A mate mentioned this morning;

I think 80s-90s evangelism and training was training people to join the cause and to have the skills to fight the fight. Values and lifestyle were communicated indirectly, along the way. The emphasis has to shift now. The focus is on the values and lifestyle with the skills and training communicated along the way.

That's not to set up a false dichotomy but so say that a shift needs to happen back the other way. What's this mean in plain English? People are looking at the lives and values that we portray as Christians not just "answers" so we must have lives of integrity and transparency as we seek to save the lost.



Taz said... 8/27/2007 11:37 am  

I don't get the statement (possibly because of the grammatical error where the word 'now' is repeated twice). Is your mate saying that we should shift to focus on values and lifestyle, or that we have shifted to values and lifestyle and need to move back towards teaching evangelism?

mike said... 8/27/2007 7:12 pm  

There you are I fixed it up for you.

Renae said... 8/27/2007 10:21 pm  

Question.. what do you mean by 'transparency'?

mike said... 8/27/2007 10:58 pm  

Allowing non Christians to see that we aren't perfect people. Allowing them to see into our lives. Allowing them to see how the gospel influences everything we do think and say.

Not putting on a "Christian" front hiding our faults. I'd also include not speaking ill of non Christians. Treating them with dignity and respect.

Taz said... 8/28/2007 9:10 am  

OK well I agree that we need to shift towards teaching values and lifestyle, just because so often we've seen people who are keen to get into evangelism but totally turn people off because they don't "practice what they preach." I think this has done untold harm to evangelism over the past few decades.

What does it mean in plain English? I think simply that we need to be preaching the Gospel message, whether at church or at FOCUS. We also need to be encouraging these people to be outwards-focused, seeking to save the lost.

I think any church/group can be any one of the following two:

1. Very Evangelistic, but also doesn't practice what they preach. Maybe relax certain portions of the Bible in order to pull people in, or teach a different kind of doctrine (prosperity, etc). Have a lot of young people attending.

2. Very good on the morals and lifestyle, but also very inwards-focused. Struggle a lot with evangelism, and new people don't feel very welcome. Have a lot of older people who weren't taught the important of evangelism.

I have yet to find a church that achieves a nice balance between the two. I think that you're in a very blessed position, Mike, as you are ministering to the next generation of Christians, where you can focus on the importance of both evangelism and living worthy lives.

So in plain English? Continue to teach, encourage, and share you lives with them. I know I personally am encouraged whenever I spend time with older Christians who are into both evangelism and living godly lives.

I think the above makes sense. Hopefully my point comes across.

mike said... 8/28/2007 3:57 pm  

Hey thanks for your thoughts Phil. I guess my point is about how Christians live before unbelievers rather than how church is structured (which seems to be your point, and a good one.)

I want people who can live out their lives in front of non Christians in a real way with strength of conviction and integrity. I've noticed the lack of effectiveness that "training programs" are have in getting students to do this. Rather learning needs to done on the way and modeled by leadership.

Furthermore we should each be seeking to meet with unbelievers on a regular basis and regularly and publicly praying for them. This is something I'd like to introduce to the culture of FOCUS.

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