Friday, April 15, 2016

Thoughts on Evangelism

Evangelism, Evangelism, Evangelism! Often we hear the theme of evangelism thundered from the pulpit as a key component of our local church ministries. However, when it comes to practice many times we shy away from our responsibilities, especially when we are rejected in our noble efforts at evangelizing the lost. We then tell ourselves that only those “gifted” with evangelism can do it, and that we better just leave it to them! Yet, when reading the scriptures we find the apostle Paul on his early mission trips going to places that already had Christian populations! How did that happen? Most of the original work of evangelism was done by every day people traveling back home after Pentecost! Simple one-on-one evangelism likely grew the first churches over time. Though, now in recent days, it is often thought that a trained professional must do the work of evangelism. Perhaps this is due to our highly specialized society that tends to try to keep us in our areas of “expertise”. We might mess it up after all! This is simply not true when it comes to evangelism, for we have the power of the Holy Spirit on our side! Let me encourage you with an interesting article about something called the “Modified Engel Scale” as follows:

A few years ago I was introduced to this useful chart while studying evangelism, and have been showing it to people interested in evangelism ever since. The chart is useful in that it helps us realize where different people are at when we talk with them about their spiritual status. (I do not agree with everything on this website, but find a lot of it to be helpful.) The chart proposes that there tends to be a pattern with people in how they come to God. Some people may be open to hearing the gospel message, while others are vehemently opposed to it for various reasons. By listening to what people have to say when we talk to them, we can compare it to the chart and see about how to proceed. The key is listening to what is being expressed and asking open-ended questions. (Questions that cannot be answered by a simple yes/no response.) For some it may be appropriate to share the gospel immediately and see an immediate acceptance of Christ, while for others it may be more of a long as well as patient process to help that person through each step if we are willing! How much time and energy are we willing to commit to a person to see them come to Christ? The “work” of the gospel is truly effort on our part, but with great rewards! We can help rapidly move the progress of the spiritual life of an individual with prayer, love, Christian compassion, and the sharing of various scriptures when God leads us to do so! If you are hitting “brick-walls” with various people, it could be because of where they are at spiritually. It is time to try a different approach. Remember, each of us has a whole network of people that we have influence with to reach for Christ. We know of people and will be able to reach people that our pastor will never come into contact with! Let us be patient with ourselves and give evangelism a new approach.

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