Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Run For Your Life! It's...it's...Evangelism!!

If you’re like me, then you’ve felt a number of emotions when it comes to “evangelizing.” Namely, fear and guilt. We’ve been told that we need to talk to our friends about Jesus, but we feel unqualified or too intimidated to do it. However, if we find the “right” church, where we think our friends would feel comfortable at a worship service, then we try to muster the courage to invite them to a service and if they come, then…voila!...we have done our evangelistic duty.

But, maybe we’ve been looking at evangelism the wrong way. Maybe we’ve placed too much confidence in words—either ours or those of our teaching pastors. A lot of research today shows that people are not impelled to become part of our churches because of invitations or because of our attempts at talking them into faith. Dan Kimball, in particular has done a lot of research on this topic, but there are others (George Barna, Gordon Cosby, Shane Claiborne, to name a few) who have also made this observation.

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time deconstructing and reconstructing my own ideas about evangelism and I presented them last Sunday night to my brothers and sisters at The Well. We had a dynamic conversation about it and they brought a lot of thoughtful insight to the discussion. I’ve posted the transcript of that discussion on our website, and you can follow the link below to download the pdf.

Go to http://www.drawfromthewell.com/ and click on the “teachings” link. Then, click on the file marked Missional Evangelism to download the pdf.

If you take the time to read it, please come back here and post your comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Rebecca said...

Bullhorn man! Nice.

At least there's no "bait and switch" going on with his method ...

Anonymous said...

Very cool subject...

I believe the first step in approaching anyone about faith is the return to radical humility. It seems to me that one of the primary dangers of such practices is the tendency to feel superior and see the other person, the "outsider" as inferior in some way. Even if one things he is beign service-minded, there is a problem is there is any belief that one is inferior.

The evangelism topic has an inherent problem of drawing a line, categorizing, labeling, seeing someone as a "them." People can smell this and it is repulsive.

I think it would be best to start by praying for help from God to release any judgments you have and any feelings of superiority or inferiority. God is within you and God is within all others. (Yes even those who don't think the same way or haven't made a declaration of accepting certain things. They are breathing so God is within them.) Ask God to help you leave behind your habit of labeling people and categorizing people by what they call themselves. If you can get past caring about what people call themselves and focus more toward the need for people to have a Christ-like heart no matter what human labels they proclaim your "conversations" will be much more respectful and worthwhile and instructional for BOTH "sides."