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Evangelism seminar 2

Session 1 here

Evangelism Session 2

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There are three subjects a preacher can speak on to really turn the guilt screws: Praying, Giving and Evangelism

In the year 2000 Jehovah’s Witnesses spent 181 million hours witnessing door to door.  (It's interesting that they compile such detailed statistics.  And that they publish them!)  A Jehovah’s Witness is expected to do 5 hours door to door work a week.

It’s very possible to mobilize incredible ‘evangelistic endeavours’ out of fear, pride, pressure and guilt.

A good question for every evangelist: Am I witnessing to bring this person to God or to bring me to God?

But evangelism doesn't bring me to God.  It's Christ who brings the world to God.  And I join in!

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Definition 3: Evangelism is sharing together in Christ’s mission to the world

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In terms of bringing people to God

He Did - Christ did bring people to God through His cross.

We Are - We are a body of people bringing others to God.

I Can - I can play my part in Christ's mission.

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1) He did.  1 Peter 3:18

THE great missionary task has been completed.

My evangelism does not bring me to God.  And my failures don't keep me away.

When I have failed to speak up or been a terrible witness among my friends - that was sin.  But Christ died for sins...

Some give the impression that Jesus died for every sin except evangelistic failure.  But no, these failures are unrighteous.  But Christ clothed Himself in that unrighteousness and gives you His spotless robe.  You are rejoiced over before the Father, even with all your failures.

So no more fear, no more pride, no more pressure, no more guilt.  You have been brought to God.

And now I join in not because I have to, but because I get to.  In fact... I am!

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2) We are.  1 Peter 2:9; 4:10-11

We scattered aliens and strangers are - together - a priesthood.

Priests are go-betweens standing between God and the people.

We declare His praises in the world (v9) and the pagans are brought to God (v12)

Notice: We ARE this priesthood.  Peter doesn’t say ‘Work hard, try and become priestly.’  He says you are already priestly.

You entered the priesthood the day you trusted Jesus.

To be a Christian is to be an integral part of an evangelistic organisation!

Notice: We are TOGETHER this priesthood.

John 13:34-35 - our life together testifies to the world.  How can we witness together?

What if two or three or four of us joined the same gym/club/adult education course?

What if we were committed, regular, intentional, up front about our faith?

Notice: We won't all have the same job within this evangelistic body - 1 Peter 4:10-11.

Some are good 'speakers', some are good 'servers' (a hospitality kind of word).

When they work together it's a potent combination - evangelism through hospitality - speakers and servers together.

What are your gifts?  How can we use them together in a priestly (ie evangelistic)way?

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3) I Can.  1 Peter 3:15

Be prepared.  The scout’s motto!  Be prepared with words.

Like the engaged woman, ready to show off the diamond.  Like film lover who’s just seen their new favourite film.  Like the proud owner of a new sports car or a new outfit 70% off.  Like the football supporter of the cup-winning team.  Like the new grand-parents.  We are always ready to talk about the things that are important to us aren’t we?

This is why setting apart Christ as Lord is so important.  That Christ would be more exciting than the diamond, the film, the car, etc, etc.  If the heart is right the words will come - failingly and falteringly, but they will come.

Gentleness and respect – evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.

Notice: Who initiates this evangelistic conversation?  It’s the non-Christian asking “How do you live with such hope?"

It's a "hope that is IN you.”  Not in the creeds or in a gospel tract or even in the bible but IN US!

The section begins with good advice on how to attract such interest: 1 Pet 3:8 - sympathy, love, compassion and humility.

Evangelism is not turning trivial conversations into trite gospel presentations.

It’s about prizing Christ above everything else, living with distinctive words and actions and joining Him in His mission to the world.

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Questions

Have you felt guilt attached to your evangelism in the past?  What does the gospel say into that situation?

What are your gifts?  How can you use them as part of the whole church’s priestly body?

Are there things we can do together in the world?  Be specific.  (This is not about doing more, but about doing what we do together and with gospel intentionality)

What kind of lives attract the questions of non-Christians?  How does this challenge me?  Again, be specific.

Are there one or two non-Christians in your life that you can commit to pray for?  Don't list 300, think of two or three and pray for them regularly.

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  3. howard diehl

    Hi Glen:
    Some interesting material here. I'm working through it now, albeit slowly, and I think you have a good approach. I'll try to integrate it into what we are doing here in Grenoble, and let you know what happens.

    howard

  4. Sean

    I'm not sure about your source for the information about preaching by Jehovah's Witnesses. Just to clarify, there is no "expected" amount of time that they preach. Each one does what their circumstances allow. Some do less; some do much more.
    The 2010 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses shows the current statistics for the 2009 year, ending in August. In a few months the 2010 stats will be compiled and will no doubt reflect increase. For 2009 Jehovah's Witnesses spent 1,557,778,344 hours preaching in 236 lands of the world. As a result 276,233 were baptised and all are already sharing in the preaching work Jesus commanded at Matthew 28:19,20. There are now just over 7,000,000 active Witnesses on the earth. They are represented in 105,298 congregations. We publish Bible-based literature in 500+ languages, including indigenous languages not served by commercial organizations. This enables us to "preach the good news in all the inhabited earth" (Matthew 24:14).
    The reason we compile this report is to identify areas of need and growth and so that we can see the cumulative results of our efforts. When Jesus sent out his disciples to preach, he also asked asked them to report back to him. (Mark 6:30) "And the apostles gathered together before Jesus and reported to him all the things they had done and taught. . ." We find this pattern useful and we have continued it for the last century.
    I hope you find this helps understand our work a little better.

  5. Si

    with the rate that the JWs preach per baptised member, and the $12.50 per person that that American church gives in prizes, that's 451 hours and nearly 9 minutes to earn a dollar.

    There's your Si with a calculator pointless comment for today!

  6. Glen

    Hi Sean,
    Thanks for the correction. My original source was a JW website (which I accessed about a year ago). But the figures you quote are quite amazing and I'm happy to take them at face value.

    Inspired by Si I went to my calculator and found that if these figures are correct, there are 5639 hours of door to door work for every JW convert. Which means if you did five hours a week you'd see a convert every 22.5 years. Does that give you pause for thought? Travelling over land and sea to make a single convert... (Matt 23:15)

    Do you think fear, pride, pressure or guilt have anything to do with the mobilization of such gargantuan undertakings?

  7. Sean

    I'm always happy to clarify. There are many sites on the internet whose sole purpose is to misrepresent and discredit Jehovah's Witnesses. They can be very sly, so perhaps you were taken in, as many are. But you have to wonder why, if they were ligitimate, they are posting 2000 results in 2009. In any case, perhaps you have been misled, as well, into doing the calculations based on the assumption that our goal is simply to make "converts". That is NOT the case. And genuine Witnesses have no interest in the calculations. The reasons we preach are twofold. 1-OBEDIENCE to Jesus command, as I stated in Matt. 28:19,20, which applies to ALL who call themselves Christian. I believe that was the purpose of your blog. 2-LOVE for God and our fellowman (the 2 greatest commands). Fear, pride or guilt have nothing to do with it. I'm not sure why you would suggest that. We are simply carrying out our Christian responsibility.
    I'm not sure why you were inspired by SI's comment either. I don't understand his point at all; in fact HE said it was pointless.
    Nevertheless, we are happy to do what we do and what you are encouraging others to do; preach the good news of the Kingdom of God. Matthew 24:14- "This good news will be preached in all the inhabited earth FOR A WITNESS (not to make converts; that is their decision) and then the end will come". It is a formidable job, as your comments point out but we are accomplishing that worldwide and will continue until the end of human rulership and when God replaces it with his Kingdom government. Then the second part of the Lord's prayer will be answered.
    BTW, I appreciate you taking my word regarding the stats but FYI, here is the only official source for accurate info on the internet. The stats are in this link. http://www.watchtower.org/e/statistics/wholereport.htm
    Have a good day!

  8. vikki

    how about love being the reason, think if you really believe that bad people go to hell an burn or that having close relationship with God is the best way of life. What excuse will you give God for not warning people or helping them. After all they all his children we have to fight for their life like it was our own.

  9. Glen

    Howard - good to hear from you! Hope all is going well in Grenoble.

    Sean - thanks for the link.

    Vikki - I like Paul's language in 2 Corinthians 5 - "we implore you on Christ's behalf, Be reconciled to God." I think 'fighting for their life like it was your own' is right.

    But I think we can only do that with a few people at a time. Some are "evangelists" who need to be full time in the "imploring" game. Most people are regular christians with friends and family around them. In these sessions I'm trying to talk about the regular, all-of-life stuff that all christians can do at all times.

    I'd also question your phrase "bad people go to hell." Bad people go to heaven too don't they?

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