Friday, March 8, 2013

Today’s Show Notes: Friday, 8th March 2013

Are There Different Evangelism Styles?
(Email from Simon in New Zealand) “Our church has currently gone through a series about evangelism. It was based on a book which I can't recall. Basically it said that there were six ways people are wired to evangelize.
1. Confrontational - e.g. street witnessing, giving out tracts, open air preaching
2. Intellectual - e.g. showing evidence for the bible being God's word, apologetics
3. Testimonial - e.g. sharing what God's done in your life
4. Interpersonal - e.g. getting to know someone first, walking with them in their struggles, then share with them
5. Serving - e.g. doing garden work for the elderly lady next door
6. Invitational - e.g. inviting someone to church to hear someone preach.
The view was that all these points are forms of evangelism…What are your thoughts on this issue?”

To determine if these are all forms of evangelism, we first have to define our terms. We have to start with defining what is meant by evangelism. The word is “evangelism” is not actually used in the Bible. “Evangelism” in Greek is εὐαγγέλιον (transliterated as "euangelion"), and it is the merging of two Greek words, which mean “good” and “messenger.” If you define evangelism as fulfilling the great commission, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel”— then evangelism by definition is a messenger who brings that good news.

The next step is to see what example God has entrusted to us in Scripture. Do we see “styles” in preaching the gospel in Acts? You see flavors, you see personality types come through, Peter and Paul had different ways of thinking, but their message was always identical. In the 11 witnessing/open-air accounts in the book of Acts where we have a word-for-word transcript of what the disciples actually said, we see that without fail they all, regardless of their personalities, covered the same points—they used the Law, the preached the gospel, they called people to repent and believe for the forgiveness of sins.

If we’re to be faithful to evangelize our “style” has to include clearly preaching the gospel. It requires words. Doing someone’s yard work is certainly a beautiful expression of the love of God, but if you don’t explain the gospel it’s like shining the shoes of a blind man who’s about the walk off the edge of a cliff, but not warning them of the cliff.

1 Pet. 3:1 is a great example of how God uses acts of kindness:
Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 
Some may only hear “won by conduct” and jump to seeing good works as evangelism, but that’s not what this passage says. It starts off with saying “if some do not obey the word”. To reject the gospel means that they have heard the gospel. This passage teaches that good deeds amplify the gospel, they flesh out the gospel, after it’s already been preached. Make sure you start with preaching it.

Part 1 of this question is, does evangelism have styles? Our personality definitely comes through in our presentation of the gospel, but anything that doesn’t clearly and quickly communicate how someone can be saved is simply not evangelism. As in Acts, we must make sure we tell the dying patient about the cure before it’s too late.

Part 2 should be how can we as effectively as possible reach the most lost people?

Let’s say your church has 200 people on a Sunday morning. Let’s also say that every week you have 2 first-time guests. That means in 10 months you will have 80 people discover how to be saved. (Assuming your pastor preaches the gospel in every service.) If you take 9 people witnessing, split up into 3 groups, and go for 2 hours, you will preach the gospel to around 80 people. Which sounds like a better way to reach the lost?

Church + 10 months = 80 people
Street Team + 2 hours = 80 people

Which makes the best sense to you? If you go witnessing every week, in a month you’ll reach as many as your church will in the next 4 years! The lost aren’t running to church, so we need to go where they are. If the fish aren’t jumping into the boat, push out and catch them!

Why not grab some friends and dedicate your Fridays to rescuing the perishing. Go out to the movie theater, mall, roller-skating rink, wherever teens hang in your area (that’s well lit and safe) and witness your brains out for two hours!! Then go pig out at a restaurant.

Listen to the sobering words of Oswald J. Smith:

Oh, to realize and know that souls, precious, never dying souls, are perishing all around us, going out into the blackness of darkness and despair, eternally lost, and yet to feel no anguish, shed no tears, know no travail! How cold are our hearts! How little we know of the compassion of Jesus!

Living Waters University: Ron

"Why do you think people embrace biblical evangelism and then grow lukewarm, even though they were taught correctly?"

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