EVANGELISM – THE PIECE WE OFTEN MISS

REBLOGGED FROM CHURCH PLANTS

By Bob Coy

There’s a side to evangelism we all understand. It’s the side where, by the Holy Spirit’s power, we proudly and plainly proclaim the gospel message. We open our mouths and share the words of life that have the ability to alter one’s destiny for all eternity. This is what we generally associate with evangelism and rightly so.

But there’s another side to evangelism, a side that’s often overlooked, and often to the detriment of our individual and ministry evangelistic effectiveness. It’s a skill, an art form, but one that’s becoming increasingly crowded-out in our communication-saturated society. It’s the lost art of listening.

In our networked world, everyone now has a platform, and everyone’s voice is vying to be heard. I can guarantee you, at this very moment, your Twitter feed and Facebook wall are overflowing with articles, editorials and the opinions of others. We’ve become a people inundated with information … communication overload has become the norm.

What isn’t normal these days? Quietly, attentively and sincerely listening to someone talk—and teaching your church how to listen. Trust me, when we commit to listening, people will take notice. Doing something so strange and foreign and actually countercultural makes an indelible impact.
So how does this apply to evangelism?

What do Nicodemus, the woman at the well and so many others Jesus encountered and evangelized in the Gospels have in common? They each had a conversation with Christ. And to converse with Christ, they needed their turn to talk, which means Jesus actually stopped and listened to them.

Nobody—past, present or future—deserves to have their “say” in the King of king’s presence. But He listened, and His listening was an important part of the evangelistic equation.

Consider also Philip’s evangelistic encounter with the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-39). When you read that account carefully, you see that Philip didn’t just go up to this man and recite the four spiritual laws. Instead, he stopped and listened to what the Eunuch was doing, he invested in learning where the man was at. And because he did, he was all the more effective in sharing the gospel with him.

Now, if listening played a part in Christ’s evangelistic example, and we see its continuation in Acts, shouldn’t we cultivate it both personally and in our churches, as well? We need to rethink our approach to evangelism by recognizing that listening precedes our sharing of the gospel.We need to open our ears as well as our mouths when we evangelize and appreciate the necessary connection between them.

Listening is an investment that yields an eternal return when we see its value as Jesus and Philip did. Commit to hearing the human heart in front of you unlike ever before, and watch as the Lord uses it to change the world one life at a time.
Bob Coy

At age 24, Bob Coy left a coveted position in the music industry to serve as an associate pastor with Calvary Chapel of Las Vegas. In 1985, he and his wife, Diane, moved to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and began Calvary Chapel of Fort Lauderdale. As senior pastor, he has become well-known for his unique style in expounding the scriptures, making them come alive and relate to us today.
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TWO BIG REASONS EVANGELISM ISN’T WORKING

Jonathan Dodson, writing on ChurchLeaders.Com shares an indictment that we should reflect on if we committed to making more disciples. – STEVE

BY JONATHAN DODSON

One in five Americans don’t believe in a deity. Less than half of the population attends religious services on a regular basis.

People simply find our evangelism unbelievable.

Why?

While a person’s response to Christ is ultimately a matter that rests in God’s sovereign hands—something we have no control over—a person’s hearing of the gospel is a matter we do have control over and responsibility for.

“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:5–6). “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

The first reason our evangelism isn’t believable is because it isn’t done in grace for each person.

Paul isn’t just saying evangelism is our responsibility; he’s telling us to do it “in person.” Unfortunately, a lot of evangelism is an out of body experience, as if there aren’t two persons in a conversation. It’s excarnate, out of the flesh, not incarnate—in the flesh.

I’m reminded of the more passive Christian who looks to get Jesus off his chest at work and into a conversation. “Check!” Or the time in college when I pretended to share the gospel with a friend in Barnes & Noble so others would overhear it! Alternatively, an active evangelist might troll blogs and start conversations to defeat arguments, while losing people in the process. “Aha!” The comment section on a blog is the new street corner.

These approaches are foolish because they treat people like projects to be completed, not persons to be loved. Have you ever been on the other end of an evangelistic project? Perhaps from a Jehovah’s Witness or Mormon at your door. Or a pushy pluralist at work? You don’t feel loved; you feel used, like a pressure sale.

Paul says “know how you ought to answer each person.” This means that most of your gospel explanations will be different, not canned. It also implies a listening evangelism. How can we know how to respond to each person if we don’t know each person?

When Francis Schaeffer was asked how he would spend an hour with a non-Christian, he said: “I would listen for 55 minutes, and then, in the last five minutes, I would have something to say.”

A second reason people find our evangelism unbelievable is because it is foolish.

Paul isn’t just telling us evangelism is personal; he’s telling us to do it with wisdom. Wisdom possesses more than knowledge; it expresses knowledge through understanding. It considers life circumstances and applies knowledge with skill. Another word for this is love.

Love is inefficient. It slows down long enough to understand people and their objections to the gospel. Love recognizes people are complex, and meets them in their need: suffering, despair, indifference, cynicism, confusion. We should look to surface these objections in people’s lives. I was recently having lunch with an educated professional who had a lot of questions. After about 30 minutes he said, “Enough about me. You’re asking me questions. I should ask you questions.” I responded by saying, “I want to hear your questions, but I also want to know you so that I can respond to your questions with wisdom.” He told me some very personal things after that, and it shed a lot of light on his objections to Christianity. It made my comments much more informed, and he felt much more loved, declaring at the end, “I wish every lunch was like this. Let’s keep doing this. I have a lot more questions.”

Rehearsing a memorized fact, “Jesus died on the cross for your sins,” isn’t walking in wisdom. Many people don’t know what we mean when we say “Jesus,” “sin” or “cross.” While much of America still has cultural memory of these things, they are often misunderstood and confused with “moral teacher,” “be good” and “irrelevant suffering.” We have to slow down long enough to explore what they mean, and why they have trouble with these words and concepts. Often they are tied to some kind of pain.

We need to explain these important truths (and more), not simply assert them. When we discerningly separate cultural misunderstanding from a true understanding of the gospel, we move forward in wisdom. But getting to that point typically doesn’t happen overnight.

We need to see evangelism as a long-term endeavor. Stop checking the list and defeating others. Be incarnate, not excarnate, in your evangelism. Slow down and practice listening and love. Most conversions are not the result of a single, point-in-time conversation, but the culmination of a personal process that includes doubt, reflection, gospel witness, love and the work of the Holy Spirit.

And remember, don’t put pressure on yourself; conversion is in God’s hands. We just get to share the incomparable news of Jesus.

In sum, how you communicate the gospel matters. 

Jonathan Dodson Jonathan K. Dodson (M.Div, Th.M) founded City Life Church with his wife and a small group of people willing to take a risk for the kingdom of God. Jonathan is the author of “The Unbelievable Gospel: Say Something Worth Believing,” “Gospel-Centered Discipleship” and “Raised? Finding Jesus by Doubting the Resurrection.” He enjoys rowing, reading, writing, and playing with his kids.
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A PICTURE OF HEALTHY DISCIPLESHIP

reblogged from Shane LovejoyFungicide-Contaminated-Orange-Juice-290x290

 

I discipled my daughter this morning. Not about Jesus; about oranges. In our household these days, we are trying to eat a little healthier. After finishing her cereal this morning, my 12 yr old Hannah said “I’m still hungry.” “You can have an orange,” I said. “OK…”( I could see the disappointment); “but I want to peel it,” she said. She tried. She couldn’t. I offered. She accepted.

However, here’s what I told my daughter: “Hannah, today I’ll show you how to peel it. Tomorrow, though, I want you to give it a try. you can give it a shot and I’ll watch; after that, you should be a professional orange peeler.” “OK,” she said. She smiled. I did, too. A “healthy” disciple is in process!

Every day, you and I are to be about making disciples. Not of oranges; of Jesus! Healthy disciples of Jesus! Fruit-bearing disciples! We are to be helping people know Jesus; look like Jesus; serve Him; and share Him. Spiritual leadership is healthy discipleship. Just like orange peeling, however, the healthiest discipleship looks like this:

I’ll do and you watch: I’ll produce fruit. Requires intentionality and proximity.

You’ll do; I’ll watch and coach: We produce fruit. Requires: and consistency and teachability.

You’ll do it on your own: You’ll produce fruit! Requires faithfulness.

Remember this, as well: the best discipleship happens one person at a time; one fruit at a time! It’s a process! It takes time! So what about you? Are you committed to healthy discipleship? If so, who’s your next potential “healthy” disciple?

Source: ShawnLovejoy.com

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HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED TO KNOW TO MAKE DISCIPLES?

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EVANGELISTIC PRIORITIES

Dan Masshardt is the pastor of the Fairview Bethel Church of God near New Cumberland PA. He is “notorious” for posing penetrating questions–just the kind that churches committed to being the best church for their communities. This post is from the archives of his periodic blog CHOOSE TODAY. – Steve (He is also a long-time member of the Commission on Evangelism.)

index

by Dan Masshardt

“The average American spends way too much evangelistic effort on camels” George Patterson

It’s one of those things that we don’t realize until we take a step back. We spend a lot time trying to convince self-satisfied people about how much they need Jesus.

From a recent talk by George Patterson, a former missionary, comes the quote above. He says that the evangelistic key to the First Century church was that they took the gospel to the poor – the outsiders of society. And they were wildly successful in their ministry.

Jesus did the same thing, didn’t he? How much evangelistic effort did he spend on the Pharisees? Jesus went to the poor, the sick and diseased, and the outcasts. And they received Him and followed Him. After all, it’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. We spend a lot of time trying to convince people that they’re sick. Jesus didn’t.

It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Yet with God all things are possible. Jesus does save rich people.

But I wonder if we spend too much time trying to shove camels through tiny hole

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BRIDGEBUILDERS IS LOOKING FOR LEADERSHIP CHURCHES

Bridgebuilders Ministries is12 taking nominations for the 2014 Bridgebuilder Churches of the Year–churches who at some point have participated in our training are demonstrating leadership in building redemptive relationships with their community. Please send your nomination and a description of their ministries to BRIDGEBUILDERS MINISTRIES, 225 Lurgan Avenue Shippensburg PA. Nominations close October 15

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THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOCIAL WORK AND KINGDOM WORK

Scott McKnight has some important thoughts for us as we go out to make disciples.

http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/videos-for-pastors/175381-the-difference-between-social-work-and-kingdom-work.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=cl_topvideos&utm_content=CL+TodaysVideo+-+20140716

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