Contend Earnestly: Evangelism for Today: Part I

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Evangelism for Today: Part I

I have been around the church for my whole life. My dad was a lay pastor for the SBC all around southern Oklahoma until I was 12 years old. Then we moved up to Seattle where my dad, again, was called to be a lay pastor. I have done so many different kinds of evangelism it is close to ridiculous and very overwhelming. I also own an investment firm and have been an investment advisor for the past 10 years. It is easy to see the crossover in marketing my business and marketing Jesus. I know that sounds weird and crass, but it is true. The way some of us evangelize is simply by marketing Christ, hoping our clientele will buy Jesus instead of Mohammad or Gandhi. The saying in my business is that whether you do seminars, direct mailers, cold calling, etc. they are all equally ineffective, so just pick one and put all your might into it.

Sometimes I feel like this with evangelism. We are fighting a fight that seems impossible, and truly is without the Holy Spirit. We see the battle and it looks like we are losing, our evangelism, like marketing, seems to all be equally ineffective. The issue here though, is that evangelism and marketing are not equals. We cannot just look at results and deem one to be better than another. Although I know a lot of people do this within Christendom, this is not a godly way to go about ensuring the faithful proclamation of God's gospel.

Now, do we simply throw out looking at numbers of conversion altogether and ignore it? I would say no. But, my point is that numbers cannot be our end all to what makes a faithful proclamation.

What me must do is be faithful in our contextualization of the Gospel message to those around us. We must balance our culture with how we proclaim. Will this change the message? Not with a faithful proclamation. We have to know that although we might change how we tell the message, the message itself is still the same. We are sinners in need of a Saviour who came, lived among us, died for us and rose for us so that he might bring us to God. How to get this across to some might prove to be a difficult one and one that requires some thought by the one delivering the message. The problem today is less thought is going on and more and more people are just buying into other's marketing techniques without looking at the culture Christ has called them. Just because it works in Florida, doesn't mean that it will work in Seattle, or in Nampula, Mozambique.

How I tell the gospel to one of my 60 year old clients is going to be very different than how I tell the gospel to one of my buddies who hangs out with me watching football and smoking stogies. Notice the way I tell them is different, but not the actual message. The way that I go about telling the message to someone who is homeless and starving will also be quite different. I would say that if you are telling/showing the gospel in the same way to each of these groups, you are being careless with your gospel proclamation.

What I want to explore in the next few posts is in what ways people are currently sharing the Gospel and then give you my conclusion on some ways that are faithful to the word of God in how the message is presented.

I will be upfront. I have been involved in a lot of different ways in sharing. I have gone door to door, I have handed out tracts, gone to and participated in tent revivals, I have done The Way of the Master Method, I have fed the homeless, I have done some missions work and I have also done the "smile and hope they notice I am a Christian" method. I am hoping to get some discussion while we go through these different methods and try to show a good biblical understanding of what it means to be a faithful minister of the Gospel of Christ.


Jailer said...

Seth -- you and I are on a similar wavelength today:
- Jailer

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