Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tuesday morning evangelistic smack-down, #21

A precious story from the front lines and my incoming e-mail:

"We have a para-plegic woman who attends our church who had a severe auto accident 15 yrs ago. She had a long and painful recovery during which her husband left her and took their two children. Her parents took over her care. She was told by one doctor that she would never get out of bed. She now can walk with a walker. Her motor skills are severely limited and she has trouble speaking so that we can understand her--but it doesn't stop her from trying. She can't sing, so during our worship she yells out and stands. That's her way to worship. She had been attending a church which asked her not to do that. It took some getting used to, but now we love it. Since we started public worship services at --------------- in September, she has missed only a few Sundays due to a knee operation. She has been an inspiration to us about not giving up. Whenever we get to feeling wimpy, we just look at ----------- which gives us an instant attitude adjustment."

Matt: I think I speak for most churches in love with Jesus that if yelling is all you can do to praise the Lord, come yell with us!

Divine moments
"God can and does use multiple spiritual resources as He creates divine moments that cause growth in people's lives. You may be thinking, 'What do you mean by "divine moment?'" A divine moment is a spiritual step of obedience a person takes, in response to the Holy Spirit's prompting. It always involves a person somewhere along the process of moving from 'pre-Christian' to becoming a 'global disciple.' The decision to begin attending a church, saving faith becoming personal, a decision for baptism, becoming a self-feeding Christian, joining a Sunday School class or small group, desiring spiritual growth and accountability, joining the church, becoming a worshiper, experiencing and growing in sanctification, getting involved in the church, using spiritual gifts in meaningful ministry, becoming a tither, giving beyond the tithe to the mission of Christianity worldwide, engaging in personal witnessing, are all steps in this process.

"How would you like to have a church filled with people taking these kinds of spiritual steps?....Are you regularly and specifically praying for them to happen?" (Larry McKain, Falling in Love With the Church)

How to personally evangelize

1. Identify your unchurched friends, relatives, associates and neighbors. Everybody has them, we typically don't identify them for purposes of redemption, however. Spend 90% of your evangelistic energy here. It is the most fruitful avenue of spreading the good news. "Stranger evangelism" typically doesn't work.

2. Pray daily, regularly for two months (and then more) that God would go before you and pave the way for their salvation.

3. Lovingly "touch" them 5-10 times. The more, the great their receptivity. Love is a powerful resource of the Christian, and too underutilized. A "touch" includes things like taking them out to eat, being there in compassionate ways when tragedy strikes, taking care of their kids so he can take his wife out on a date, etc.

4. Let them hear the gospel message three times, preferably from your own testimony.

5. Challenge them to pray with you, and then to come with you to your dynamic, discipling church.

6. Go with them to the discipling dynamics of your church, and help them to make seven or more friends in the church ASAP.

7. Repeat. But always remember - prayer, love and testimony are a powerful trinity of tools for the salvation of the world.

Old books you need in your library

To Dream Again, by Robert Dale (talks about the life cycle of the church and how your church can "Dream Again" and budge out of decline and even death).

Daws, by Betty Lee Skinner (the inspiring story of Dawson Trotman, founder of the, really inspiring)

Nothing to Do But to Save Souls, by Robert Coleman (you cannot put enough study into how John Wesley sparked a revival that still reverberates...and when Coleman says it, you can believe it)

Old books? Sure they are probably out of print. Get on the internet and find them. They are cheap and better than what is being published today.

And a New Movie!
Check out the great new movie on William Wilberforce called Amazing Grace. Trailer here.



At 11:28 PM, Blogger Marshall said...

the how to evangelize list is a great list by which Church Planters must take seriously to reach people. I am not selling a product I am trying to point people to another - Jesus Christ.

At 11:20 AM, Blogger Melanie said...

Hi there,
I was reading over your "personal evangelism" section and had a couple of questions. Do you have any evidence that "stranger evangelism" typically doesn't work?

Why do 80-90% of those making a decision for Christ fall away from the faith? What is the principle that Spurgeon, Wesley, Whitefield, etc., used to reach the lost? Why has the Church neglected it? Don't let anything stop you from listening to this incredible teaching

At 12:19 PM, Blogger Matt Friedeman said...


In survey after survey, networks of relationships (friends, relatives, associates and neighbors) are found effective for evangelism 70-90 percent of the time. Everything else falls far behind these networks.

This quote illustrates this dynamic historically:

"But the very strength of Whitefield’s model of revivalism was also its weakness. It appealed to people who were either bored with the predictable parish routine or entirely alienated from religious and civic institutions, but it largely failed to provide them with follow-up spiritual nurture after the spiritual event. In America and Scotland, where the established churches shared his Calvinistic doctrinal convictions, Whitefield could depend on the local clergy to reap where he had sown—and often they were glad to oblige. In England, where the state church was often hostile to his doctrines and methods, he established a 'connexion' of societies under the patronage of the Countess of Huntingdon. But organizational skill was not Whitefield’s specialty. 'My brother Wesley acted wisely,' he observed with a mixture of sadness and envy. 'The souls that were awakened under his ministry he joined in class and thus preserved the fruits of his labors. This I neglected and my people are a rope of sand.' After his death, most of 'his people' joined Dissenting churches."

At 2:25 PM, Blogger Melanie said...

Thanks for your thoughts on that. Which surveys are you refering to?
I think we can look to the Bible for our direction in life instead of surveys. Upon looking to the Bible, I have found that neither the disciples nor any of the Apostles talked to only those people whom they were acquainted with.

Did you get a chance to listen to that teaching?

At 2:39 PM, Blogger Matt Friedeman said...


Surveys like the several thousand sample survey of the Arn's noted in The Master's Plan for Making Disciples...

With variation by region, culture and class, 75 percent to 90 percent report a friend or relative as the one factor most responsible for saying yes to Christ and joining the church.

And I believe in biblical evangelism, too. Read Acts and noted the thousands upon thousands - sometimes whole towns at one time - who come to Christ by the obvious path of friends, relatives, associates and neighbors.

Not the only way...but by far the best way to spread the gospel is through social networks.



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