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Posts Tagged ‘evangelism’

Intersections

Intersections is underway! 187 strong! A veritable Gospel army in the making – I’m absolutely thrilled that so many people would want to invest time and effort into sharing the good news. This group of 187 people have a total of 935 Five by Five friends! Nearly a thousand people have been prayed for this week. What do you think the chances are of some significant conversation happening in that tangle of spiritual passion?

Last Tuesday we looked at two very simple ideas – one of which is represented in the chart above. Intersections. It’s all about intersecting relationships, not so much about sales techniques. God is already deep in the business of loving people and reaching them with his reconciling grace. We merely JOIN GOD in what he’s doing. Sharing our faith is simple – stay connected in our relationship with God, make ourselves available to be moved by God and watch for ways to join what he’s already doing in others.

Second thing we talked about was Questions. Jesus used questions to move conversations to spiritually significant encounters with people. We can do the same. Tuesday night we’ll see how many people have been using the power of asking questions in reaching out to people. If you hang out in the Gospels you’ll learn from the master himself why Jesus used questions.

Jesus used questions to:

  1. Keep the CONVERSATION going further
  2. Make a point without being JUDGMENTAL
  3. Give others the opportunity to DISCOVER the truth for themselves
  4. NAVIGATE conflict and misunderstanding.
  5. Cause others to THINK about what they really believe.

Keep checking in with the blog here to keep up with what God is doing. We’ll try to get some stories out to you about what people are learning.

So What is an Intersection?

An intersection is a place of connection. In terms of people seeking God or Christians making an impact around them, an intersection is any time people on two separate paths cross. It might be a conversation. It might be bumping into that person at work or Starbucks. It might be someone encountering God while at a quite moment in his day reading the Bible or praying. An intersection for some could be that vague sense that God is out there and somehow watching out for me.

Intersections happen all the time. Christians see more than just “chance encounter’ as the explanation. Somehow every intersection that takes place has God’s fingerprints on it. A person just so happens to run into someone at a point in their day when they really need a conversation. An unexpected event takes place and it just so happens that a friend is there to experience it with them. Another example could be someone whispers a desperate prayer a moment of need, then later realizes that very prayer was answered.

Evangelism always involves three people in some form of intersection: God, Myself, and Someone else. Great outreach is never accidental, yet never a matter of “sales technique”. If God loves people, we can safely assume he’s already hard at work trying to prove that point to them. Our job is to join God and be available to how he want’s to reach someone.

Suppose we’re the person not interested in reaching others, but in need of God ourselves? That same intersection shows us that God does care. He’s watching our life. He can bring people into our life we need to meet and get to know.

If you want to see how intersections work, give Acts chapter 8:4-40 a read. God is the orchestrator. Philip is the instrument. And a spiritually curious Ethiopian is the victim of God’s loving pursuit.

As a seeker – you might be that Ethiopian. As a Christ follower – you could be a Philip.

Watch out for the intersections! They’ll get you every time.

Intersections

Evangelism isn’t about technique, it’s all about intersections. As we launch out to Double our Impact here at CCC, we’re wanting to grow in how effectively we reach others with the Gospel. That’s why we’re offering Intersections – a 6 week learning experience designed to move people through the basics of befriending others and communicating the message.

Often what holds people back is the familiar excuse “I just don’t know enough to lead others to Christ.” If we could just get people using the right tool, evangelism would be fast acting and pain-free, right? Kind of like a new piece of exercise equipment! Not really.

The best place to turn to see great outreach in action is the life of Jesus himself! He did outreach as a comprehensive way of life! No one technique dominated his style. It wasn’t all that easy. He was very effective! We’d do well to pay attention and learn. And that’s what Intersections is all about.

It’s not too late to jump in on this fall’s class. We meet in EC 178 (the Fireside Room) at either 9:00am or 10:45 am on Sunday mornings at the Old Mill campus of Christ Community Church.

The Secret of the Kingdom


Last week in Jesus Class we hit on one of most baffling aspects of Jesus’ teaching. Jesus can be so profoundly simple in portraying kingdom truth, while at the same time outstrip humanity’s ability to conceive just what it is we’re supposed to do with what he’s telling us!

The parable of the sower and the seeds for example. One of Jesus’ most familiar stories, sadly falls on ears and eyes that just don’t hear or see. People flocked from everywhere in Jesus’ day to get to where he was at. And when they showed up, what did they get? A story about a stupid farmer who plants seeds on sidewalks!

If you think you’ve got the secret of the kingdom figured out try this. Give Mark chapter 4 a read, but shut your bible after verse 9 and see if you can decipher the secret of the kingdom. Go ahead! I dare you.

By the time Jesus is done with the Twelve in the verses that follow…there’s a slim chance some of them understand the secret. But if you’re in Jesus’ audience and you can’t get past a story about seeds and soil, how will you understand anything else Jesus has to say?

Once you get the secret figured out, see if you can figure out why Jesus teaches in parables based on Isaiah 6:9-10. Isaiah was told he was going to have people who didn’t want to hear him out, but to keep preaching anyway! Otherwise…how’s anybody who does want to hear and understand ever going to get it with so many dense people in the crowd!

Ouch. That hurts, Jesus! Are you sure you know what you’re talking about?

(hint: the secret is hidden in the questions. if you don’t ask, you’ll never really know)

Hey Ethan, What are you Learning about Evangelism?

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I asked my friend Ethan to tell me what he’s learning at Urbana about reaching out to others.

This Can't Be That Hard!

Two things help people meet Jesus more than anything else I’ve ever seen in my 20+ years of ministry.

1 – Let Jesus speak for himself.
2 – Let people discover him for themselves.

Pretty profound given how much we Christians can knock ourselves out trying to share the Gospel with others. Sometimes I get to thinking, “Maybe we’re working too hard at this? Maybe Christ followers today are actually clogging up the connection between people who don’t know God, and the Jesus who loves them and is pursuing them already.”

Before you check out of this post, ask yourself this question, Christian: “If people need to meet Jesus for themselves, and if Jesus is already pursuing them, what am I supposed to do anyway?”

Many of us so badly want our friend or family member to meet Jesus, that we can come off like an annoying match-maker trying to get people we feel empathy for to meet Mr. Right and fall in love. Trust me, it’s just not that complicated.

Don’t get me wrong, our role is to introduce people to Jesus. It’s the greatest priviledge in the world to do so! The question is, how do we best do that? How can we tap into the kind of joy we feel when we introduce two people we know well… and they actually hit it off on their own without us trying all that hard? Can we really trust people to like Jesus on their own without us trying so hard to sell him? That’s what I want to know. Any thoughts?

Who's Hugh and Why?


Contrary to Dawkins, not all intelligent, sane people believe evolution is a firmly established scientific fact (sorry Rich, even when I quote you I can’t stoop to your level of vitriol). Hugh Ross would be one such gifted, informed Christian mind. Hugh’s story is a fascinating journey from science to God. As a high school student with an insatiable curiosity about the ordered universe, Hugh searched the options of mankind’s origin and landed in the hands of an all powerful, personal designer!

Here’s a quote from Hugh’s web-page you can find at:
Hugh Ross’ Testimony — My Search for Truth

“Prompted by curiosity, he studied the world’s religions and “holy books” and found only one that proved scientifically and historically accurate: the Bible. Hugh started at religious “ground zero” and through scientific and historical reality-testing became convinced that the Bible is truly the Word of God! He then observed, with amazement, the impact of describing for people the process by which he came to personal faith in Jesus Christ.”

Some may be wondering “How can science actually lead people to Christ?” Isn’t it the aim of science to disprove God or at least “cure humanity of the disease of believing in him” (Dawkins)? But Hugh himself a perfect example of how people can be drawn to faith in Christ through their seeking minds. If we can boldly venture into the public conversation about origins we’ll have a hearing with thinking people everwhere who are curious about dimensions of life and meaning that science points to beyond itself.

Make sure you visit our Cosmic Fingerprints page. Come check out what we’ve got going on later in March.

Thanks Ed!

Hello Tim,

Below is my 100 Word Challenge. I found several thoughts flowing through my head, and then Christ helped me type the following:

Before I became an active follower of Christ, I had to win, I was judgmental towards others, and I was worried about what others thought. After accepting Christ, I realize that He is the victor of all, including death! I have given my worries to Him, and He takes care of them. I leave the judging to Christ, which gives me more opportunities to help others. It does not matter what people think of me. I live for Christ, and He accepts all to join His winning team!

I purposely left this story to be generic because I want to be questioned those I share it with. From the DVD, I learned that we do not need to overkill the listener with detail. We provide highlights in our story leaving some gaps. The gaps will be filled by answering questions of our listeners. If there are no questions, they are not ready for more information, and I pray that my story gets them closer to Christ.

Thank you for the workshop Saturday. I had an enlightening experience!

In Christ,

Ed

Just Walk Across The Room

Recently Christ Community Church was visited by Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willowcreek Community Church. To kick off a leadership training event called Accelerate, we all got the chance to listen to a true master of sharing Jesus with others. Many were pleasantly surprised to find the great Bill Hybels at heart is a humble guy, in love with Jesus and passionate about telling the Jesus story to others.

Bill told story after story in a winsome, Jesus-focused way and those of us listening were inspired by the example the man’s life sets. Evangelism according to Bill is nothing more than stepping into the moment and being willing to speak up, reach out, in simple, non-threatening ways. The title of his book “Just Walk Across the Room” pretty much sums up Bill’s appeal. Over time, as God does his work in people’s lives, and as God continues to intersect our lives with others, people move closer and closer to Jesus.

No kidding. It’s really that simple. And what’s been fun as I’ve hung around and heard conversations since Bill Hybels’ visit is that people really are discovering that there’s nothing to fear in taking initiative with others. Just this morning I heard a story about staff member who plucked up her courage to walk across the lawn to invite a neighbor to a bible study. That neighbor actually showed up at the group and fit right in. Even after YEARS of living next door, a simple innocuous invitation has led to a new level of spiritual engagement.

I dare you. Try it out. I’m hearing story after story. Just do it! Even people who aren’t there yet with God, actually like this kind of evangelism, because Christians engaged this way seem….well…. a bit more human, a bit more relaxed and genuine. Give it a try. I’ve got more stories…wanna here a few more?

Evangelism Terrified Me – What if God Doesn't Show Up?

Tim,

Thanks for chatting yesterday. Here is a little of my experience in my evangelism/seeker small groups. Thanks for reading and giving me the opportunity to verbalize a journey that has been so significant for me. God is teaching me in my heart and experiences, not just in my head. He’s teaching me about who he is and that he truly does love me! The depth of this is what seems to be hard for me to describe.

I have always known that evangelism is very important, there is no getting around it, but to be frank, it terrified me. If it is so important that means I could really mess it up! Yikes, that is a lot of pressure! What if I don’t know an answer? What if someone just says, “No, I don’t believe that, go away and stop pushing your beliefs on me.” And the ultimate fear, the one, I am not really wanting to admit, I know I cannot do it myself and what if God doesn’t show up?

So I came to the Lord with my fears and said, “I am willing, terrified, but willing – show me what to do next”. My first step was Spiritual Intersections – the evangelism training put on at CCC. It seemed pretty safe, and as it turned out, I was delighted to have my perspective on evangelism change.

I always felt that to “do” evangelism I had to knock on doors, hand out tracks on the street, or engage people the second I meet them in deep conversations about faith, asking them to make a decision. Not being an extrovert or a great conversationalist this sounded like torture. After taking the class I realized I had some misconceptions about the whole event.

I learned that evangelism is about being intentional, relational and caring for others. It is more about asking questions, learning about them, their interests, favorite foods, their family, etc. It is about sharing life, helping others and allowing them to help you. Naturally, questions may deepen, what they think about the world, their pains, their joys…hmm…this started to sound familiar…it started to sound a whole lot like friendship and love. So, was I willing to initiate friendships and genuinely love others? Was I willing to allow it to not be about me, but about God? Absolutely!

I have now started to lead a seeker small group and I am loving it. The pressure is off, my goal is not to get someone to see my view, to accept my truth, to get a decision made, but to reach out, to love genuinely, to engage with people, to ask questions and allow God to bring up the opportunities to answer questions about Him. What a delight it has been to see God lead. In the process I have grown deeper as I realize I don’t have all the answers. It can be so exciting to search and to end up being blessed myself as God’s truths sink deeper into my heart and mind. Even as I write this I think, you know, my deepest fear has been my greatest encouragement. Thank you, LORD, what could bring my heart deeper joy than seeing you move, You continually “show up”!

Thanks again!
Carrie