Re-Imagining Evangelism

Sorry I haven’t posted for a while, life has gotten busy and the blog went on the back burner.

While I have been away from the blogosphere I have been reading several books; mainly on Post-Modern culture and the Emerging Church. Besides being that the title “emergent church” is a little arrogant and feeling that this move is almost exclusively, at least in its presentation, frustrated, middle-class whites, I have my issues with a lot of emergent churches and their theology. That being said I also have a great deal of respect for some that are engaged in that movement. I have found several books and sermons by emergent leaders encouraging, challenging and thought provoking (even when I have disagreed) and know some quality brothers and sisters in Christ who are “emergent”.

One book I read, Re-Imagining Evangelism by Rich Richardson , which is more about post-modern evangelism rather than the emergent church, gives an excellent revamp of how we do evangelism and implores Christians to move away from using a model of scripted testimony towards a model of organic, everyday, constant and honest sharing of our lives. Richardson also emphasizes the role of the Holy Spirit and that we shouldn’t just run rampant in our evangelism, but that we should be guided. At one point Richardson says the simplest thing, do things with non-Christians, but it is said in the best of ways and really puts evangelism back into the context it is supposed to be in.

. . . coach baseball for your kids (if that is fun to you). Or golf every week. Attend plays, Join a writing group. Take a course that interests you. Join a fly fishing club or fantasy league or a video clue or a bridge Group or a ski club. Do something you love – and don’t do it just with church friends or in a church league. Have fun with people who don’t yet know Jesus

Christians often tell me they just don’t have time to add anything else to their stressed-out life. They feel guilty because they don’t have any spiritual friendships with people far from God, so they feel like they are supposed to add another responsibility, or they carry the guild of falling short once again in their Christian duty. You feel guilty because you are no fulfilling your Christian duty of having more fun? How crazy is that?

Jettison it all! Now, if your intention is to build friendships just to convert people, forget it. You won’t feel genuine and the other person won’t like being your project. But if you need a good time and want to let go of your burdens for a while, just do it! And find a way to do what you love with some people who are outside the church. Many of them are more into having fun than we are, not so serious about themselves.

It is important to dispel on misconception people may have about what I am saying. Obviously God wants those of us who follow Jesus to live like Jesus. Jesus hung out all the time with sinners and tax collectors and party people live Levi, who seemed to know a lot more about having fun than the religious types did. But Jesus was also different from the people he hung out with. He certainly wasn’t hung up on rules, but he was filled with lobe and had fun in ways that still honored God and God’s ways. Yes, God still wants saints, people set apart to God. But God wants human saints not plaster saints.

You may not be at a point where you can skip church activities and party with the pagans – you might feel yourself becoming a pagan if you partied with the pagans! Certain situations or environments influence you too much. You certainly need to know your own limitations and to avoid any activities and experiences that pull you away from following Jesus. But you can still do something you love, and you can still do it with people who don’t yet know Jesus

I would advise anyone to read this book and marinate on how our lives are evangelistic tools. For, me this book verbalized many of my opinions about personal evangelism (there is am important role for corporate evangelism, but that is not for everyone).

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