Monday, December 15, 2014

Discussion Starters: Evangelism involves

Evangelism involves discussion starters are short articles to encourage members in their life as Christians.
The following discussion starters first appeared in the Bulletin/toolkit of the Portland-Heywood Lutheran Church in May and June.   You can you use them in your bulletin or newsletter or as a discussion starter at a meeting...
After reading them you may want to ask the following questions:
What did you think of that discussion starter?
What does it mean for our community or congregation?
What is one thing this discussion starter is prompting us to do or change?

Evangelism involves reaching out to all age groups including seniors
Statistics show as a percentage of the population there will be a higher portion of people over 65 in the future (now this does not mean the number of young people is declining in fact they are growing as well in numbers but declining as a percentage of the population. And even though they say the church is getting older we know that not every older person is part of a Christian community or has faith in Jesus… Some older people have deep hurts and regrets, others desire community, some are so battered through life experiences they question if there is a loving God, others are struggling to cope with change, some need an avenue to express their gifts, others are coping with health issues that is affecting theme physically and emotionally, some are looking for what was in the past, some are enjoying life now….and the list continues….The starting point in reaching out to seniors is no different to the starting point in reaching out to anyone else….be prepared to spend time with a senior person in your community..
How might your church community best reach out to older people?

Evangelism isn’t a One-Time Deal…
Read and take notice of Acts 8:36-40 (one of the coolest sections in the Bible… God literally teleports someone)!! The eunuch receives Christ, is baptised, and then God moves Phillip
somewhere else to KEEP proclaiming Christ. We are NEVER done with this…God has strategically placed each one of us in places of work, in neighbourhoods, and in certain social situations NOT for our comfort… but rather He placed us there with specific relationships so that we can literally tell others about Jesus! It’s NOT a one-time deal…it’s a core value that we must embrace in our lives if we are going to follow Christ!....
What relationships do you have now....that give you the opportunity to share Christ?

Evangelism requires the Holy Spirit which means we need to be regularly worshipping and studying the bible
Martin Luther explains that the bible reminds us that we cannot by our own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called us by the Gospel, enlightened us with His gifts, sanctified and keeps us in the true faith (explanation to the 3rd article of the Apostles Creed). Worship and regular bible study are
therefore essential both for anyone who is involved in God’s mission and evangelism and at the same time it is important to lead people to God through bible study and worship as it is
through these activities that the Holy Spirit calls people to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Evangelism requires having a good relationship with God
For us to be involved in God’s mission, means God working in us and through us…It means us have an understanding of what God is on about so we can share with others what we know of the God who not only loves us but everyone…Our relationship with God develops as we love and study God’s Word, pray daily with Him, ask what does it mean for us to be more Christ like, ask for God’s Spirit to fill us and work in us and through us, ask God to reveal our sins, confess our sins and receive His love, forgiveness and guidance, and ask God’s help to see people as He sees them. All this involves dedicating time with God so your relationship with Him grows.

Evangelism involves being God’s witnesses everywhere
Acts chapter 1 verse 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of
the earth; is a reminder to us that being a Christian witness involves being a Christian witness everywhere… home, in your street, in your town, in your shire or region, in your state, in your country and throughout the world. Take some time this week to pray for God to fill you with His Spirit and to show you what it means for you to be His witness everywhere….

Evangelism must come back to a conversation about Jesus
It is important to remember we are called to PROCLAIM CHRIST! Notice in Acts 8:31-35 that Phillip began where the eunuch was and brought the conversation back around to JESUS! It HAS TO come back to Christ…our conversations with people can go in many different directions…political and sociological…however evangelism needs to always lead to a conversation about Jesus… no one EVER turned to Christ because they had all of their questions answered!!! Always bring your conversations around to JESUS!

PLEASE understand this…if Phillip had simply said, “I am not going to share Christ with him…I’m just going to buy him a cup of coffee and give him a warm smile,” then we would have had nothing more than a story about a caffeinated eunuch who felt good about himself for a moment but NEVER HEARD ABOUT JESUS! THAT IS A BAD STORY!

Evangelism is about exploring and sharing stories
Everyone person has not just a story…but numerous stories that help them understand and explain their life. As Christians not only has God played a significant role in our story and our stories, we are in fact part of His story. Seeing life this way places God as the main
character and author of our stories giving us a good perspective of our life. Importantly it also helps us link with other people and their stories. Take some time to think about your story and think about how and where has God been part of your story. Then also think about

how is God encouraging you to interact with other people’s stories.

Evangelism involves being normal!!!!
Do you notice in Acts 8:29-30 that Phillip does not say, “Hello, hell-bound sinner, did you know that unless you repent of your sin and give your life to Jesus, you are going to fry like bacon in a devil’s hell?” He did not scream, yell, or hold up signs. He simply listened to the Spirit, ran up to the chariot (at times we will need to chase after people), and asked a simple question, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

It’s amazing the opportunities that God puts in front of us every single day…and when we see them and embrace them, we simply need to be normal, engage with people in conversation, and communicate that we are interested in them.

Evangelism involves praying for and looking for Open Doors
Colossians 4 verses 2 and 3 says, Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.
Open doors can’t be taken for granted. There will be times when it is difficult or appears impossible to share the gospel, because people are resistant to the gospel. Open doors happen when the hearts of an individual is open and receptive to God’s truth. Often for us to
experience an open door we need to have developed a relationship with a persona and be prepared to get in a conversations with people….then we need to have our eyes, ears and minds open to notice when people are open to receive the Gospel.

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