Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Personal Evangelism

In preparing for tonight's small group time during youth group I read an interesting article by Bob Deffinbaugh who is a pastor/teacher and elder at Community Bible Chapel in Richardson, Texas. If you would like to read the full article just click here. I thought I would share a little of it with you.

Bob has challenged us to take a long hard look at what we call "personal evangelism." Bob doesn't discount personal evangelism as a method of evangelism and even shows that Jesus used it himself, but he does say it can be a "sacred cow" to many Christians. Let me show you what he means through his own words.

"Let me remind you that it is nearly always a “good thing” which becomes a kind of sacred cow. Personal evangelism is a marvelous thing. Many of you were brought to faith in Christ through the personal witness and evangelism of an acquaintance. But personal evangelism seems to have become the means to evangelize, rather than a means of reaching the lost for Christ. It is the method which most of us prefer. It is, at times, a method which can hinder other methods of evangelism. When we insist on using the method of “personal evangelism” when we should be employing another method, we have made it a sacred cow, and it is time for making hamburger."

I have to admit that I have fallen for such a trap and I have done it for the reasons Bob implies in his article. I think the reason many people have come to the conclusion that personal evangelism is the only way to evangelize is because it gives them sort of a buffer against any or convictions about their "evangelism." You see, how can you tell someone they aren't evangelizing if they "believe" that it is done through personal relationships and "letting their light shine" for all to see. In reality I think it can be one huge copout to do what God has called us to do. "Therefor go and make disciples..."

Through my personal study with God (see the SOAP studies) He has been convicting me on my ideas of evangelism. The truth is, the Gospel message has got to be proclaimed!! Yes it can happen in personal evangelism but Jesus was never a person to just stick to one method and neither should we. We live in an age of relative peace (at least here in the US) and in an age of technology. What I mean by peace is, for the most part, we don't have to fear major consequences for sharing the Gospel. Yes I am sure there are people who suffer physically and socially for their boldness, but here in the US it is probably mostly social suffering and very little physical suffering. What is there to stop us from telling people about God?

When talking about technology I am referring to the many "new" ways that exist to tell people about the Gospel. We live in an age of endless possibilities and they can only go as far as the imagination goes. Each of us has got to be thinking about a way, that should be used in conjunction with our gifts (and others' gifts) to proclaim the good news to this world.

There are around 30,000 people in Kingman. There are roughly 30 - 40 churches in Kingman with average congregation sizes of around 30 to 40. Not all of these churches are evangelizing, but lets say all of them were. Doing the math we would come up with roughly 1,600 Christians. I would say there are probably more than that being that there are a lot of people who say they are Christian but don't attend a church, but for the sake of argument let us just say there are about 2,000 committed Christians in our community. There are 30,000 people, not to mention the surrounding areas. That comes to about 15 unchurched people for every Christian that lives in Kingman. Fifteen people!!! That's it, but unfortunately the message isn't getting out because we are still at 30-40 churches who have an average congregation size of 30-40 people and its been that way for quite sometime.

What am I trying to say in all this? There are a few of us who have got to pick up the slack!!! We can't allow the idea that "personal evangelism is the only way to evangelize" when there are so many people in desperate need of Jesus Christ. We have to be creative!! We have to develop ways to reach the masses!! There needs to be an urgency in doing this.

I want to challenge all of us (especially the 15 or so people who regularly read this blog) to step it up. The message has got to be proclaimed and we can't wait around for other Christians to start doing it. We have to lead the way. God has gifted all of us in various different ways. We are not being faithful with what God has given us if we are not using it to share the Gospel. Collaborate, brainstorm and come up with ways we can do this. My prayer is that KCC would lead the way!!!

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