Posts

Showing posts with the label #Evangelism

Looking for God. But not there.

Image
Some years ago I was listening to a radio host talk about his doubts. He used to be a pastor, but more recently he’d come to doubt God even exists. Mainly—and understandably!—because of his utter lack of God-experiences. If God exists, shouldn’t his kids have God-experiences?And he’s absolutely right. We should! But he hadn’t. More accurately, he’s entirely sure he hadn’t; whatever he’d seen thus far, hadn’t convinced him. He’d been Christian for years, yet was pretty sure he’d never heard God’s voice, never seen a legitimate miracle, never had any supernatural event in his life. And, he claimed, he wants these experiences, but thus far, nada.It was a call-in type of show, so a caller responded, “What about the Pentecostals? They claim they have God-experiences all the time. Why not go there and see what happens?”“Oh no,” said the host. “I’m not going there. I don’t wanna get into that whole scene.”Lemme pause a moment and make clear: I’m Pentecostal, but no I’m not trying to rope you…

“Spiritual… but not religious.”

Image
SPIRITUAL'spɪ.rɪtʃ(.əw).əladjective. Dealing with immaterial things in the human spirit or soul.2. Dealing with religion.[Spirituality 'spɪr.ɪt.ʃəw.æl.ə.dinoun.]Many pagans like to describe themselves as spiritual. ’Cause they are: They believe in immaterial things, like the soul. Might even believe in other spirits; or God, whom they correctly recognize is spirit; Jn 4.24 or a spiritual afterlife. Or not: They only believe in spiritual forces, like good vibes or positivity, bad vibes or negativity, which can affect not just ourselves, but everyone around us.Christians call ourselves spiritual too, ’cause we are. We have the Holy Spirit, who’s hopefully working on us—if we let him. We’re taught to pursue spirit, not flesh.Ro 8.5-6 We believe in God and angels and unclean spirits (like the devil) and that we’re part spirit. For the most part, we believe in the supernatural too.Now, you can tell a pagan all this: “You’re spiritual? So’m I.” But there’s still a dividing line whic…

Seeker-sensitivity: Being all things to all people.

Image
SEEKER'sik.ərnoun. One who’s attempting to find religion: God, truth, peace, or self-justification.SEEKER-SENSITIVE'sik.ər 'sɛn.sə.dɪvadjective. Caring about seekers’ feelings, hangups, offenses, needs, or lack of familiarity; adapting one’s message in consideration.2. Compromising one’s message to make it more appealing.[Seeker-sensitivity 'sik.ər sɛn.sə'dɪv.ə.dinoun.]People are more apt to listen to you if you’re like them.Yeah, I know there are exceptions to this rule. When I’ve been on missions trips, the locals are kinda curious about the novelty of American foreigners, and that’s why they’re more apt to listen to me a bit. But only till the novelty wears off.One of the things American missionaries discovered in the 20th century (and it’s a little dumbfounding it took us so long to discover it, but it’s probably ’cause racism) is our missions either grow really slow, or don’t grow at all, whenever we don’t put locals in charge. The fastest-growing churches and…

Sealing the deal. Or not.

Image
Most of the evangelism seminars, classes, and books I’ve read, insist our every conversation with people about the gospel, has to end with a decision. They’ve heard the gospel, and either they believe it or they don’t; either they wanna follow Jesus or they don’t; so get an answer. Have ’em make a decision now. Right now! DO IT!Which is why that’s what I’ve experienced whenever I’ve been on evangelism teams: The high-pressure tactics of proselytizers.And a whole lot of cringing pagans, who don’t wanna make a decision right now. They gotta think about it! They need time to process. Really, they need time for the Holy Spirit to work on ’em—which is exactly what he’s gonna do. Heck, some of them might have already decided, “No thank you,” but of course the Spirit doesn’t like that answer, so he’s gonna get ’em to realize it was the wrong one, and convince ’em to change their minds. And that takes time. And patience.Patience which the Spirit has in abundance. Evangelists, not so much.Henc…

Tracts: How to share Jesus with handouts.

Image
TRACTtræktnoun. Short written work in pamphlet form, typically on a religious subject.By “tract” I mean any booklet, broadside, brochure, card, handout, invitation, flyer, pamphlet, or poster, which introduces the gospel to people. And there’s nothing wrong with using ’em to share Jesus.Certain Christians object to tracts. Commonly because of the contents of the tracts themselves. I’ve seen plenty which are ridiculous, inaccurate, or even offensive. I certainly don’t wanna hand out those types of tracts; I don’t wanna be associated with foolishness, error, and slander, or make people think Christ Jesus has anything to do with such things. Plenty enough of that in Christendom as it is.One argument I’ve heard against tracts, is they’re impersonal. These folks claim the way to share Jesus is to make personal connections with fellow human beings, then introduce them to the person of Jesus. But a tract does no such thing. It kinda reduces a living relationship with our awesome Lord… to an …

Evangelism… in a “Christian nation.”

Image
There’s a myth going round the United States that we Christians are a tiny, oppressed minority, shrinking all the time thanks to the insidious forces of paganism and nontheism in our secular culture.It’s rubbish. And I know; Christians don’t wanna believe it’s rubbish. A lot of us are deeply invested in the idea the world’s only getting worse… and they believe Jesus will intervene once it’s the worst it can be. (Whereas I don’t believe he’s forced to wait for us to get depraved enough; he’ll return whenever he wants.) But statistics don’t confirm their deeply-held beliefs. True, the percentage of Americans who identify as Christian is going down. The Pew Research Center pegged it at 65 percent in 2019. But that’s just pagans who believed themselves Christian, recognizing they’re really not. They’re coming out of the closet.As for me, I share Jesus with people, like every Christian should. Most often by chatting with strangers in coffeehouses, but sometimes I’ve gone door to door. You …

Proselytism: Don’t force Jesus upon people!

Image
PROSELYTIZE'prɑs(.ə).lət.aɪzverb. (Try to) convert someone from one belief to another.[Proselyte 'prɑs.ə.laɪtnoun, proselytism 'prɑs(.ə).lət.ɪz.əmnoun.]From time to time, when we Christians share the good news of Christ Jesus with other people, we get accused of “proselytizing.”It’s one of those words which, to quote Inigo Montoya from The Princess BrideGiphyProperly, to proselytize means as we see in the definition above: You’re trying to convert someone. And you’ve not made it an option: They must become Christian. They will become Christian. You’re gonna try every tactic you can to make it so. You’ll promise outrageous things, you’ll fudge a few details, you’ll threaten ’em with hell. Whatever it takes.Forced conversions, hard sales pitches, and death threats (and hell threats) are all definitely forms of proselytism. Is that really what we’re doing?Well… sometimes it is. And it should never be. God’s kingdom runs on grace, and if our presentation of the gospel ever tu…

So… do you know Jesus?

Image
I know better than to assume everyone who browses TXAB is Christian.I learned better on other blogs I’ve done. ’Cause nonchristians piped up. There’s a certain personality type—the class clown, the noisy guy in the theater, the guy in the nightclub who wears way too much musk, the Facebook friend who over-comments on everything (which, I gotta admit, is sometimes me) —who can’t go anywhere without making their presence known. If you prefer to go unnoticed, these are the people you never wanna befriend; they’ll always embarrass you. And on blogs, they’re the sort who wanna make sure the blogger (i.e. me) knew they visited. Sometimes with a polite note, and sometimes by flinging poo like a chimpanzee.On blogs, sometimes they’re the troll who comments, in case any Christians are reading, “You suckers do realize all this religious stuff is [synonym for dooky]: Jesus is dead, the bible is science fiction, and churches are scams to separate the feeble-minded from their money.” Or the guy wh…

Altar calls: Come on down!

Image
ALTAR'ɔl.tərnoun. A table or block used as the focus for a religious ritual, particularly offerings or ritual sacrifices to a deity.2. In Christianity, the table used to hold the elements for holy communion.3. In some churches, the stage, the steps to the stage, or the space in front of the stage, where people go as a sign of commitment.During our worship services, sometimes Christians are invited to leave our seats and come forward to the stage. It’s called an altar call.Thing is, we’re not sure how the term originated. ’Cause the stage, or the front of the stage, wasn’t called an altar back then. The altar was the communion table. My guess is people were originally instructed to gather by the communion table. In a lot of churches, that altar is front and center; in the church I went to as a child, it was right in front of the preacher’s podium.But when evangelists held rallies, whether at a concert hall, sports arena, outdoor stadium, theater, high school gym, or grade school ca…