Friday, February 05, 2010

Evangelism reflections

Currently our congregation is having a year focussed on becoming an evangelistic community, under the umbrella of the Year of Evangelism

Each fortnight in the bulletin there is a short reflection on what it means to be living as an evangelising community

Here are some of the reflections that you or your congregation may find helpful.....

What do we mean by 2010 being a Year of Evangelism? Part 1
In essence, it’s about us as Christians making a decision to stand out from those we live with, those we work with and mix with. It’s about putting our head up and saying I believe Jesus is the way, the truth and the only way to the Father. It’s about saying I have assurance of salvation and you can too if you accept Jesus as your saviour.
In Acts 5.42 it says “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they (the apostles) never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.” Whilst we continue to preach the gospel from our church, the most effective way is to do it in our homes – our work place –at the sports ground. The apostles knew this even 2,000 years ago. Most people will never enter a church to hear about Jesus but they can hear about Him in their everyday lives. That’s what this year of evangelism is about –putting our heads and hands up and saying to those who don’t know Jesus – I have something you need too!
Is it just for one year? No it’s for a lifetime – but let’s start now!

What do we mean by 2010 being a Year of Evangelism? Part 2
It is about discipleship.

“I do not live anymore – it is Christ who lives in me”. Galatians 2.20. We have things to do and schedules to keep up with. But God has work to do too! He uses our hands to do it. ‘What the hand is to the glove, the Spirit is to the Christian. God gets into us. At times, imperceptibly. Other times, disruptively. God gets his fingers into our lives, inch by inch reclaiming territory that is rightfully his.
Your tongue: He claims it for his message.
Your feet: He requisitions them for his purpose.
Your mind: He made it and intends to use it for his glory.
Your eyes, face and hands: Through them he will weep, smile and touch.’
From COME THIRSTY by Max Lucado.
By the year of evangelism we mean a lifetime of discipleship.

Year of Evangelism Part 3
Walking through open doors

“ because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are
many who oppose me.” 1 Corinthians 16:9
An essential way of thinking for every Christian is to see what happens in our lives, as opportunities or doors open to bring God and His love into the lives of others. As we live in the Year of Evangelism this will be an important concept for you and me to implement regardless of whether life is good or bad. The scriptures highlight that an open door does no mean it will be comfortable or easy, but rather simply that there is an opportunity to share the gospel, to bring
God’s love into someone else’s life. The Year of Evangelism means looking at every aspect of our lives and asking what opportunities exist for me to share God with others verbally and through my actions, even though there maybe opposition. Start thinking what are the open doors in my life.
Be prepared to walk through them, remember you are not doing the walking alone.

Year of Evangelism reflection part 4
The main reason for the church: to receive and give.
The most valuable gift available to anyone is God’s gift of salvation. St Paul highlights that this is a valuable gift when he refers to as a prize or a trophy. And it is through the church, the community of Christians that God makes this gift available. So as a church we are in a unique situation. We receive God’s valuable gift, but it does not remain just with us. We are also called to share the gift with others. These are the prime reasons for the church to
exist, to receive and share God’s gift of salvation. The year of evangelism is about everyone in our congregation being involved in receiving God’s gift of salvation and sharing this valuable gift with others through words and actions. And everything we do needs to support and encourage us in receiving God’s gift and sharing His gift.

Year of Evangelism part 5

Evangelising is about REALLY GOOD NEWS
The word evangelism has it’s roots in a Greek word that pops up all over the New Testament. Euangelion means “good news.” And we mean really good news – the kind that stops the presses, the kind that calls for a special news bulletin and sets the blogosphere on fire.
News so good it left a priest named Zechariah speechless (Luke 1:19-20) and got the angels singing (Luke 2:10). The kind of news that reaches even the deafest ears and gets the lame dancing, news that could wake the dead (Luke 7:22). I am talking about the news that
Jesus himself came preaching (Matthew 4:23). This news came to each of us at some point in our lives. God’s dream is for everyone to hear it. And God’s only plan is to make sure that happens through evangelical people like you and me.
From the book Reclaiming the Eword
Pastor Kelly Fryer

Year of Evangelism part 6

What is the year of evangelism is about:
• Recognising and believing there is no other way to eternal life other than through Jesus.
• Developing and having a heart for those people who are not connected to God.
• It is about doing whatever it takes to connect people to God.
• Sharing the gifts God has given you with others, in ways that help them!
• Understanding that God can use you and your current situation to deliver His Good News into other people’s lives.
• Realising there is more than one way to evangelise.
• Starting and being involved in spiritual conversations with others.
• Knowing and sharing your personal testimony.
• Understanding what the Gospel is…
• Leading people to Christ and the life He is offering
• Dealing with questions and objections relating to the faith.

Year of Evangelism part 7

The Year of Evangelism is about….. helping others with their doubts
Whether or not we find witnessing comfortable, there is a rapidly increasing need for believers to have the courage and ability to defend and commend the Christian faith to those who doubt. The reason is obvious. We are living in an age of escalating scepticism, humanism, scientism and materialism where more and more people have difficulty in believing in a God they cannot see or who doesn’t deliver when they demand. This environment makes it difficult for people not to have doubts. Not only this but many people may feel that the church maybe a believing community but it is not a thinking community. Consequently the sceptical thinker may assume they have to surrender their mind to believe in the God of the Bible. All this points to the compelling need to learn to answer doubting questions. That is why we need to learn to witness effectively to the sceptic, in ways that are helpful to them, understood by them and makes sense. In doing so we are helping people deal with their doubts.
But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess. 1Peter 3:15
Adapted from How to Respond to a sceptic…Lewis Drummond

Year of Evangelism part 8

The Year of Evangelism is about….. Cultivating relationships
We live in a world that relies on relationships. Since people and God’s Word are the only two things that continue from this life to the next, developing relationships is the most important thing God calls us to do. Remember all of Jesus’ instructions? Love your neighbour (Matt 19:19); love your enemies (Luke 6:27); “consider others more important than yourself” (Phil 2:3); “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13). Jesus was emphatic that relationships are derived from business and work. When we go and build relationships, we are beginning God’s call to go and make disciples, and this work needs to continue. George Barna’s organisation has done extensive research into the psyche of people. One of the most telling facts that Barna unearthed relate to how adults become Christians or recommit to God. More than 80% of the time it is through a trusted friend, connecting them to Jesus and his other friends we know as the church. And where are people developing trusted friendships often? It is at the office, at work, in school communities, at shops, etc. Evangelism begins with building friendships, which begin when we have an interest in others and accept people warts and all.
Adapted from an article by Reggie Campbell “Taking your faith to work”

Year of Evangelism part 10

The Year of Evangelism is about….. being authentic
People are not expecting Christians to be perfect, but to be authentic. And by this they mean living out what we say we believe. People are looking to see that how we act in our lives, reflect the God of love and grace we talk about. Now the reality is we can’t do this alone. Our natural way of living will not always reflect God’s approach to life. To be authentic we need to allow God to continually mould and shape us. Are you praying and reading the bible, worshipping and being part of a small group with a heart open to God speaking to you? Are you listening to how God would love to be portrayed through you? You see being authentic is not remaining and being who you are without God, but being who you are as a result of God influencing and changing you. And as a result others develop a trust in the God who loves through you.