New and Generational Evangelism #2

Continued:

11949859501893671626open_book_01_svg_medLet’s consider some cultural history and see where we’re at now.  It will matter!

The past two or three generations view things a whole lot different than generations have before:

  • The “Greatest Generation” (WWII era) had a very specific view of life.  They had morals.  They understood right from wrong.  They realized the value of manners, and were well-rounded in understanding and life.  This generation knew what was good and what was bad.  What was right and what was wrong and it was mostly from a balanced view that was referenced by the Bible’s teaching of morality.
  • Then the “Baby Boomers” came along and wanted something different.  Whether it came from their parents wanting something better for their children than they had and trying to make that happen for them or whether it was the mistrust of established authority like the government, the law, the church, school, and more, or it was just unrest about a number of things; they rejected, “The Man.”  You know organized control.  Think of the 70’s song, Signs.  “Signs, signs, everywhere the signs, blocking up the scenery, breaking my mind.  Do this don’t do that can’t you read the signs?”  It explains the angst, the distrust and dislike of authority and what authority means.  In many ways, Baby-Boomers eschewed the morality they were being bound too by their parents and other authorities with free-love and communes and war protests and experimenting with drugs; they were powerful expressions of their desire to be free of authority.
  • Then the “latch-key” kids, the Baby Busters era, coming home from school to an empty house.  Both parents working, many more single parent homes because the rate of divorce was growing rapidly through this period.  Unwed mothers were also increasing in number at this time, giving children the sense of being marginally or completely unwanted.  They are sometimes known as the throw-away generation.

[No wonder so many have relationship attachment disorders]

  • That picture got worse with each succeeding decade of kids.  We have three or four generations that have lost the moral compass this country once knew.  It’s surprising the number of people who regularly use drugs, like marijuana, crack, and meth, believing its ok.  Not only that but that they have the right to use.  It’s a lot more common than you may know; some of them use daily.  Experimenting with sex is common and it is both straight and gay sex they’re experimenting with.  They’re known as “Baby Busters,” Generation X, the Millennial Generation and this latest group, those 18-30 years old are also being called iGen.  There are a lot of reasons this has happened.  In a lot of ways and for our purpose now, everyone is to blame and no one is to blame.  Suffice it to say, the devil has many subtle tools which to direct the vision and ideals of people away from God.

The question is not whether the gospel is valid and real for every person and every generation and every situation, it is and it’s been proved that it is in spite of the claims otherwise.  We can find story after story of Jesus entering someone’s life and changing their world (cf. www.shareyourstorynow.org).  Jesus is the answer still and always will be for sin, for eternal life, for curing society’s ills, for everything (2 Cor. 5:14-15; John 11:51-52; Heb. 2:9; Rom. 6:10).

Jeff, former, present and future evangelizer

What’s Ya Reading?

Can't Read Enough

Can't Read Enough

Here’s my current reading list:

And When it arrives:

 

What’s you reading?

BloggingTheChurch

Caring Enough to Tell

As I mentioned before, I participate with a residential facility that cares for teens.  Here is another story of another girl’s faith.  Due to sensitivity and the need for anonymity and protecting these young people, I cannot and will not share names of the residents nor the name of the facility.  Which by the way is an incredible facility with an incredible program.

sillo

One Sunday during spiritual time, we allowed a couple of the teens who asked to share the opportunity.  She loved her church back home and her youth group.  She loved music and her favorite song was I Can Only Imagine.  She would kind of escape into herself when we would play it . . . and boy could she sing.

The goal of these Sunday sessions is to help these young people to develop self-worth and value, since most of them have a very low sense of self-worth.  We used the Bible to teach these lessons.  So we are not allowed to proselytize, evangelize, or convert.  But the students could.

She had her Bible and a page of notes and sat in front of the other 14 kids and she began to testify.  She read a number of passages of scripture about the need of knowing Jesus and the hope there is when you have been saved by Jesus.  She shared her story of trust and how it helps her in the facility.  All the while, I’m standing in the back and in my spirit I am jumping up and down, punching my fist in the air and shouting, “Oh yeah!  Go get um!”

She had never been secret about her faith.  Now she had been able to share with everyone at once, and it made an effect.

Even though we don’t get to try to convince these kids to believe in God, in Jesus, and try to convince them to be saved, I have been given permission, by individual students, to tell them these things.  They come and ask.  Except for one young man.

He is the one person I know who claims to be pagan.  That’s his religion he says and Christianity and its claims offend him.  He doesn’t want to tolerate any discussion about it.  When I was a residential coach at the facility, one day when I was assigned to him, he and another coach and I were talking while he did some volunteer work at the facilty, he was dissing church ministers when he realized what he said and he looked at me, smiled shyly (which he isn’t) and said, “For a minister, you’re alright Jeff.”  High praise I guess 🙂

Anyway . . . a couple of days after this young lady’s presentation, he and I were sitting at a table during school time and he was upset.  He didn’t like that she said that they all needed to accept Jesus.  There were a couple of things behind this.  One is that he and this girl were like brother and sister at the facility and he felt as if she had aimed this at him specifically (I don’t think she was).  But, this opened a conversation with him that did not change his mind about Christianity, but softened his intolerance of other views that “offended” him.

I was very proud of her.  She stood for her Savior.  She challenged everyone that heard her with her faith.  And she opened avenues for evangelism, some that I was privileged to pursue.

blogingthechurch

New and Generational Evangelism #1

Telling all people . . .

Telling all people . . .

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I had been writing my recent thoughts on evangelsim into sermons.  This is a portion of the first one.

     It’s a different world!  We can no longer say “It was good enough for my parents, so it’s good enough for me” or “it’s good enough for everyone else.” 

     I mean, I’ve heard that.  I’ve heard people say that.  Let me put it into perspective.  He would be in his mid sixties now.  He was an elder in the church that he grew up in and a farmer in the mid-west.  He was very closed-minded to most methods that were different, maybe they weren’t new, but they were different than what he knew and grew up with, that his “daddy” taught him, and he usually brought the opposite perspective to the table whenever the church board was deciding about trying or doing something different with the church.  Even when he was the one who suggested the start of something new, to do something different – whenever issues in life or in the church bore down on him, such as the divorce of one of his children, he reverted back to the default setting that was “It was good enough for daddy, so it’s good enough now.”

     There are times that this is true, but not always.  It still all comes down to the heart.  What’s behind it?  What’s the motivation?  When it is a close-minded excuse to avoid change and it is something that someone simply does not like personally . . . then there is a problem.

     Normally we encounter this attitude when considering musical styles in the church.  Sometimes it is about the way the preacher preaches.  Often it is about budget issues.  At times it is about how evangelism is done and more often about who is to do the evangelism.

     I believe we cannot be that closed-minded.  I don’t believe God ever intended for Christians to be so close-minded and shut down the progress of vision and growth He has for the church.  The church should never be that way.  It always puts a brake on what God can do or is doing.  You know, it’s like we have a huge bus that seats any number of passengers.  There is one engine and one accelerator, 14 steering wheels, and 38 brake pedals.  The bus either doesn’t go anywhere, or it goes in so many directions no one knows where it is going and actually crashes.

    I have gone through a variety of personal evangelism presentations.  There was personal evangelism class in college.  The Roman Road (think 1960s); Evangelism Explosion (popular in the 1970s); A Peace Treaty with God (came through the 1980s); Lifestyle Evangelism  (cropping up in the 1990s); to Permission Evangelism and Service Evangelism (a couple of the current trends).  And you know . . . every one of them has the so-called “answer.”

     Let me state unequivocally right now, the answer is nothing more than preaching Jesus Christ.  None of these programs are the answer.  They are tools.  They may be the right tools for one situation or another, but they are only tools.

     You may be wondering should we learn them.  Probably, yes!  More importantly, we should know the scriptures that teach Jesus and that lead people to accepting Christ.  We should already know the scriptures that tell us what they must do once they believe so that when they do believe and want to know what to do to accept Jesus and salvation we can direct them that way (John  3:16-17; Romans 3:23 & 6:23; Acts 2:38; Romans 10:10-11, etc).

. . . more to come . . .

If you don’t want to be convicted, than don’t watch this video.  http://www.tangle.com/view_video?viewkey=c999ad735a62a52d92aa&utm_source=newsletter0828&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weeklytopvideos

Jeff a past, present, future evangelizer

She Believes in God Now

I Believe

She struggles with an attachment disorder.  That’s why she’s in the facility.  She is getting the help she needs to develop and maintain healthy relationships. It’s difficult though, when your parents are divorced and they have differing views on life.  One parent does not believe in God, the other does and the step-parent does too.

Teaching spiritual values in an effort to help her and the other young people in the facility develop a sense of self-worth, I get to have some interesting conversations.  Since I worked at the facility and now volunteer I have encountered more people who claim to be agnostic and atheist, and one person who claimed to be a pagan than I ever have before.  Interesting for sure.

Her unbelieving parent taught her there is no God.  And she believed it too.

One day, as I walked around the facility saying hello to several of the young people, I sat down next to her and asked her how she was doing.  She said, “I want to tell you something.”  I’m always curious, but was taken by surprise with her next comment.   She said, “I believe in God now.”

I think, like most people, she wanted to believe.  The lessons that we taught and a step-parent teaching her that God is, were key elements for her belief.  I was extremely joyful, very happy that she had accepted the truth that there is a God and that now she believed in him.

I hope her next discovery is that Jesus is God’s Son and that he can save her.  Of course one of the first steps toward Jesus is believing in God.  “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him”  Hebrews 11:6 (NASB).

blogingthechurch

Silence

Silent Christians

Silent Christians

John W. Stott wrote a book entitled, Our Guilty Silence about Christianity’s failure to tell their world about Jesus.  I’ll have to find and reread it.  But I think I can put our silence in perspective, at least I hope I can.

The stats are a couple of years old, but the studies report that well over 90% of believers never share about Jesus or their faith in their whole lifetime.  Not a single one.  That’s pretty quiet.  That’s pretty scary when you consider that the number one thing a Christian is to do is to share their faith in Jesus.

Calling progrmas . . . once a great thing is sometimes effective but nobody wants to go door-to-door especially when they don’t know anyone in those neighborhoods.

Canned evangelism programs are only effective for some and only for some situations, plus memorizing them is as hard as memorizing scripture.

Do I talk to people at work?  My father was told he couldn’t, but he still did.  Do I force myself on someone I know just to so I can say I’m part of the 7% that share their faith?

Is there a better solution than calling programs, evangelism tools, forceful efforts.

Probably so.  Let’s look for that in future posts.

From Jeff, past, present and future evangelizer