A helpful 17 minute talk by Becky Pippert on evangelism in our current context.

http://conversation.lausanne.org/uploads/networks/images/2/player.swf

1. We lack MOTIVATION
a. We have focused on techniques to the detriment of actually evagelizing.
b. Theology impacts our methodology
c. THEREFORE: We must begin with God
i. He is loving
ii. He is powerful
d. This is the deepest motivation
2. Do we have a MODEL?
a. We do: The doctrine of the Incarnation
b. Reflection on the Incarnation will motivate
c. “As the Father sent the Son, so he has sent us”
i. Birth
ii. Life & Ministry
1. The Kingdom of God is relational
2. Love God and Neighbor
a. The foundation of evangelism needs to be relationship because we reflect the Trinity to our world.
b. How do I maintain my identity and walk alongside unbelievers
3. Jesus was radically identified in:
a. Love
b. Holiness
c. Authenticity, credibility, and spiritual power
4. So much of or evangelism is “hit and run” rather than getting in the mix with people
a. We are surrounded (and pursue) Christian relationships, but do not get out of our salt shaker
iii. Death
iv. Resurrection
v. Ascension
3. We do need METHODS
a. This must reflect the theology we believe
b. How do you go from a natural conversation to a spiritual one?
i. By teaching people how to ASK QUESTIONS
ii. What is the passion of the person to whom you are speaking
iii. Ask them about general interests
iv. Then you move into specifics
v. Then the belief question

An EXAMPLE
c. Pippert went to an agrarian community and asked these questions:
i. How are your crops?
ii. How are you dealing with the stress?
iii. Have you found a way of dealing with the stress that doesn’t make you worse, but better?
iv. Do you think there is a God who can help you deal with the stress?
d. We Need to STATE THE GOSPEL
i. Sin
ii. Redemption
iii. Transformation
e. We need to be relevant and speak about things that are eternal
f. We need to rediscover the irresistible Jesus?
i. The world hasn’t a clue what Jesus is like.
ii. We need to stun people with the fact that the religious hated Jesus and the outcasts loved him
iii. The chief complaint about the God-Man was that he wasn’t religious enough.
iv. Too many times people think our devotion to Christ means that he helps us with our devotions and keeps us from cussing.
v. We need to show them that Jesus never walks away from people who struggle with eating disorders, violence, brokenness. He wades into the mess.
g. We can do this through small group evangelism.
i. A Bible Study for non-Christians–seeker Bible studies

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Less Hype. More Humility.

Please. Embedded in our consumeristic culture, there is the assumption that newer is better than older–though I prefer aged beef and cheddar to new. There is the assumption that grand and renovated and powerful is preferable to meek and lowly and weak.

The church often adopts this form of communicating in an effort to gather people into its doors. “God is doing awesome things here at Church _______.” The fact is that God is doing awesome things everyday and everywhere. He’s sustained your life. He’s given you sight and hearing and legs. And if you have none or only one of these, he’s still given you life and a mind to engage the world around you. Truly miraculous. What is more, is God not also doing something in the old, decrepit church that meets faithfully every Sunday? Is God not at work in the mundane? Is the changing of laundry and washing of dishes and working through an argument devoid of God’s presence?

I see so many churches trying to drum up excitement about the latest outreach or project, when what our culture needs is the staying power and sobriety of faithfulness in the ho-hum drudgery of going to a job you hate or a marriage that is contentious. What we need is not more hype, but more humility. More service and less heavy-handedness. We need more gentleness and less power grabs.

If we don’t, what then becomes of the senior citizen who is tired? What becomes of the baby who is sleeping? What becomes of the unemployed and outcast and burdened? They are forgotten. They are seen as less valuable because they aren’t producing the kind of energy requisite for assumed faithfulness to the disciples’ call.

In reality, we need less loud voices and red faces and sweaty brows and more silence and calmness and a deep well of contentment.

The New Economics Will Be People

So I went to a coffee shop this morning and was struck by the utter efficiency they were churning out drinks. In fact the team lead said this much as encouragement to the six other workers behind the counter.

I walked in. Smiled at the barista. Was greeted with a blank stare as he continued to froth the milk and deliver the piping hot skinny latte with extra foam to the drive-thru. I walked to the register and was passed with nary a glance…even when the team lead said “Hello.” No she didn’t look at me, but made sure that her metric of greeting a guest in the first ten seconds was met. A box that is checked. That’s what I was. A large dark roast with no room for cream and sugar. And surely there was no saccharin here. There was utility and efficiency.

In all our pandering for growth our marketing of environment is nothing more than a marketing tool. The timers and grids for efficiency have crowded out the thing that matters. The only thing that matters in products.

You see, the products that are pushed are labeled as though they were made for you. In reality, the products being sold to you have (for the most part) been made for the manufacturer. People have merely become a means to the end of bigger, faster, better.

In the new economy, people will matter more.

They won’t matter because they need to matter to grow the business. Too often companies tell you that you’re important because they want your money. They don’t want to make a difference as much as they want their new car or luxury vacation.

I want to say this loud and clear. In the new economy, people will be the end in themselves. They will no longer be viewed as a metric or a number. In the new economy, mom and pop will be sought after. Because, after all, we all know that the verbiage of how you matter to company x is just verbiage. It’s merely eliciting a response for another end.

In the new economics, people will want to matter. They will flock to the place where they are known by name. And not just to tout the “community” of an establishment. Did you notice the subtlety of that one? No, people will know your name because they know you and you matter. Your name is not known just to brag that you matter and sell the belonging you too can have if you buy your next skinny latte with extra froth…hold the pandering.

We are not there yet because executives are still measuring. Measuring people. Yet, what the new economy will have to embrace is not a spreadsheet or a graph. They will be forced to embrace people. Not to grow their graph. But to grow their own soul.

On Conformity

As much as I hate to admit it, Christians push conformity. Conformity to the wrong things. Being shaped by a group and set of ideals is inherent to being part of a group–be it Christian, straight edge, atheist. But I am speaking about and to my tribe.

Over the years, I have had the privilege of being a part of several different denominations and have seen this shadow overtaking much of the piety of its adherents. It wasn’t meant to do so.

Do you homeschool? The correct answer depends on the group you’re talking to. Do you go on mission trips? Do you adopt? Do you run around incessantly from meeting to meeting showing how you are making an impact for the kingdom?

We have steered far off course when we get away from the simplicity of the Gospel. Of a life changed and being changed by the Gospel. That is, before Christ’s ascension, he said to merely teach all that he commanded. Yet. Yet, much of our passing on of information is not what Christ taught. They are various implications and applications of what he taught. And so,

Might I encourage you to be slow in conforming to the standards? Not just of popular culture, but of the popularity of whatever group you find yourself milling about. The shadow looms to block out the sun of joy and hope. It chokes out the simple call to humble obedience to Christ, changing out a yoke that not even the teachers can bear.