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Culture and Evangelism

Dr. Bright said, “The majority of non-believers throughout the world are ready to receive Christ when properly approached with a clear and simple presentation of the gospel by a Spirit-filled witness.” What if this is no longer true in our context?

Many of our evangelistic strategies are based on the assumption that most people are ready to respond in faith.  However, there is evidence that this is no longer wholly true. In light of this, we should continue to simply and clearly communicate the gospel to the minority who are ready, while developing new expertise in helping the majority move toward readiness.

In developing this expertise, we can benefit from those who have studied, experimented with, and written about new solutions.  From our readings on Culture and Evangelism, consider these three main lessons:

• We must learn to respectfully deconstruct students’ worldviews, in such a way that they come to question their own beliefs.
“If people are currently comfortable with their non-Christian worldview, we need to know how to help them become uncomfortable with it, so that they may become interested in looking at Jesus.”
-Nick Pollard in Evangelism Made Slightly Less Difficult

• We must learn to carefully deconstruct students’ views of Christians, changing their perceptions through humble, loving interactions in which we carefully steward God’s reputation and the gospel message.
“Most people I meet assume that ‘Christian’ means very conservative, entrenched in their thinking, anti-gay, anti-choice, angry, violent, illogical, empire builders; they want to convert everyone, and they generally cannot live peacefully with anyone who doesn’t believe what they believe.”
An outsider quoted by David Kinnaman in unChristian

• We must value the role of the sower, champion sowing activities, and develop sowing skills despite the lack of immediate fruit they will produce.
“Those of us in harvesting positions must rethink our concept of ‘true ministry.’ We have come to believe that there are only two kinds of Christians: the harvesters and the disobedient. We must begin to teach that every Christian everywhere is a laborer. We must tell them that every laborer should learn to reap, and that God will call some to exclusively exercise this role–but everyone can learn to sow right now, right where they are. In short, we must revalue the role of the sower. . . so that one day the sower and the harvester can be glad together.”
Tim Downs in Finding Common Ground

For more details on the lessons learned from reading books about Culture and Evangelism, please see the full report, “Culture and Evangelism.”

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