Evangelism: An Issues Process and More

How many words is too many for a ‘Readables’ article suggestion?

This graphic is somewhat ‘hard’ to read, though it has only about 147 words in it. The article I’m going to suggest you tackle, has a little over 44 times that many. But if becoming more equipped to share your faith is what brought you to my site, I think it may be worth it.

How do we engage with people in practice?” is the last article of a three-part series adapted from chapters by Tony Watkins in Beyond the Fringe: Reaching People Outside the Church. It looks in depth at how to bring a Christian perspective into many of those conversations we have with friends and family.

As you dig into this article, you’ll read about the three main types of groups conversations fall into; Personal Issues, Issues in Society, and Issues in the Media; three important factors to work on to get better at these talks; Know the Gospel, Know what’s going on in current events, and Know people’s beliefs and values and where they get them; and steps you can take to evaluate the conversation so that the right message comes forth.

P.S. I read the complete article as I prepared this post and, among other things, have this quote as a great take away for myself, and perhaps you.

“There is a world to be won and most of us need all the help we can get.”

But Wait, There’s More…

  1. Read previous ‘Readables’ articles in this series
    1. Evangelism: A Task of Importance
    2. Evangelism: A Post Engagement Process
  2. Take a quick look at the 15 ‘Readables’ dating back to 2013
  3. Check out my Training Tips articles

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Everyday Eisenman’s – Times Have Changed?

Tom Eisenman, writing in the introduction to Everyday Evangelism, says, “The world today is a tough place. People are in pain. People live in fear…People are used, abused and discarded. Everybody is banged up. Nobody knows which way to turn. The point is, things have gotten so bad that even the simplest acts of love and caring have become big news.

Wow…he’s really summed up the issues were facing with the Covid-19 pandemic, politicized rhetoric coming from the right and left, racism that’s being experienced on levels beyond belief, crime and violence erupting from peaceful protests, and so much more. Only he wrote this in 1987…33 years ago.

But then, he says something quite startling. In speaking of the world’s situation at the time, he writes it “should be a tremendous encouragement to us in the church.” How can that be you might be thinking? His rather surprising statement is based on his conclusion that “we are living in a day when the normal Christian person can make a huge contribution for Christ with even a moderate investment of love and kindness. Just a touch of love today can turn the world upside-down for Christ.”

We probably all know that the love he’s talking about is not that feeling we have being around that special someone. It’s about doing and caring for others and here are a few ideas I grabbed from an article at Project Inspired.

  1. Compliment a stranger when you see them doing something nice.
  2. Give someone a smile; they are contagious!
  3. Send a handwritten letter or card to a loved one.
  4. Start a conversation with someone who looks a little ‘down in the dumps.’
  5. Give a gift…anonymously.
  6. Volunteer…the gift of time is wonderful

Now, we don’t do good so that people will ask us what prompted our behavior, thus opening up a door to share the gospel. We love because it’s God’s greatest commandment. But when we love, the chances that people will be drawn to us, and that an opportunity to share will become a reality, can greatly increase.

Want More Resources for Sharing Your Faith?

  1. Another Everyday Eisenman’s article that looks at common life situations
  2. Comments on Quotes by 10 different authors
  3. One of my favorite all time series – Top 10 Reasons to Prefer Evangelism over Riding a Bus
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Retribution and Rejection: Gone for Good

We Know Which We Want for Our Friends

To get a sense of the power behind sharing the gospel, think of these two areas of life that are guaranteed to befall those who leave this earth without Christ…Retribution and Rejection.

There truly will be hell to pay for those family members and friends of ours who never receive the gift of faith from their creator. An eternal punishment for their life, no matter how good, which did not match the perfection of Christ, and a forever separation from the one who created them…Retribution and Rejection…not anything to look forward to.

But there’s hope for them and it could be found through the words we speak to them. God is the one who saves, so we never need to feel bad if our good efforts to share our faith don’t result in a changed heart. But He can use our love and communication to draw someone toward and into the heart of God.

John Blanchard, in his book, Right With God, paints us a beautiful picture of what it can look like if our Father takes our words and uses them to draw someone to salvation in Christ. “In the matter of our punishment, God looks on the death of Christ and says ‘It is sufficient’; in the matter of our acceptance, God looks on the obedience of Christ and says ‘I am satisfied’. As a result, the sinner is not only spared the punishment but is brought into fellowship with God.”

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Evangelism: A Post Engagement Process

In my last ‘Readables’ article, Evangelism: A Task of Importance, I shared that hearing about God’s gift of salvation through faith in Christ’s work on the cross is paramount to dealing with the lack of hope for the human soul after death. Today I’m going to look at an important step to consider before speaking up.

According to Tony Watkins‘ article, A Biblical Foundation for Engaging with Culture, “the further a worldview is from ours, the harder evangelism gets….If we want to reach a culture, we need to understand it. And to really understand it we need to enter into it in some way.”

Now he doesn’t mean becoming like those without Christ that we meet. In fact, when speaking about Daniel and some other Israelite’s, he points out that “they engaged with the culture but maintained their distinctiveness.” What he’s speaking of is something we can learn from the life of the Apostle Paul.

“He knew them well enough to engage with the ideas seriously, respectfully and yet critically. He understood the culture well enough to take his thoroughly Biblical message and express it in the thought forms, ideas and phrases that were part and parcel of that culture. He understood where his listeners were coming from well enough to move at least some from complete ignorance to faith.”

Steps You Can Take To Engage

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Strengthening Your Evangelistic Efforts

Get Out There and Share Your Faith! Too often that’s what we hear (or think) when it comes to our responsibility to communicate the gospel with people we know. But according to Doug Powe, director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, focusing on four key practices can demystify the concept of evangelism.

Before digging into each individual practice, he says, “For some, evangelism is an important objective, but the methods of pursuing it are vague or ineffective. For others, the term itself is uncomfortable, bringing to mind doctrinally rigid or manipulative ways of leading people to faith. Focusing on the characteristics of biblical evangelism can help demystify evangelism and strengthen our evangelistic efforts.”

He then lists and explains the four practices — proclamation, community, service, and witness. I think these are worth studying and that’s why, as part of today’s Character Challenge post, I’m encouraging you to check out his article.

What Other Steps Can You Take?

  • Check out some other Character Challenge posts
  • Raise your resoluteness with one or more of these Confidence Builders articles
  • Motor into Evangelism-ville by reading my Top 10 Reasons to Prefer Evangelism over Riding a Bus.
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Little’s Bits: Don’t Pony Up the Phony

I went looking online for some reasons people don’t like Christians and found an article by Tony Morgan, the Founder and Lead Strategist of a group that helps leaders grow healthy churches. Wait…someone who works with pastors wrote about why he didn’t like Christians?

At first I thought this wouldn’t work and started thinking of looking for an article by a non-Christian. But then I realized that if a Christian could find fault with fellow believers, maybe that’s just what I needed. Mr. Morgan identified 10 Reasons he didn’t like some Christians but I’m going to focus on #8 – They are fake – because it fits perfectly with a quote from Paul Little’s book, How to Give Away Your Faith.

Tony wrote, ” They dress up a certain way on Sunday and they live as completely different people the rest of the week.” That sounds very similar to this longer quote from Paul Little…

“Our non-Christian contemporaries are looking for something real. What we offer them must be genuine enough to withstand a careful and thorough probing. Sick of phony solutions, they’re even more fed up with phony people. They aren’t fooled by the pious person whose religion goes only skin-deep.”

Ouch! If I’m honest, that hurts because it’s true about me to some degree, and I fear, about most of us too. We’re not perfect so there will be times where our phoniness stands out plainly for others to see. But with God’s help, we can minimize the times we live opposite of how we say we should live. And when that happens, we’ll more likely be used by Him to impact an unsaved life with the gospel.

What’s Next?

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We Can Do What?

People feel good when they realize their lives can beneficially affect others and that’s what I’m going to be sharing today.

I imagine most Christians have heard of the verses in Luke which say there is rejoicing in heaven when one sinner repents but have you ever thought that the rejoicing could be the result of work you did in connection with God?

The great joy in heaven talked about in Luke appears to be in conjunction with a human’s salvation, which includes repentance. And, our evangelism efforts, with God’s powerful help, can be the work which moves a person from sin and and it’s penalty, to righteousness in their forever life with God after death.

Just think about this thought from Floyd McElveen’s book, “Unashamed: A burning passion to share the gospel”; “How wonderful to know that, by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit working through us, we can bring men and women to Christ to be saved forever, and cause all of heaven to rejoice!”

Would that be wonderful to know? I can’t imagine how it couldn’t be and I hope this ‘Encouragement Effort’ spurs us all toward greater involvement in sharing our faith with those God puts in our lives.

But Wait, There’s More

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Evangelism: A Task of Importance

Without hearing about God’s gift of salvation through faith in Christ’s work on the cross, there is no hope after death for the human soul. And hearing is just the first step; trusting in the message is the key that opens the doorways of heaven, but how do we get our friends and family to listen to the message in the first place?

Tony Watkins has written an article that is long, complex, valuable, and the subject of today’s ‘Readables‘ post. He starts by pointing out that with the introduction of postmodernism during the latter part of the 20th century, which among other things “doesn’t accept anything as true for everyone…, very often, our evangelism doesn’t hit the mark.”

“Now, more than ever,” he states, “we need to understand others’ beliefs…we need to be able to help them see the weaknesses in their worldviews. If they can see the problems, they will be far more likely to see the relevance of Jesus Christ.”

There’s much more in store for you if hop on over to Tony’s article, “Engaging the World“, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

And Speaking of Hopping...

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Cause & Effect of Christianity

We live in a world where a growing number of people wonder, “does it work?”, instead of, “is it true?” For example, according to Lee Strobel in “Inside the Mind of Unchurched Harry and Marry”, a nature worshiper combines imagination, chanting and silent prayer to the goddess Artemis, to protect her from hitting deer while driving at night. She believes this practice works because a friend, who doesn’t follow her method, has hit multiple deer and she’s never hit one.

From a logical standpoint, if Artemis exists as a spiritual being, but doesn’t have the power to influence a deer from straying onto the roadway or help a driver react perfectly to the sudden presence of one of these animals, then not hitting a deer can not be credited to the goddess. And if Artemis is only a mythical creature, the ‘power’ to influence ceases immediately, and so does any credit.

When it comes to our faith, as this quote from Lee Strobel points out, “As far as Christianity is concerned, we’re not saying it’s true because it works; we’re saying Christianity is true and therefore it works.”

This means we should continue laying out the evidence that Jesus is the one and only Son of God, but also communicate that, because he truly is the one who can save us, he also “offers us supernatural wisdom and assistance in our struggles, difficulties, and recovery from past hurts.”

Quiero más? Wollen mehr? Want more?

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Boldly Barna – Where to Start

Many Christians who believe people without Christ will, when they die, be separated from God forever and spend an eternity in hell, don’t like that idea and want to be part of the process of moving that eternal state to one of closeness with the Father. It’s how we go about it that sometimes gets us in trouble.

George Barna, in his book, Evangelism that Works, gives us a couple of key thoughts to consider about how and when to share our faith. First, he says “outreach efforts that take advantage of the credibility, accessibility and trust of an existing friendship have a better chance of succeeding than does ‘cold call’ evangelism.”

A friend of family member, who is deeply aware of a Christian’s genuine care for them, is more likely to respond favorably to a spiritual discussion than a total stranger on the street that we walk up to and ask, “Do you know Jesus?” But there’s more to it than just having a good relationship; there’s the matter of sensitivity.

“Evangelism that starts at the nonbeliever’s point of felt need and ties the gospel into that area of need has the greatest capacity for capturing the mind and heart of the non-Christian.”

A friend displaying pride, fear, anger, or any other hurtful emotion or behavior, may be perfectly comfortable with their actions and resent our telling them that God has a way they can change. However, when they share remorse at how they’ve behaved, and especially when God has cleaned up our life in the same area, the door to sharing is much more open.

So, as we work at exhibiting the behaviors featured in today’s ‘Comments on Quotes’, here’s a ‘simple’ way to spot a possible sharing opportunity. I call it “Grace Reminders” and believe it can be used by God to help make you more aware of the ‘right’ time to speak up about your faith.

Want More Comments on Quotes?

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