Discussion in 'Evangelism' started by Evangelism Forum, Aug 23, 2012.
Evangelism Forum Research... Please select one or more options
It's hard to get any forum site off the ground and attract a steady membership. There's a lot of competition for people's attention out there: numerous forum sites, blogs, social media, videos, etc. I have personally been involved in trying to help several fledgling sites get off the ground. Most of them didn't make it. I don't mean that as discouragement, only to say that it's probably going to take a lot of dedicated effort for any new site to succeed.
Thanks for the feedback Rumely. I accept that it will be a "slow-cooker"
I didn't select an answer to your poll, because I have to think about it. I think the interest in evangelism is out there, but whether it will "carry" an entire forum site, I don't know. What I want to do when I get the chance is look at what you have set up and then I'll have a better idea as to what you're working with.
Thanks Rumely. Keep in mind that the Evangelism Forum website is only a couple weeks old so far Thanks for your thoughts.
I would personally prefer to see a "discipleship forum". But I wish you the will of God! (cuz it gets NO better than that!)
Absolutely: The worst inside God's will is better than the best outside of His will. Evangelism is one of the first stepping stones of Discipleship.
Agreed! But as I have stated elsewhere, simply presenting the gospel isn't enough. We're called to "make disciples". So long as an evangelism forum will keep the focus on serving the lost to teacing not merely the "plan of salvation" but the Way...the process, if you will, I think it's terrific!
Thanks for the feedback. I will start a thread / sub-forum dedicated specifically to discipleship because you have reminded me how important it is. Thanks
No, my friend, thank you for undertaking such an important work!
I think there is too much emphasis on evangelism, to the point people with NO gift in any aspect of that ministry feel obligated to go and try to do it. The "go and make disciples" was a challenge given to the Church, not every individual in the church. So, it has become an all too easy way for someone who isn't really strong/confident, sincrely dedicated to their faith, to do "something" so they can make a claim they are there without actually being there.
Not only that, I'm the guy that deals with these people the ungifted tried to evangelize to. There is a lot of offensive deconstruction to do before you even get to talk about God.
You have people like Ray Comfort out there that makes God out to be a fascist dictator, and the best answer those evangelizing has for that is, "No HE LOVES YOU!" Which I have to ask you, if your neighbor made their child sleep out in the unairconditioned shed all summer long because they were misbehaving, who would say that they were loved? But people are threatened with eternal damnation, never see that God is LOVE, because those that claim to be God's are not loving. HOWEVER, they will be really really crappy, mean, bigoted, and call it love and then wonder why people don't come flocking to the Church. OH WAIT, no Calvin took care of that, they aren't called!
So, you have people that go, denigrate, demean, talk down to, explaining they will be in eternal torture and torment, if they don't jump through X, Y, Z, hoops, and this is all to show you God loves you!
That doesn't have to be the words you use, that is the image coming across to those people outside the Church.
The Church isn't growing, you just have members swapping churches. EVEN WITHIN the Church people know it's not right, that's why they keep moving on to find one that is THE one. If it was right, they would stay put. Since the Church isn't growing, which would be the CHURCHes FRUIT, I say judge it by the fruit. It's not GOD that has it wrong, it's us. If it's not growing, then we are doing something wrong. Proudly spitting cliches saying THIS IS HOW IT IS, creates an epic fail.
Please, if you are opening an evangelism forum, buy the book unChristian and read it first.
And keep the cliches to a minimum and in their space add some substance.
May God bless your endeavors, and may you get out of HIS way and let Him do all the work!
(that isn't saying you are a bad thing...)
I think Xian brings up some things worthy of consideration. I haven't yet looked over your site, though I have every intention of doing so ASAP, but I hope that it will encourage those interested in evangelism to really dig into the nature of their own faith, the content of their message, and the nuts and bolts of their techniques so that they will be planting good seed in fertile soil. In other words, I hope that it is challenging as well as encouraging.
Thanks for your thoughts Xian Pugilist,
You have given me some things to think about. I do think it is important not to over-play the "Hell" aspect or use it as your only strategy. I think there are different biblical approaches that need to be engaged under different circumstances. What I mean by this is that if someone recognizes that they need a savior, recognizes that they sin, then tell them all about the LOVE and GRACE of God; tell them about Jesus and how much He loves them. However, most people that I meet on the streets and in every day social interaction are quick to testify to their own goodness and this is without any mention of Hell or punishment. If you ask someone where do they think they will go when they die (again, no mention of hell), they will almost always answer "heaven". If you then ask them why, they will respond with several good things that they do, ie: I try to do the right thing; I am generous with my time; I try not to hurt people; I volunteer; I do more good than bad...I go to Church etc...
So, based upon answers like that, who's goodness do you think they are trusting upon for their salvation:
A: Jesus' goodness?
B: Their own goodness?
If they are basing their answers upon their own goodness (good works), where do you think they will spend eternity I ask you?
If they are walking towards Hell, do you think it is more compassionate and loving for us as Christians to do what:
A: Warn them about hell (in a loving way) and the loving Savior who shed His life's blood to save them
B: Fail to mention hell. Instead tell them about the blessings of the Christian life and hope that that will entice them (despite not knowing what blessings, trials or persecutions they may in fact have ahead of them).
In response to your above post, I am not keen to promote any cliches, only biblical truths with love. I would never make God out to be a fascist dictator. We must be careful not to adjust the "God" that we project. What I mean is, if there are some aspects of God that we cannot understand or justify with our finite minds, we must not water him down or use creative license to make him more appealing. This would be to misrepresent Him. Are we ashamed of our God? Are we molding Him into a God that we are more comfortable, ie: "My God would never send someone to Hell for all of eternity"?
We need to present a balanced representation of our King. It is wrong to hand-pick just the verses about hell and punishment and fail to share the messages of love, compassion and sacrifice. On the flip-side, it is also wrong to just pick out the "God love's you" verses and ignore the Holiness and justice verses.
God knows where people's hearts are and will use different verses to save the lost. Some He will impress with His love and some He will first reach through their hardened hearts by impressing the reality of His justice (then the message of love will make sense). Why would they even want a savior unless they recognize that they need saving? Saving from what?
To understand and appreciate God's incredible mercy, love and grace, we must also recognize his holiness and wrath (Yuck! "wrath"; what a socially unacceptable word to use today! *Images of an aggressive, screaming, doom and gloom tele-preacher come to mind). When we read His Word for ourselves, we read about the holiness of God, the justice and the love of God. Let's not interpret the Bible for the people and feed them only what we "think they can handle". This has been done within the Church in history to dire consequences.
Trust that God in His sovereignty will use the Gospel in it's entirety to reach people.
A little Gospel analogy:
Lets not cut the icing off the top of the cake and serve that up. Icing on it's own is sweet but sickening on its own. It is more delicious and appreciated for it's sweetness when it is combined with the rest of the cake.
Thanks Rumely, yes I agree. It is great challenging each other and this forum has challenged me to give some fresh thought to my techniques and approach when sharing the Gospel.
Indeed, if people believe they have no need of a Savior, they must hear about God's holiness and justice. It is part of the gospel! And then,
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5:21 NIV, which I'll use for witnessing because the wording is simple)
is one of my favorite verses to say after that, because it's the Gospel in a verse.
I like the word "witnessing" because that's basically what we're doing--witnessing of the Lord, and of His word as truth. We pray for that Truth to go forth and do its work. It is the Word of God.
Evangelism Forum, I like that you recognize that we musn't appeal to people's emotions. Just present the Truth (the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth) and let the Lord move in someone's heart.
I follow several blogs, and on one recently were these words. "Truth without love is brutality. Love without truth is a lie." I think that thought applies here.
Great quote Abba's Child. Thanks!
I suppose a few here know my feelings regarding evangelism. The practice of it is not nearly as widespread within Christian churches as it is within nonChristian groups, which is a very sad diagnosis of our condition. I've tried for years and years to get comfortable Christians off the obsessive cycle of meeting after meeting, and out on the streets with me to learn, on-the-job, how to share the gospel, but few were willing. It seems to not be a topic of interest even here.
Much can be learned about evangelism from one another with such a site as this, including how to insert thoughtful, sensible and nonchalant truths of God, such as eternity, morality, accountability, etc. But there first has to be experience enough to share.
Evangelism should be a challenging and very creative expression of our love for truth. Outreach should be explored and adopted into the daily lives of believers. What must take place, however, is a break from the obsession of church meetings in order to get folks out on the streets. I've tried doing it and know firsthand the stubborness and sloth regarding this field of Christian work.
This site should be a place where Christians can gain knowledge in apologetics, cult belief systems, philosophical isms, and other skills that help equip believers to speak the truth in love to a wayward world.
I can't select any of those options.
The option I am looking for is something like ''I feel the Holy Spirit told me to do it, I have available resources and am going to try it, pray for me and may God's will be done''.
We should not have to push a mountain by ourselves. If it doesnt move, it doesnt move. If it does move, it does move.
It is a big problem within Christian church circles where we spend so much time in our little groups and fail to go out and impact the larger society. I like Mark Cahill's 2 questions here: http://www.evangelismforum.org/comp...age-do-you-care-that-people-are-going-to-hell
Christians evangelise where they are. Sometimes going elsewhere to be 'explore creative expressions' are not in God's will, rather ours and our need for self praise. If the Lord does not tell me to do something, I do not do it, as simple as that. I have found myself in enough awkard 'outreaches' where I doubt a single soul was saved.
Lets rather exhort one another to reflect on their day at night and discern how efective they were for God. God spreads us like salt, not we spread ourselves. At the same time however I am fully supportive of your notion to be pro-active. If we have available time / resources, by all means find a place that we can be effective for the Lord. But ultimately the subtle guilt trip placed on those that are not active is not fair. My ''spare'' time away from work (mission field) and available resources go to my brothers and sisters in Christ, blood family and only IF God calls me too, once-off strangers outside of my current mission field.