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21st Century Evangelism


"And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily .Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia" Acts 16:5-6


Sometimes evangelism is not as complicated as people make it seem. If you went into a contemporary church and told them that the Spirit of God told you NOT to witness to someone, they would probably tell you something like this: "God wouldn't tell you not to spread the gospel!". But this has happened before, for whatever reasons, The Holy Spirit will guide you into certain areas and guide you out of others. In the past 50 years too much emphasis has been placed on "evangelism tools & techniques". And not enough emphasis has been placed on "strategic evangelism". We were taught to focus on, "HOW" to say things to people, and "WHO" to say it to. And not enough emphasis was placed on "WHERE" we should say things and "WHY" we should witness in the first place. This is not to say that the "4 Spiritual Laws" and "Tract giving" are not valid ways of witnessing. It is that we are in the 21st Century and there are more perils than there were 50 years ago. Things have gotten cloudier and more mystical. This presents a grave challenge for the next generation of saints who will be going into the world without having been warned of the dangers that they might face! Of course we have the Holy Spirit to protect and guide us, but still we need to edify one another also.


This study is not designed to give you "techniques" but it is designed to help you understand the strategic nature of evangelism, and how there are certain things in our culture that make evangelism dangerous and ineffective.


The acronym 'WOL' will help you to understand that there are different ways in which to communicate the Gospel. Most of our communication on a daily basis is NON-verbal, facial expressions, tone, hand movements, body language, eye movement or emotional actions; all of these help us to effectivley communicate to others. We can evangelize through: Witnessings- this is sharing or broadcasting your direct personal experience or that of another, Outreach- this is focusing on helping/aiding the lives of the community, Living/Lifestyle- this is giving tangible & logical, truth through your behavior, habits, patterns and mindset.


Evangelism Sheep

WITNESSING


"WHY" Witnessing- This is evangelism that focuses on verbally telling people why they need to follow The Lord Jesus Christ and why they should believe that He rose from the dead. Of course this seems very elementary and basic. BUT when we consider that thousands of movies over the last 50 years have used the basic structure of a "savior" who fights, dies, and is resurrected (i.e. The Matrix, Star Wars Trilogy, Terminator Saga, all of the comic book superhero movies, etc.). Many people have been "desensitized" to the message of the Gospel and they have also been made to put their faith into areas that have no hope. Keep this in mind when you are "WHY" witnessing. I will not tell you what to say, but remeber that the Holy Spirit knows what that person or community really needs.


Judgment Witnessing- This is evangelism that focuses on God's judgment or justice. It should not surprise you that there are many people who recognize that there is an abundance of INJUSTICE, WICKEDNESS, and UNRIGHTEOUSNESS in the world today. When we turn on the news we see unimaginable poverty and unthinkable violence. Judgement witnessing lets the person or community know that what they are see has to come to an end, and that The Lord Jesus Christ gives us a comprehensive HOPE, PURPOSE and PLAN in order to deal with the unsatiable EVIL that we see on a hourly basis. (Jude 1:23)


Construction Witnessing- This is evangelism that takes time, because it requires you to build a "trust model" for a person or community. This "model" is built by sharing common experiences, common interests, and common understanding with people or communites. This requires you to stay current with lots of different areas like: Sports, News, International Events, Education, and Science & Technology (***note: it is very interesting that you do not have to stay current with music, movies, or TV***). Once the "model" is built then people will trust what you are saying and they won't think that you have some kind of "ulterior motives". Allow the Holy Spirit to help you to recognize when the time is right and what kind of areas to use in order to start building. (1 Corinthians 9:18-24)


OUTREACH


Health Outreach- This is evangelism that means reaching out to others, aiding and helping them by developing a healthy lifestyle. Food consumes our lives daily, we have to eat and drink or we will not be able to function properly. When we are living in a society obsessed with eating junk; that not only destroys the body but also the mind. The obesity epidemic not only plagues the Western world but also the global community. In today’s world many are dying because of sicknesses caused by poor eating habits and obesity. The Lord Jesus Christ walked all over Israel, and he got plenty of exercise. The Lord also ate fresh foods, and He had an EASTERN diet (eastern diets consist of plenty of nuts, fruits, fish, high fiber whole grains, and probiotics). Healthy lifestyles help us to reach people and share the love/life of The Lord Jesus Christ in a fresh & transparent way. Now, more than ever, people are looking for the true followers of The Lord Jesus Christ to come forth with real answers to help them HEAL.


Anti-American Outreach- This evangelical outreach might seem controversial at first, but when you realize that The Lord Jesus died so that the geographical barriers and state institutional allegiance would be broken it is not. Paul talked about our citizenship being in "heaven" and not of the state. This means that we have a unmatched power behind our words and actions. In today’s world nationalism blinds the minds and taints the ideas of the community. Because we live in a global society, we cannot hold on to our nationalistic spirituality and think that the gospel will have power behind it. Letting go of our subjective "versions" of what God thinks about our own government will free us to be able to reach the lost around the globe.


Listening Outreach- This evangelical outreach is very simple but may be the hardest type of outreach. Many are hurting today, because they are bottled up with anger, rage, inadequacy, depression, fear, uncertainty, indecision, strife, worry, etc…… People walk around in public with plugs, bluetooths, cellphones, and i-pods stuffed in their ears. The cries are loud but no one is listening. As ambassadors of The Lord Jesus Christ we should be able to unstop our ears and hear the cries of the people. When you listen to people they know that you care about their needs. We should care about the needs of the people because God cares. When we listen….we hear what God hears! (Mark 4:23-24)


LIFESTYLE/LIVING


Moderate Living- This living evangelism shows to ALL men that The LORD is at hand. The prosperous, affluent and excessive lifestyles of western spiritual leadership, does more to harm evangelistic efforts than help. Excesses and unsustainability does not bring glory to God nor does it help people to receive the Gospel. When The Lord Jesus Christ feed the 5000, they went and picked up the crumbs making sure that they didn’t waste any of the leftovers. The Lord Jesus Christ did not life a lavish, excessive, waste filled lifestyle. At the heart of The Word of God and The Gospel is ‘Justice’. In order to create a world in which goods are cheap and plentiful, someone has to pay a heavy price on the front end. This always leads to ‘injustice’ and human exploitation. The LORD is not in support of any forms of injustice! Prosperity that comes at the expense of human lives, the principles of justice/righteousness is NOT prosperity! An evangelistic effort that does not adhere to the basic values of The Word of God is NOT evangelism! Living in a moderate way shows your adherence to God’s will and allows there to be transparency in the body of Christ. In today’s world moderation is not the norm, but it should be the rule when it pertains to evangelism. (Phillipians 4:5)


Integrity Lifestyle- This lifestyle evangelism cannot be realized unless there are some extremely difficult decisions made by an individual or community. Integrity is more than just being honest or telling the truth. Integrity has to be built & developed, and that is the ONLY way to obtain it in life. Consistency is the key to integrity, without it, the environment that allows integrity to develop becomes unstable. "Spiritual Schizophrenia" is a condition in which an individual or a community lives in one way on Monday and on Tuesday in a whole other way. This type of lifestyle stifles evangelism and gives people suspicions about the intent of those that spread the Gospel. The only way to evangelize with an ‘integrity lifestyle’ is: to make serious sacrifices, to discipline your mind, to control your body, to cut yourself off from destructive influences, to consistently make righteous unpopular decisions, and to be totally sold out to God’s will and not your own. (Proverbs 11:3)


Servant Lifestyle- This lifestyle evangelism exemplifies the Gospel in a living way. As we serve, we show people a tangible representation of the Gospel. The example and the Spirit of Christ compels us to serve. But a true servant has to humble himself/herself even as The Lord Jesus Christ humbled himself. Humility is the main point of power in servant-hood; and when people see you serving them as if you were serving The Lord Jesus Christ, it creates an indelible mark in their spirits. Humility is not an easy state to live in, but it will yield a fruitful harvest of souls when done to the fullest. (Mark 10:35-45)


This study on 21st century Evangelism should not have presented anything that is new to you. But I hope and pray that it will help you realize that the time that we are living in is different and we need to kick our evangelism into another gear. The time for games is over! The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and when we win souls we are showing how far we have come. Let us run this race knowing that our only hope is in The LORD Jesus Christ……James 4:6-10 Resistance is FUTURE