New Evangelism or Old Evangelism

jordantmoody —  August 17, 2012 — 2 Comments

Are the ways of Old Evangelism dying and moving onto other motives and methods?

How do you do it (Evangelism)?

” In fact, have you noticed how fewer people are coming to Christ these days in our church? In my opinion, that’s because we’ve been trying to convert people the old way, a way that doesn’t work any longer. People aren’t feeling guilty about their sins, and they’re not interested in hearing about forgiveness because they don’t feel the need to be forgiven. And furthermore, as I’ve tried to emphasize, they’re not impressed with our truth because they’ve got their own truth that they believe to be just as good.”

So what are you telling us? That there’s no more evangelism? Ted asked.

No, I’m not saying that at all. But there may be new ways to evangelize and to do church. The old way is becoming obsolete and ineffective.”

– page 65-66 from Who Stole My Church by Gordon MacDonald

 

1. What do you think?

2. What are the new ways to do evangelism?

3. How do you go about it if you are a traditional church moving into the 21st century?

I would love some feedback and help. 

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jordantmoody

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I'm a Pastor/Teaching Elder at Hope Fellowship Church in New Ipswich, NH.

2 responses to New Evangelism or Old Evangelism

  1. 

    1. What do you think?
    Read Romans 1:18-32…it explains it quite well. Although people know God and know He is the Creator, they are not thankful. When all of their godless theories and atheistic explanations fail, they would rather believe in aliens than believe in God. So, what we are seeing is God’s judgement on all of us as he gives us over to a debased mind do all kinds of evil things…and we (yes, I include Christians) not only approve of those things worthy of death but approve of others who do the same.
    Why did I say “we”? Because, right along with homosexuality, murder (e.g. abortion, hatred), sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, etc., there is murder (hate), strife (who cares what the Bible says, let’s argue), deceit, gossip, and the primary “Christian offenses: unloving, unmerciful, and unforgiving.
    The lost of this world are doing what comes naturally. They are wandering around in the dark. Yet Christians are not providing the light. We would rather fit in and adjust than be separate.
    If the world is to change, then Christians need to change. We need to stop loving our own selves so much and start loving other Christians and the lost as Jesus Christ, who puts the “Christ” in “Christian, has commanded it.
    In other words, we need to stop complaining about the symptons and fix the root cause: US
    (and almost every time I say this to a Christian, they get really irritated with me)

    2. What are the new ways to do evangelism?
    Read Acts Chapters 1-4. The “new way” to evangelism needs to go back to the original “new way”, which is the “old way’. So many things that we associate with that “Old Time Religion” are really not very biblical…self-righteousness and well…I don’t want to go through the list again.
    The “new way” to evangelism is this:
    a. Love one another as Christ loves us, so that people will know that we are His disciples. In other words, help each other through tough times (physical,, financial, emotional, spiritual); correct one another with love; restore one another with love.. Lost people should look at Christians’ love for one another andn say “Hey, I want that.”
    b. Preach the gospel as opportunities arise. How many times do we get into discussions at work or at dinner with colleagues and then shut our mouths so others won’t get offended by what we believe. Others talk about what they believe, why shouldn’t we. Just because it’s what we believe, doesn’t mean others have to. But, if we love other people, they should hear the Truth.
    c. Seek out opportunities to spread the gospel…even if it’s just going to the corner coffee shop to study your Bible and pray regularly. If your life is reflecting your Bible study and prayer, people will be drawn towards you.
    d. After someone accepts Jesus Christ as their Saviour, then encourage them, help them, nurturre them. In other words, don’t put the “W” in your celestial rewards column and move on to the next target…back to that “love” thing again.

    3. How do you go about it if you are a traditional church moving into the 21st century?
    a. Read the Bible and pray
    b. Discuss within the church body – analyze the current things you are doing and question every one of them…is the practice Biblical? Does the Bible not really take a stance? Does the practice cause divisions within the church? Is the proposed change expressly forbidden by the Bible? Does God get the glory? Just because something has been done for a long time, doesn’t make it right.
    c. Develop an implementation plan – people, by their very nature, are resistant to change. Therefore, realize that change is a process and one that may take time. You can take the scorched earth approach, but it’s not very merciful or loving or forgiving…and that’s not very Biblical. Realize that the condition got that way over time and some time may be needed to get things to the way they ought to be. God is not a respecter of persons, therefore it is ungodly to think it’s OK for a church to pick and choose who is / is not worthy of staying or going. If the person is a godly person and is seeking God, then the best fit should be sought.
    d. Realize that not all resistance is bad…some of it is natural…remember point c.? People hate change; however, if you see them trying to go along with the change and at times getting frustrated, respect the fact that they are trying to change and help them along.
    e. Remember this always: 1 Corinthians 13:1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

    And love really is the bottom line to all of this. Remember, God commended his love towards us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

    • 

      I think in one sense there is no real difference between “old” and “new” evangelism. Faith comes from hearing, and hearing from the Word of God. How will they hear without a preacher? God has chosen through the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe. So, if people are going to be saved, then God is going to use the message of the gospel through his Word to save them. However, God uses us to convey this message, and we have to get people to a point where they are willing to actually hear and listen.

      I think what this guys is getting at in his book is that in the “old days” people were already at this point. Most people you meet on the street had a basic knowledge of God and the Bible. They were more willing to listen and even respond. Today their are significant hurdles to even getting people to the starting point where you can begin to explain the gospel to them. This is especially so with the ever-shortening generation gap brought on by recent technology. One of my professors said something to the effect that there are as many cultural hurdles for a 55 year old church leader teaching a college class in his own culture as there would be for him to teach the same class to a Chinese culture. I don’t think he was far off.

      Here are some of the hurdles I think we face today in getting people to the point where they will seriously consider our message.

      1. Post-modernism
      We live in a post-modern-truth-is-relative age. Even if people do listen to us they don’t see anything (even their own beliefs) as absolute. This philosophy is self-defeating and actually impossible to hold, but this is where a lot of people are at.

      2. Atheism
      Increasingly people don’t even believe that there is a God let alone one that they need to come to for salvation. One of the first things we may need to do in evangelism is lovingly argue for the existence of God. This is what Paul in fact does in Romans 1 before explaining the rest of the gospel.

      ** These first two things are world-view issues. I think what we are seeing is that today the world view of most people predisposes them to discount our message whereas this wasn’t as much the case before.

      3. Relationships
      This really isn’t a part of the “new” evangelism at all. It’s what you could probably trace in any long-term successful evangelism endeavor. It’s what Jesus did. He genuinely cared for people, and people listened to his message.

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