FFM: Evangelism (Motive, Convictions and Promises)

When I hear the word evangelism I think about a computer game I played as a kid -> teenager -> fully grown adult. Star Wars Jedi Knight 2 Jedi Outcast! All through the game you play a Jedi called Kyle, and you’re aim is to hunt down one bad-guy-lizard called Desarn. By the last level, you’ve gone all over the galaxy killing, stormtroopers, minor league sith and AT-AT walkers. You finally jump and force you’re way through an elaborate obstacle course and end up face to face with Desarn. Just before you go to have the final show down. You hold out your hand… “It’s not too late, turn to the light side”…. Anyway that’s my lame excuse to put this picture in:kyle_katarn_vs_desann_by_wienernose-dcjekce

Onto the subject at hand…one of my modules for FFM is Evangelism. And one of my assignments was to write about my motivations, convictions and promises that I hold to in Evangelism. Bellow is a summary of my thoughts! I hope you enjoy:

Motivations

When it comes to evangelism I have 3 main motivations. 1) Jesus commanded us to do it. This is probably the biggest reason I do evangelism, or at least attempt it! As a follower of Jesus I want to be like Him and to follow His commands. 2) I want my friends to go to Heaven, know Jesus and experience life to its fullest! I suppose this reason, is slightly selfish. But it’s also loving. I want what’s best for my family and friends. And the answer to that is Jesus. 3) I want to set an example to those who I mentor/disciple. If they see that I can/do this evangelism thing, then they may have confidence to do it themselves.

Convictions

I think it’s best to record my convictions as bullet points.

  • –          That this is good news and will really benefit my friends lives. I believe that when Jesus said that He came so that we may have life and life in abundance (John 10.10), He was saying that without Him our experience of life is limited.
  • –          That we can’t force our friends to believe, any more than we can force ourselves to believe, God opens they’re eyes. One of the prayers of Elijah in 1 Kings 18:37 “Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” God turns people’s heart towards Him. I guess that makes me a Calvinist.
  • –          HOWEVER, even though God is Sovereign, we have a responsibility to speak (Rom 10:14-15) – obediently and truthfully. God is not looking to override our free-will or our friends’. So He gives us the opportunity to partner with Him in this. We also have a responsibility to pray (Mt 9.8).
  • –          Faith comes from hearing and hearing the Word of God (rom 10.17). Therefore Scripture plays a massive role in evangelism.
  • –          Saying that, the early church didn’t have a Bible (as we now know it), and did fine! There is power in testimony, in miracles and Jesus’ Name & resurrection to save (1 Cor 2.4).
  • –          God can speak through a donkey, literally, so I don’t have to be perfect to be used (Numbers 22).religo-talking-donkey
  • –          Jesus uses my weaknesses to display His glory (2 Cor 12.9), therefore I will boast about my weaknesses, failures and trials. Not because I recovered from them, but because God can use them to display His grace (1 Tim 1.15).
  • –          I evangelise best with BOTH my words and my actions. One without the other won’t do. (Rom 10.17 & Mt 5.16)
  • –          My work, attitude, ethic can be a witness. (1 Thess 4:11-12), even my eating and drinking can be done in a manner to bring Him Glory. (1 Cor 10.31)
  • –          I believe a united & loving church is a better witness of the gospel than a critical-of-each-other and divided church. John 12.35.
  • –          Without Jesus we can do nothing/produce no fruit, John 15, therefore our personal “abiding” is essential.

 

Promises

  • –          Jesus will be with me especially so in the context of discipleship and going. (Mt 28:20),
  • –          His word won’t return empty (Is 55.11), I can take comfort in the fact that God’s word brings life and change.
  • –          Even in the midst of persecution and ridicule, I am blessed! (Mt 5.10-12)

People

Settling on 6-10 people is difficult, there are more than that I want to see saved. At the moment I have a page at the back of my journal I use with 3 columns, and one of those columns is a list of names of people I want to see know Jesus. I go to this list most days, whenever I journal. But I decided for the assignment to choose…

And I’ll end the extract there! Alavida.

Systematic Theology 0.a Pre-Preface

d95ab732c70acd0150b2fb9b61cc165bThis will be something like the 5th time I’ve tried to read through Wayne Grudem’s systematic theology. But hopefully blogging about it will hit two birds with one stone. Get me posting regularly here again AND get me reading the book with some level of accountability. Hopefully. Also hopefully is the thought that this might be useful to someone else. There’s no chance this’ll fail – none. Zero….

For those of you who don’t know when I was at Uni I was mentored by a guy who was doing his PhD in theology with a focus on discipleship. He’d been involved with Church plants and churches through his life. And one day I asked him what he’d recommend someone (like me) studying to go into Church leadership. Like what curriculum. Anyway amongst other things he said: systematic theology would be a great place to start.

There I was about 19 years old and I bought myself the thickest book I’ve ever seen. Outside the bible, which uses thin pages so doesn’t count. I mean this book is almost like a shoebox (slight exaggeration)! But it’s big. I opened it up, I remember, the first time with highlighters, pens ready.

A few weeks later I stopped.

Tried again a bit later and then again. One time I even tried to make notes in a journal for each chapter, another time I tried audiobook, and still another I found the guys lectures. But no, now I’m confident to that a blog will do the trick. Of course it will. I mean, why wouldn’t it?

And how will I go about this? Well, believe it or not but I did give some thought to the process. Sure it’s a blog and time is bound to let the structure evolve in one way or another. But here goes my starting structure:

Memory verse, chapter outline, what stood out, any answers to the questions and any questions I thought up, updates on applications.

Each chapter comes with a memory verse and application. I plan to really engage with the book and use it not only to grow but affect my personal walk with God. So these I’ll be putting into practice. There are also questions that I’ll make an effort to think about and answer. But probably not here, unless I’m super proud of the answer or put a lot of time into it or am simply blown away by the profoundness of the question.

I will also try to answer the question ‘what struck me’ or ‘what stood out’ and why . I think this question will help record what Gods saying specifically to me through the learning.

You’re most welcome to join me on this journey, may it be a long one indeed.

So where to start? Preface seems good to me, one page at a time, we’ll climb this mountain.

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A Lego-son in evangelism

Excuse the pun. Last weekend I was away at some training for my Foundation For Ministry course with the Navigators. It’s a three year course covering basics in modules for ministry. This year we’re looking at

  • Personal development and growth
  • Old Testament
  • Evangelim
  • Church History

We have a load of assignments set, and some reading to do before a set of “away days” which occur (I think) 3 times a year. So last week was my first set. And it was pretty intense, I’ve described it as training with meals slotted in. We spent half a day on each module and had lunch to keep us going.

But what struck me, stood out? It was a side illustration, the students were split into two groups. The Scottish lot and the English lot, no I don’t think Navigators have an official policy on Scottish independence. And two of us, myself and another lady were set apart and told to wait outside the room. The two groups left in the room were given bags of lego and told to make models of their cities.

Make sense? I hope so.

So off they start, making – building. Then the instructor came outside and spoke to me and this women who had been set apart. He gave us each a bag of RED lego pieces and said. “I want you to go back into the room, and join up with one of the groups each. And I want you to make sure that every model they make has a RED piece in it. At the moment the groups don’t have any RED pieces. So your job is to get your red pieces into every model they make – whatever it takes. Right? Go.”.

So we saunter back in the room and get to work. My tactic was to go over to Scotland and empty my bag over their left over pieces and sit down with them and just help. Luckily they were accepting of me and not very suspicious….After 10 minutes… These are our results. Mine is the one on the right. Smug face.

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As you can probably work out, the RED pieces were supposed to be the Gospel and the models were supposed to be our relationships and conversations with the people who don’t know Jesus. But the instructors point wasn’t to tell us this is what we should be doing. It was rather to show us what works and what isn’t helpful.

If this whole story made any sense, which I hope it does, below are some of the things I’ve had wurring around in my mind since.

  • When the instructor told us we had to get the red pieces into their models “whatever it takes!”. Immediately there was pressure, this was no longer a fun activity, I was competing. I learnt from this that I need to be very careful how I encourage other people to “do” evangelism. Making them feel guilty or pressured won’t help the situation.
  • The whole time I was trying to insert red into the unknowing Scotland team’s models. I felt deceptive. I felt like I was not being honest. I had an agenda. Automatically in my mind, it was them and me – even though they didn’t see it that way. I think this is SOOOO unhelpful in our own evangelism. Our goal is not to have the “conversation” or bring up faith, talk about church in every relationship. It is to help them, by being light and salt, we have the “pieces” that they need for their “models”. When we believe that the Jesus we know and have is going to bring our friends and colleagues “life and life to it’s fullest”, it helps.
  • The other lady, trying to “infiltrate” the England group was less successful – her image on the left. She tried to put the red pieces in herself, whereas I gave my team all my pieces and let them build the red into the models. I think there is an underestimated power in being passive and prayerful (obviously wasn’t praying in this exercise) instead of being overpowering and active. (Although there must be a time for each approach).
  • Finally, when I was initially given the instructions, I asked the guy ‘Hey, can I tell the group what I’m trying to do?’ He said ‘No.’…I know that if I had told the group my motive, I would have definitely felt more guilty. But I probably wouldn’t have been able to get any pieces in. As they might be suspicious in response to honesty. This is life. But where does that leave me in evangelism. Do my friends know that I want them to know Jesus? My closest do. But should everyone? Unanswered as of today.

This activity, was so profound for me, it wasn’t even the main point of the instructor’s teaching. I don’t think he even really walked through the implications explicitly. But I reckon these 10 minutes have had a big impact on the way I look at evangelism. I’m still dealing with unanswered questions and processing lines of thinking a week later.