Rethinking Evangelism

Posted on 20. Aug, 2010 by in Evangelism

I tried to post this by mobile last night, but it didn’t work.  I’ll do it again.

I haven’t had much time to blog lately, and wanted to get one short post in now.  I wanted to link to a post by Norma at “my church journey”.  There’s been discussion about evangelism, and I found Norma’s post (link following) to be a good reminder, that evangelism takes many forms.  For many of you this may be obvious, but for me it was an “a ha” kind of moment.

my church journey: “The Best Kept Secret of Christian Mission” (John Dickson) : a review.

Second, I wanted to pose a question.  The question is spurred by my  previous post on evangelism.  In writing the post, I was trying to state what the alternative approach would be if we weren’t going to take the “escape hell” approach.  I was surprised how hard it was for me to identify in concrete thoughts what I would say, and this concerned me.  I have thought much about it since, and am comfortable with what I would say.  The question I pose is “if you are not going to evangelize using the “freedom from hell” message, what message or approach would you use (or do you use)?”  For me to find my answer I really had to evaluate, specifically and in concrete terms, what has Christ done for me?  Or what do I have in Christ that I wouldn’t have otherwise?  Answering this from my old thought processes is impossible, because I see now how much it costs us to follow Christ (everything), whereas before I preached how great life is when you are saved, not comprehending the selfless nature of a walk with God.  So, I wanted to get everyone’s feedback on this issue.  Again, this may be basic for all of you, but to me it seemed a relevant conversation.

2 Responses to “Rethinking Evangelism”

  1. Kerri Hamilton 21 August 2010 at 10:29 am #

    Hi Mark,

    Been reading your blog for some time and am interested to see the responses you get on this one. I’m not eloquent with words by any means, but felt compelled to respond to this one.

    I’ve never felt comfortable with a “sell heaven” or “escape hell” approach to evangelism. The “sell heaven” approach actually turns my stomach a little more than the “escape hell” route. I find it impossible to share Christ without first conveying that we deserve judgment. I rarely use the world “hell” when sharing Christ but do think it’s completely necessary to convey that the penalty for sin is death, which is eternal separation from God, and that we are all deserving of judgment. The truth of the gospel is blunt and harsh to sinners like me – – that there is no good in me and I deserve death. But it is beautiful as well – – as Christ offers us forgiveness, freedom and a relationship with Him, all amazing privileges we could never earn.

    Life as a believer is hard – – obedience to Christ is a chock full of hardships and trouble. My husband and I are experiencing this to a degree we never have before. But we have the Word of God and know that He has overcome the world and that He takes all things and works them to the good in this long, sometimes painful process of being conformed to the image of Christ. So amidst the struggle we can have peace and we can take courage. The whole 2 Corinthians 4 thing!!

    There are many methods for sharing Christ that I came across when I was trying to find the approach I like best. I don’t blog anymore . . . but in January of 2008 I did a post on 6 of the most popular methods of evangelism (http://kerrirhamilton.blogspot.com/2008/01/sharing-christ-with-those-who-dont-know.html). My conclusion on the whole matter was not to adopt a particular approach, but just rely heavily on God in the moment. I’ve found the the power and impact come from Scripture and not my words. However, learning some of the approaches has been a benefit to me.

    I hope this is helpful. God bless!

    • Mark 21 August 2010 at 10:43 am #

      Kerri,

      I think your writing is plenty eloquent, and even if not our lack of eloquence should’t keep us from sharing with one another.

      Your response gets to the heart of the question, and makes me think I worded it wrong. The fact that life as a Christian is so hard, in some respects, is what made me rethink how I would witness. As a younger Christian I would share how Jesus was the answer to all your problems (which He is), but didn’t really understand myself, let alone explain to others, just what was expected as a Christian, and how the “benefits” are found mostly when we give up ourselves. Realizing that “come to Christ and suffer” will, in and of itself, not attract many people, I had to think on what I would say, without misrepresenting the salvation experience/sanctification process. I guess I would ask this question now: what message do you find yourself sharing to those that don’t know God? The answer I have come up with is peace. I now have peace in my life, that came by not living for self, devoting myself to Him and His people, and allowing Him to take over my life. That is one thing I can point to that makes me different now than before, that I feel would be a testimony to others. There are other things as well, but that is what I settled on. I am sure, like you said, that each situation calls for a different message, as lead by the Spirit, so maybe this is a stupid question. Either way, thanks for reading and taking the time to respond.

      Mark


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