture on your desk (I use a two inch high sculpture of the Lord’s Supper) • Affix a magnetic crucifix, icon, or print to your toolbox You can find most of these items online or at your local Christian bookstore, while you can make others yourself if you’re a craft-minded sort of person. Don’t despair if you don’t have a specific workspace you can outfit with these hints; there are other ways to garner opportunities. Years ago I worked as a cook in a twenty-four hour restaurant. I didn’t have a desk or any personal space that I could deck-out with any faith-based hints. In cases like this you can turn to personal adornment, that is, wearing symbols or emblems of the faith. Wearing branded products is common practice these days and, unless you’re wearing a uniform that can’t be embellished, you likely have some options for brandishing a faith-hint. Notice, however, the goal of personal adornment is to drop a hint, not to wear an in-your-face sandwich board. Generally, in-your-face faith statements are more confronting and offensive than curiosity-invoking. Don’t forget that the goal is to invite a conversation, not to provoke antagonism. On the other hand, some Christian symbols have been so abused and overused that often they aren’t recognized as uniquely Christian anymore and are unlikely to draw so much as a second glance. For instance, as many or more non-Christians are wearing jewelry with crosses on them as Christians are. WWJD bracelets and related products have been so common (as well as spoofed) that, although they may be great personal reminders, they hardly elicit notice. In other words, choose your faith-accessories carefully. Here’s a list of some ideas for wearing your faith on your sleeve, so to speak. • Wear a ring with a faith-based symbol on it • Wear a button with a faith-based symbol or saying on it—remember, the goal is subtle • Put a faith-based zipper pull on your jacket • Wear faith-based jewelry such as a necklace or a bracelet—be creative, choose a crucifix over a cross, an anchor over a fish, etc. • Wear a shirt/blouse/jacket with a faith-based symbol embroidered on it—again, subtle and uncommon enough to raise a question • Put a Christian fob on your keychain • Put a Christian charm on your charm bracelet • Wear a brooch with a meaningful symbol on it • Wear a wristwatch with a Christian design (some have designs on the faces, others on the wristband) • Wear a hat with a faith-based symbol or saying on it • If you do tats, consider wearing one with a meaningful symbol (see Chapter 7 “Radical Evangelism’ for more on this) Whether you adorn your office space with a couple of faith hints or wear an embroidered Celtic High Cross on your sleeve, the goal is to get a coworker, client, or even a passerby to ask about it. Whenever they do, an opportunity has graced your presence for better or for worse. Which is what the next section is all about. Author: Harold Boggs Posted: Apr 09 2007 - 06:33 PM Subject: re: Chapter 3: In the Workplace I would recommend finding a way to be a part of or a leader of any endeavor that involves rallying the troops at work to participate in reaching out to people. Like Unitedway, Christmas donations, Thanksgiving food donations, supporting the local scouts, schools, churches. Be an ambassador for offering hope to others that people can see from a distance. This over the course of time can create an opportunity to share a more personal reason for hope. I would recommend recruiting people from work to help out at every function your church has. I don't care if you have twice as meny people as you need. You need THEIR help desperately. I've had people from work help at a retreats serving lunch and directing at the door, I've had one hide Easter eggs during the service (she had a ball), I have had many come on youth events (and that has been the the only thing that has actually directly led to a conversion experience on the spot) Seeing the faith of the teens changed everything for this young gal that attends another church now. We can't claim that conversion at the annual conferance, but God has placed that feel of that victory on my heart. Does God rock or what!? Sorry, some things I can't type about without getting a little excited. Author: Bill Tenny-Brittian Posted: Apr 10 2007 - 11:45 AM Subject: re: re: Chapter 3: In the Workplace >> We can't claim that conversion at the annual conferance, but God has placed that feel of that victory on my heart.<< It seems to me that those victories are as (or more) important than numbers that "please" a denomination. One of the recommendations I make on a regular basis is for folks who are committed to the Kingdom is to do just as you suggest...get involved in an already-active helping agency. However, I recommend NOT jumping in with a "parachurch" or another "Christian" helping agency, if you're purpose is to do evangelism. By working with a secular/non-Christian organization you do three things. (1) You immediately make the helping agency a Christian agency just by the fact that you're there (and being an influence); (2) You make yourself available as a Christian in a non-Christian environment while working with the staff (this doesn't happen in a Christian Helping Agency where virtually all the staff is already Christian); and (3) When you work at a non-Christian Helping Agency, you meet clients who are not necessarily expecting to meet Christians (something they can be relatively certain of if they visit the church food pantry), thus the clients don't come with the same guardedness they may come with to a Christian agency. Author: Doyll Andrews Posted: Apr 13 2007 - 01:38 PM Subject: re: Chapter 3: In the Workplace Very practical and helpful. It is one of the reasons I wear a cross. My father made it and often it sparks some conversation with folks I meet. That opens the door to move the conversation in the direction I want and talk about relationship with Jesus. My cross opens the door to tell my story and to talk with them about theirs and their needs. Author: Bill Tenny-Brittian Posted: Apr 10 2007 - 12:34 PM Subject: Chapter 4: Why Do Evangelism? The EBA Site and our books are full of this question: "What is it about your relationship with Jesus that the world can't live without?" If you can answer that question, then you're more ready than most to be evangelistic, because the fact is, most Christians don't have an answer for the question. Last week in the EBA Extra, we included an article by Tom Bandy that suggested a scenario. It's the middle of the night and someone calls you and says their daughter is about to commit suicide. They're needing some advice, some words of hope, something that will keep their daughter alive until the morning when she can get help. "Surely you have a message that can keep someone from killing themselves in the next twenty minutes." The question elicited many thankful emails...but not a lot of discussion. Why not? Perhaps because even we don't really know what to say either. So, why do evangelism? Here are some of the answers "everyone" knows.... 1. Because everyone's going to hell without Jesus. 2. Because Jesus offers the "good" life. 3. Because with Jesus, everything will work out for good in your life. 4. Because Jesus has a plan for your life. Now, I'm not going to argue with any of these, but the fact is, these reasons apparently don't provide enough motivation for most Christians, including (or especially) the Mainliners, to intentionally open their mouths and share their faith. Martha "Gay" Reese, in her Unbinding the Gospel research project and book, has found that there are indeed reasons...motivating reasons...for some in even the most "liberal" churches to do evangelism. Indeed, there are a number of churches across the country that are not only growing, but they're growing with adult conversion growth. Adults are making faith decisions and being baptized because of somebody's "evangelist" efforts. What's the motivation? Here are some of the answers she discovered in her study. A relationship with Christ makes life make sense - it's true. I love Go so much I want people to know this joy. I used to be so afraid - with my church and my God, I'm learning to trust. As a Christian, you're part of something important that lasts forever. I used to feel so guilty about things I had done. Christ has forgiven me, and my church friends live me. I want to help others now. God healed me with a miracle. I want other people to know it's possible. Being with Christ has changed my life from addictions to learning acceptance and grace. So, what's your answer to the "Why bother" question? Author: Toby Lofton Posted: Apr 10 2007 - 12:43 PM Subject: re: Chapter 4: Why Do Evangelism? Why bother? How can I not. Christ so radically changed my life that the phrase, "new creation", does not even do justice. The result was/is that I am the most happiest that I have ever been, everything about me is new; everything around me I see as new. It's so incredible that it is hard to explain, but it is so overjoying that not trying is out of the question. You could not pay me a billion dollars to go back to the old person that I was. It is simply incredible. So, when I see persons who are clearly sad, hopeless, lost, confused, anxious,(especially "Christians") my heart burst for them and I want them to know what I know. I tear up just thinking about what Jesus did for me. Author: Mark Clark Posted: Apr 10 2007 - 01:25 PM Subject: re: Chapter 4: Why Do Evangelism? Bill T-B asks... "So, what's your answer to the "Why bother" " question?[/quote] Mine is a bit different...it's because the word "Christian" has been tainted by so many people who call them that because they think they, ARE Christ...rather than because they follow Him. It's a really sad situation....and I want to try to set it right. This isn't about getting people to come to church. For me, it's about apologizing for what the church has become, and my role in "wimping out" and letting it happen, by not speaking out adequately. I got an e-mail today from someone I "evangelized" some time ago. His baptism was not long ago, since I left his hometown but I planted the seed and it really took root. He's been dating a "Christian" girl. But, according to her "Christian" family he's not good enough for her because his "Christianity" isn't good enough. All I could due was pass on my sympathy and some "clobber" verses..Matt 7.1 etc. Frankly, I think apologizing is about the most appropriate evangelism we can do. Am I being JUDGMENTAL myself...against the Church? I've been accused of that. So what? Everywhere I go, I'm judged as being too judgmental of people's judgmentalism. I apologize. That's who I am. A follower of the man who predicted all this in Matt. 7.1 ff. Author: Toby Lofton Posted: Apr 10 2007 - 02:05 PM Subject: re: Chapter 4: Why Do Evangelism? Mark: I don't think you need to apologize for the church at all! Jesus never once apologized for the "church" of his day and it was greatly corrupted and full of judgmental people. They even had him killed and he knew they were going to do it. Instead, Jesus simply taught and modeled this new radical way of living. Despite all the ugliness, he showed them another way to life. That is what I would encourage you to do. Don't apologize, live the true way. Receive this from a man whose mother and father were once ran out of the church, whose best friends were told they could no longer hang out with me - friends I grew up with in the nursery having our diapers changed in the same room. I was labeled overnight as an outcast of society by the church and I did nothing to deserve it. My family was cursed and condemned, even to hell itself. They, the church, called my home at night and used words I had never heard before. Apologize for them. Not in your life. Ask for their forgiveness - everyday. Walk in the midst of this world and show the world a new way of living, full of love, compassion, and hope - eagerly. Author: Mark Clark Posted: Apr 11 2007 - 02:43 PM Subject: re: re: Chapter 4: Why Do Evangelism? Toby Lofton wrote: Mark: .... They, the church, called my home at night and used words I had never heard before. Apologize for them. Not in your life. Ask for their forgiveness - everyday. Walk in the midst of this world and show the world a new way of living, full of love, compassion, and hope - eagerly. Great reply Toby, especially ... Walk in the midst...and show a new way. That's what I'm hunting for here. I'm impressed by the Avery and March song..."I am the church, You are the church, we are the church together...all who follow Jesus all around the world, Yes we're the church together. " Can we really talk about "they" and "us," without somehow dividing what "we" are? Was Jesus' remark about "whitewashed sepulchers filled with corruption" perhaps more than a lambasting of the ever-present "them," or could He have been making a forceful "apology" for a much-in-need-of-correction "us." I've always looked at apologies as a first, relatively inadequate attempt to "make ammends." A conscious attempt at self examination, recognizing the larger "self" as well as the personal and also a plea for forgiveness. I apologize right now, to all my Christian brothers and sisters in the wider church for not apologizing to the very vicious, mean person that successfully destroyed a church I was working with, for my failure to deal with her more forcefully, sooner. In a nutshell, I'm apologizing for a failure of courage on my part..which includes a prayer for more courage to more fully embrace that "new way of living" you talked about, "full of love, compassion and hope." Author: Doyll Andrews Posted: Apr 13 2007 - 02:14 PM Subject: re: Chapter 4: Why Do Evangelism? Why do evangelism? Because my relationship with Jesus gave/gives me hope, healing, strength, and new life in the midst of a life where there were none of those things. I live in the Detroit area. Tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs this year alone. Forclosures are at a record high. People are tapped out, stretched thin, and beaten down. Where can they find a bit of hope? Where can they find someone to stand with them in the midst of their fear for their families? Where can they find the strength to get up again and move forward? I think that if a relationship with Jesus does not speak to those situations we had best give it up and sell used cars. I believe that Jesus does move powerfully into those situations with healing and hope and new life. With Jesus I can and have faced such situations. With Jesus I have hope. I have experienced the power of this new life he offers in the midst of what seemed a hopeless situation. When I hear people in that kind of need, how could I not tell them where there is hope. How could I not offer some small bit of support and help. I was an EMT in an earlier life. When I saw an accident I stopped to help. It's all the same thing. Author: Bill Tenny-Brittian Posted: Apr 11 2007 - 09:15 PM Subject: Chapter 5: Beyond Relational Evangelism Here's the rub. For years, literally, I've been touting relationship evangelism. "Earn the right to speak" I'd say. Don't press. Take your time. Be gentle. David Garrison, author of Church Planting Movements, wrote these words...words that rocked my world: "In Church Planting Movements we find hundreds of thousands of people hearing the gospel every day and out of this abundant sowing, a growing harvest begins to take place. [In China, over 30,000 new Christians are baptized every day - p49.] Conventional wisdom in the West has often taught a reasonable yet much less effective pattern of gospel transmission. 'You must earn the right to share your faith,' goes the traditional model. 'Once you have developed a friendship and demonstrated you are really different, your lost friend will ask you what is special about your life. Then you can tell them about Jesus.' ...If nature's principle of sowing to sowing abundantly to reap abundantly is true, then so is the opposite: if you sow sparingly you will reap sparingly...many [church planting] Strategy Coordinators have prominently displayed a one-page sign at their workstation that reads: How many of my people will hear the gospel today?" (177- 7 . Here's the problem I've had to face. Friendship/relationship evengelism isn't the New Testament way. Jesus didn't say, "Let me get to know you for awhile" or vice versa. He said, "Follow me." He didn't allow for excuses. Now, having said that, Jesus also didn't say, "As a prerequisite of following me you've got to believe in me, make a confession of faith, get baptized, and start tithing." It appears that the whole "faith" thing (as we tend to define it) was processual. It came over time. But the "Follow me" wasn't. That was right here, right now. I think we may have some redifining to do, though. Most of the time when I hear "Follow Me" bandied about, it implies absolute discipleship in the contemporary sense. But when Jesus said it, if we look at the guys and gals who followed him back then, we might conclude that perhaps he meant, "You can (must?) try before you buy." Or, in his own words, "Count the cost before...." What would that mean in our world of "church"? Is it, as Jay suggested in the Swarm Team thread, providing worship services of such intensity and honesty that people experience a touch of the Divine? Is it, as Tom Bandy suggested in an Advanced Leadership post a couple of weeks ago, providing a mentoring relationship to the wanderers, nomads, and even the tourists? Is it all of the above, or something completely different? What would it look like? And, finally, what would that mean in our world of personal discipleship? Would we get have to get honest with why we don't do evangelism...and then helping our brothers and sisters in the faith to do the same? Would we have to get past answering the question, "What is it about my relationship with Jesus that my neighbor can't live without?" to embracing our answer as the core of our reason for living? What would it look like? Author: Donna Murphy-Ceradsky Posted: Apr 12 2007 - 11:13 AM Subject: re: Chapter 5: Beyond Relational Evangelism As a very small church in a rural area most people know everyone else. So we decided to take our faith into a different feild. One man is coaching a basketball team and shares his faith there and then brings the whole team to youth group where we feed them and open ourselves up to their needs and questions. We are reaching the kids but also we are getting the parents to come to ask questions and even into the doors of the church. We may have known them but now they are learning who we really are. Our relationship is embracing those whose adult in their lives doesn't understand faith. They are learning that they can't live without Christ in theirs Author: Bill Tenny-Brittian Posted: Apr 12 2007 - 11:50 AM Subject: re: re: Chapter 5: Beyond Relational Evangelism Excellent stuff there, Donna. There are a number of organizations, particularl in youth sports, offering these kinds of programs...but they tend to be localized in suburban and metro areas. Folks in the rural areas often find it more difficult for the very reasons you've mentioned. Finding a way into "new" fields can be challenging. When I was pastor of a rural town (1,900 people in Kansas), I found that even joining the Lion's Club was pointless when it came to edging into new pastures...I discovered that there were very, very few people who weren't already "over-evangelized" since I was one of about three clergy in the club. So I had to do thing differently. First, I took to visiting the bar. It was a rough neighborhood (it was the only bar in town) and I took some flak for being there from some of "my" people. Still, I was able to meet folks who no one else was meeting. Second, we got involved in as many community events as we could (the fair, the harvest daze festival, etc.). These were few and far between, but by having a booth or an event at these events, we were sure to meet new folks, sometimes from miles around. And finally, I began writing a newspaper column that focused on issues and questions that were of interest to both churched and unchurched alike. This gave me just enough exposure to be able to communicate at first by letters or phone and later in person with some in new pastures. Author: Toby Lofton Posted: Apr 12 2007 - 02:14 PM Subject: re: Chapter 5: Beyond Relational Evangelism Bill-T: First, I hear you! I am in this mission as well, with all of its struggles. At the same time, I have traveled the world over, literally - few countries I haven't been in. That said, comparing China to America, or Russia to Africa, and so on, is like comparing apples to oranges. Yes, they are both fruits, but they are different. People are people regardless of where they live, but they and the culture is different. Paul used different evangelism stratagies as to where he found himself. There were even different environments where Jesus could work miracles and where he couldn't or didn't. I have been in Russia where I distributed Bibles to people that simply walked my direction and to others in which I just walked into their store and said, "Here, I got something for you." Tears flooded their eyes as they realized what I had given them. They ran and got their friends who sought me out in the streets so that I could give them one also. Then they begged me to share with them about this Jesus. Do that here in America and see what happens. I do believe we can relate ourselves to death and never accomplish anything for God's Kingdom. At the same time, the culture, environment, etc... has to be considered. Wherever one finds oneself, one must relate to that culture, and then take advantage of whatever approach works best. It may take several attempts. It could mean a seeker service, relational evangelism, pligrimage appraoch, hitchhiker, etc... They key is to find what works and do it. Author: Bill Tenny-Brittian Posted: Apr 12 2007 - 05:12 PM Subject: re: Chapter 5: Beyond Relational Evangelism Toby, You couldn't be more right. In many ways our Western culture has so segmented the sacred from the profane (in other words, spirituality from real life), that even though I believe people are just as starved for a touch from the Divine here, the opiates of rugged individualism, self-reliance, and independence have satiated them. To bring about a movement the size of which David Garrison has experienced in China, India, Africa, South America, Central America, and Southeast Asia, it will take some new methods of gospel sharing. It will take some very old methods of gospel sharing. And it will take as-yet-unknown methods of gospel sharing. Will it happen in my lifetime? I pray so. But I also realize that we have a lot of baggage to free ourselves from and a lot of culture to jetison from our most basic understandings of what evangelism is, what it is we have to share, why we might share it, and then figuring out the best ways to do it so folks can hear us. Author: Doyll Andrews Posted: Apr 13 2007 - 02:22 PM Subject: re: Chapter 5: Beyond Relational Evangelism OK I hear you all loud and clear. It makes me rethink my whole approach to evangelism. Just for fun let me throw this in. Tom talks about understanding the micro-culture you are reaching out to. And then adapting the mission in ways that connect with those folks. So if in this culture it takes building relationships in order to share the good news, is that what we need to do? I know that can be used as a copout. I also know that in this area there is truth there about how to reach people. How do these two ideas connect? Can they?
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