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Talk amongst yourselves

My broadband's down for a while so I'm just emailing this in from my phone. I won't be able to write or respond for a bit but I will be getting your comments.

So why don't you help me out with something I'm thinking through: How should we go about enthusing Christians for evangelism?

Any thoughts?

0 thoughts on “Talk amongst yourselves

  1. Paul Huxley

    Remind them of what Jesus has done in their lives.

    We had Exodus 15 at church last night, Moses' song, where they sing of God's deliverance. Being reminded of God's greatness, particularly in saving me, and others I know served two purposes: 1) made me want to praise God, and 2) made me want to tell people about Jesus.

    That approach has always been more effective in my life than telling me that I should, or how to evangelise (although they are sometimes necessary).

  2. Missy

    Sorry you're down, Glen. Hope you enjoy the vaca from lala land. :)

    I so agree with Paul. Share the gospel. Fill the cup 'til it overflows.

  3. Jon Sidnell

    Sorry you're cut off - I know how that can feel :(

    Re: encouraging evangelism, I wouldn't talk about evangelism as an activity to be done, but rather about our identity as missionaries. God has left us in this world to be missionaries in everything we are and do - to display His goodness and mercy to a world that so desperately needs it, and to work toward seeing the Earth reclaimed.

    As a good charismatic, I'd also emphasis God's empowering for this mission, and that it is therefore God Himself reaching out through us rather than something God sends us to do independently. Actually, forget the charismatic stuff, this is nothing short of "As the Father has sent me, so I'm sending you" - in total reliance on the presence and guidance of the Father, knowing He's made us to be as Christ was in the Earth and that He's pleased with us and therefore living confidently in the empowering of the Spirit. Mission is then what happens in the overflow of this dynamic.

  4. pgjackson

    Preach the gospel in such a way that they realise they are never far away from being able to talk about Christ so long as they are having a conversation about something that matters.

    A truncated gospel and a small Christ don't dispell the myth that gospelling is only for a small bunch of expert 'Christian salesmen' who can craftily work every conversation round to their A, B, C gospel spiel no matter how painfully done.

    [NB, this also fits with helping Christians talk to each other about Christ - sometimes I think it's no wonder we can't talk to outsiders very well when we can't even talk to each other about Christ all that well either]

  5. Bror Erickson

    My answer to this, is remain Biblically faithful yourself, preach law and gospel, but most especially the Gospel. Preach it and re-preach it. Administer the sacraments according to Christ's institution, and by doing so give them something to share with their neighbors.
    but if all they get is law, they will have nothing and there will be no evangelism. The law can't do it.

  6. John B

    Consider to whom Paul is speaking when he says, "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ." (1 Corinthians 11:1) Is Paul's message for me, or only for called missionaries and evangelists?

    One of the aims of Paul's gospel servanthood is so that he might become a partaker of the grace of the gospel, himself. (1 Corinthians 9:23, 27)

    Faith without love isn't genuine faith. Christian love is exhibited in gospel servanthood, as patterned by Jesus, and followed by Paul. Our imitation of them confirms our faith and participation in the gospel.

    (1 Corinthians 9:16) "For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!"

  7. Anonymous

    One of the most helpful evangelism talks (*) I went to directed me to Colossians 4:3-4.

    It is clear that:
    (a) We need to pray for opportunities - Paul needed to pray about his evangelism in this scripture. I spent years working in the workplace with very little Gospel conversations before realising that I'd been praying about things like my integrity at work but (d'uh) hadn't really been praying at all for Gospel opportunities.

    (b) We need to ask for boldness [or, at least, many of us do - some need to ask for discretion and tact], as Paul did in this scripture.

    Colossians 4:3-4 was great in helping me see the need to start with prayer and, also, to be clearer as to what was God's role in the process and what role He has asked us to perform.

    (*) The CMF's Confident Christianity Course.

  8. Dave K

    I remember Richard Coekin in a P4L DVD drew out four motivations for evangelism from 2 Corinthians 5-6:

    The fear of Christ (5:11)
    The love of Christ (5:14)
    The commission of Christ (5:20)
    The day of Christ (6:1-2)

    This MP3 of Mike Reeves may be a good example too.

  9. codepoke

    I guess now that you're a professional evangelist is the wrong time to say you shouldn't enthuse Chrstians for evangelism.

    Oh well.

  10. Heather

    I guess now that you’re a professional evangelist is the wrong time to say you shouldn’t enthuse Chrstians for evangelism.

    Oh well.

    codepoke,

    Would you mind expanding your comment please? I'm curious as to the thought behind your statement.

  11. Dev

    start running a course on evangelism

    begin the course by teaching Gen 1, and then do it chapter by chapter showing the gospel and Jesus Christ

    at the end of each lesson have a time of prayer that we are conformed to be like Jesus Christ

    have a time of sharing about how we can be more like Christ in our homes, workplaces, etc

    set up several other teachers for the 1000s of people who are coming to Christ for some strange reason....

  12. Glen

    Hey Code, I spose I've been a 'professional evangelist' for about 10 years in one form or another. Just different job titles. You don't think we should motivate Christians towards sharing the gospel?

  13. Heather

    Glen said:
    You don’t think we should motivate Christians towards sharing the gospel?

    I'd love to hear an explanation. Giving codepoke the benefit of the doubt, I'd guess he isn't arguing that Christians should keep Jesus to themselves--but rather that there can be problems with certain attempts at motivating Christians to evangelize.

  14. codepoke

    Sorry just to get back. I'm pretty swamped these days. And thanks for the benefit of the doubt.

    I think Christians should be relieved of the burden of evangelism. That's a slightly different statement from saying Christians should not evangelize, but there's a burden laid on the back of every Christian every day and I figure it's a big mistake.

    Evangelists should evangelize, but every Christian does not receive the gift of evangelism. Those who have it should exercise it. The Spirit gave them that give specifically for it to benefit the body and the Lord Who bought it.

    Every believer should be "enthused to" love. They should love Jesus very specifically for very specific things He has done, and they should love their brothers and sisters very practically and spiritually. But a believer with the gift of teaching should not sweat evangelizing. Prophecy, helps, exhortation. None of them should be burdened with evangelism.

    We should all exercise the gifts we have received, and only the gifts we have received.

    The great commission mentality is disappointing. Keith Green sang, "Jesus Commands Us to Go," and a generation of kids grew up feeling guilty. Jesus pointedly did not command us to go. The Spirit called out Paul and Barnabus while the body was ministering to the Lord. Paul and Barnabus were commanded to go. Simeon, Lucius, Manaen, and a church full of others were called to minister to the Lord and stay.

    It was the church at Antioch that went out.

    The great commission was given to the church, not to every one of us. We are all gifted to do what the Spirit wants us to do. Making every Christian feel guilty for not doing what Paul does is a negative thing in every way, when the church as a body is called to do these things.

    Forgive me if I reacted to your question in a way in which you would never intend it.

  15. Si

    cokepoke, if I've got you right, you're saying that while those without the gift (and call) should tell people about Jesus, they shouldn't be burdened with that task - it's not theirs.

    I can see that with other gifts - those without the gift of intercession shouldn't not pray, but they aren't intercessors primarily - it's not their 'job' to do it (though that doesn't mean they shouldn't do the job if it needs to be done).

    There's a "we should all be feet" thing, but there's also the "I'm not a foot, I won't do that" problem to avoid - if there's a job to do, it needs to be done.

    I think while Simeon, Lucius, Manaen, etc weren't called to be sent as missionary evangelists, some would be evangelists for Antioch, and all of them would seek to bring friends and family to the Lord. However, I massively agree that there is this pressure for 'non-evangelists' to be evangelists without gifting or call. For some people, thankfully, missionary evangelism comes naturally, but for me it is a struggle to go out (if people come in, it's a different matter, though for others even that might be a struggle). Some people are more 'support staff' than 'front line' (and vice versa), yet we often push for people to be both, though more so front line. That's rather modalist.

    I see Bish has a (timely) post on trinitarian community http://thebluefish.org/2010/06/exercises-in-trinitarian-community.html - we need to avoid Arian (those who do lots of evangelism are better than others), Modalists (we need to all do everything) and Tritheists (we're all lone rangers - the 'front line' don't look for support from the 'support staff' and the 'support staff' don't support the 'front line').

  16. John B

    Codepoke brings out an important biblical distinction. The church is a missionary body; evangelism is a spiritual gift bestowed by the Holy Spirit on some members of the body, whom He calls and consecrates to this work. Not all are evangelists; only some are set apart to this endeavor. But the one missionary body has boundless enthusiasm for the work of evangelism.

    As Christian persons, we've ceased living as individuals. We've been born from above into new life in Christ; our being is now in communion with His body. Only as a eucharistic community are we set free from the natural divisions that Si cites from Dave Bish's post.

  17. Glen

    thanks Code (and Si and John),

    Jesus calls the church as a missionary body. Just as the Trinity is a community on a mission, so are we. Not that everyone does every role but that our corporate life works together towards the same goal.

    I would agree that we all are called to love Jesus, but as part and parcel of that, to put our love for Jesus into words - not only for fellow believers but for the world (e.g. Psalm 96; 1 Pet 2:9ff). Which is evangelism.

    It's very important to note the giftings of different members of our priestly body. But equally to note that those especially gifted help the rest of us towards our priestly identity. The evangelists 'equip the saints for their works of service'. (Eph 4:12) This must surely involve equipping Christians to evangelise in their own contexts and style.

    I completely agree that this can be stirred up with a massive dose of guilt and a completely inappropriate forcing of people into certain moulds. But that said, 'love for Jesus' includes 'expressions of love for Jesus.' If that's lacking then we don't lay on the guilt trips but we do try to stoke the gospel fires such that the heart overflows in gospel speech.

  18. Pingback: But we’re not all evangelists, are we? « Christ the Truth

  19. Pingback: But we’re not all evangelists, are we? Mission, Giftings and the Trinity « Christ the Truth

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