This content is part of a series.
Evangelism: Low Risk, High Grace (4 of 6)
Bridge Builders: People Reaching People
Message Truth: Sometimes the easiest entrance point into another person's life is a simple deed done in kindness.
(See Matthew 15:32-38 NIV)
EVANGELISM: 101 WHERE DO WE START?
(See 2 Tim 4:5 NIV)
1. There are two groups of people who really hate evangelism; non-Christians and Christians.
2. Evangelism is an emotionally charged word. It often sends shivers of guilt running up and down our spines.
3. Everyone agrees that evangelism involves giving away the message of God's love.
4. We mostly agree on the focus of our message, but we diverge greatly when it comes to how.
Try this little test. Select the choice that best describes what your response would be if the following statement was leveled at you.
"Well, I don't understand how you can say 'God loves us' when the world is in such a mess!"
A. Launch into an earnest sermonette on the existence of God.
B. Mumble an ambivalent argument, clear your throat, and change the subject.
C. Zero in on the real issue: the reality of original sin. Expound on Paul's understanding of the Fall, and end by quoting the "all fall short of God's glory" passage from Romans.
D. Speak a little more slowly and loudly about the blessing of the justification, sanctification, and glorification of the Christian. If there is time, expand on the idea of imputed righteousness. And use these terms so people realize how much they have to learn.
E. Ask about "the mess." What does this person see as "the mess"? Where is this person's unhappiness with the messy world? Listen for hints or confessions of an inner, personal mess.
F. Just keep listening as the person continues.
Illustration: A Time To Sow, A Time To Reap
"I ache all over! There's just too much to do in twenty-four hours," Sarah moaned as she recounted the burdens of a long day to her husband. Bill meant well, but the helpful hints on time management and job consolidation that he shared brought less than a thrilled response.
"I just can't believe Mary is gone!" sighed Fred, a recent widower. "How will I ever make it without her?" Explaining the ease of microwaving or housekeeping shortcuts would hardly be an appropriate response to Fred's grief.
Information is usually not the first thing someone needs in dealing with life's trials and weariness. This is also true in evangelism. Evangelism is the process of bringing God's good news to tired and weary people, of offering the love of God to people whose hearts are broken.
Unfortunately, when opportunities to offer the good news arise, many Christians either say nothing or say something totally inappropriate.
In training others for evangelism, I have found that most people acknowledge the need for sensitivity, listening skills, and seeking to apply the gospel to a person's need or hurt. "E" and "F" are both good choices.
However, I also have observed ...
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