Moved Mountains

Banner - Mt Trio, Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia - (c) 2007

Monday, December 04, 2006

Evangelism: Shifting Focus

The practice of evangelism is something I have been reconsidering lately and I found a couple of great posts on this topic on the Backyard Missionary and Smulo Space blogs.

In Some Points on Missionary Work in Suburbia Part II Hamo makes the point, as well as "living" Christ we also need to be intentional about "speaking" Christ with those we are seeking to lead toward the kingdom.

...some people will not like our choice to follow Jesus and to speak of him in conversation. Some people will simply avoid us. They won’t invite us to parties. They will classify us as ‘religious folks’. And at times that will hurt. We have had that experience up here already and I’m sure we will again.

But let’s not let the occasional rejection stop us speaking of Jesus!

And I use the words ’speaking of Jesus’ intentionally because while actions do speak louder than words, there is still a place for the verbal communication of the gospel, for speaking of how Jesus has revolutionised our life. We don’t need to be evangelistic nutbags to speak of Jesus, but if he is in our lives then inevitably (if we are being true to who we are) he will ‘leak out’.

Truthfully I believe some of us have become so soft that the slightest ‘knock’ for being Christians causes us to withdraw and never venture down that road again.

Time to toughen up folks!!

And in Reimagining Evangelism, John Smulo gives us another list based on Rick Richardson's book, Reimagining Evangelism

* Collaboration versus Activism
Here we look to clues where God is already at work.

*Community versus Individual
Rather than a salesperson approach to evangelism, we build witnessing communities.

*Friendship versus Agenda
The old model of evangelism has an agenda, which is about downloading content and closing the deal. The reimagined model has a friendship.

*Story versus Dogma
Not merely dogmas and beliefs, but storytelling about God's reality in our life.

*Outside the Box Jesus versus Cliche Jesus
Rather than sharing with people a Jesus they think they have figured out, we share a Jesus people have yet to discover.

*Good News About God's Kingdom versus Good News About the Afterlife
This involves not merely talking about being forgiven and a one-way ticket to heaven, but God's rule and reality in this life.

*Journey versus Event
It's not so much about who made a one-time decision; not so much about who's in and who's out. Instead it's about who is journeying toward being a wholehearted follower of Jesus (other's might say "Jesus-follower", but we don't want to be anal about that--smile).

What are your experiences with "relationship building evangelism"? I know this stuff is covered elsewhere on the web but I am interested in hearing your practical examples of this kind of thing at work. I think the more sharing of the practice, rather than just the theory, of this kind of thing the better. Our communities and the kingdom can only benefit from it.

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