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Evangelizing to People Who Have Heard it All Before | RELEVANT Magazine

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Within a society where people know the gist of what Christianity teaches but words such as “converts,” “evangelism” and “proselytize” are increasingly associated with religious zealots, abusive cults and violent terrorism, it’s becoming more difficult to communicate faith-based ideas without being offensive or perceived as a close-minded bigot.

Historically, evangelism has sometimes been used as a weapon to hurt, shame, guilt and induce fear. Its longtime associations with obnoxious street preachers, sleazy televangelists and corrupt organizations make it even less appealing to the public—and to Christians themselves.

Being on the receiving end of bad evangelism means suffering through preachy presentations that are contrived and superficial. Instead of hearing something honest and truthful, it’s often just a sales pitch with quick answers and no room for questioning, doubt, skepticism or critical thinking. Theology is presented as black and white, doctrines are non-negotiable, and entire populations are predestined to either a blissful eternity in heaven or a torturous afterlife in hell.

Being on the receiving end of bad evangelism means suffering through preachy presentations that are contrived and superficial.

As a Christian, I’ve never once enjoyed being evangelized to, whether it was regarding Christianity or any other belief. Why? Because the context is usually extremely uncomfortable and the premise is built upon the preconception that you’re wrong. Instead of a conversation about faith, evangelism can feel more like an aggressive prosecutor grilling you for a crime you didn’t commit.

Can we pray for you? Do you believe in Jesus? How do you know you’re saved? What church do you go attend? What version of the Bible do you read?

Obviously, comfort shouldn’t be the deciding factor for whether we evangelize, and Jesus instructed us to carry out the Great Commission regardless of whether it’s easy or difficult, but our entire concept of evangelism needs to change. Here are five principles Christians should apply when evangelizing:

1. Make It About God.

Evangelism isn’t about promoting yourself, a pastor, a church or a denomination. It’s not even about heaven or hell. Instead, it’s ultimately about a relationship with Jesus— about revealing God.

2. Be Motivated Out of Love.

Too often, evangelism is driven by hate, distrust, guilt, shame, bitterness and fear. It shouldn’t be about stats, fulfilling a quota, self-righteously patting yourself on the back or reinforcing your own beliefs. If evangelism isn’t motivated by love, just stop doing it.

3. Be Honest.

We mistakenly assume our faith testimony should be rehearsed, without error and perfectly tidy—but this isn’t the messy reality of life. Honestly, we don’t have all the answers, and our faith isn’t about knowing everything—instead it’s about knowing God. Above all else, be real.

4. Be Graceful

The Gospel isn’t about proving others wrong. It’s about sharing the love of Christ. Evangelism should be full of patience, empathy, dialogue and mutual appreciation—full of grace and understanding. Learn, listen, and never approach someone with an attitude of moral superiority—always be humble.

The Gospel isn’t about proving others wrong. It’s about sharing the love of Christ.

5. Be Respectful.

Evangelism isn’t hijacking a family while they’re walking to a baseball game or yelling at a bus full of helpless passengers. Sometimes we need to learn to tone it down and prayerfully wait for the right opportunity to come along.

We mistakenly assume evangelism should consist of high-pressure tactics, confrontation and in-your-face strategies. More often than not, it’s the complete opposite.

In many cases, we’re more comfortable talking with people we don’t know than those who are closest to us because we don’t want to cause pain or discomfort to those we love—so we randomly approach strangers, where the stakes—and consequences of our actions—are lower. Using street evangelism-style practices aren’t always bad—but be respectful.

Overall, evangelism is increasingly seen as counter-cultural and distasteful—it’s a social faux pas. Secular society is—understandably—tired of hypocritical Christians trying to change people, especially when it’s done out of selfish ambition, to promote agendas and without love.

So what should modern evangelism look like? For Christians, the answer is Jesus. It’s dedicating our lives to helping those in need, feeding the poor, taking care of the sick, representing the oppressed, fighting injustice and sacrificially serving the world around us, wholeheartedly loving others without expecting anything in return. We should emulate the life of Jesus to the best of our ability. God help us.


Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/evangelizing-people-who-have-heard-it-all#GkYpeFqLBkJOvXUG.99


By Stephen Mattson
October 13, 2014

Stephen Mattson blogs at
stephenjmattson.com
and you can follow him on
Twitter @mikta.


Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/evangelizing-people-who-have-heard-it-all#GkYpeFqLBkJOvXUG.99

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Autocorrect Humanity

Affirmation of the human spirit is not tied into the validation of a “Like” button.

 

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What is everywhere and nowhere and has no center?

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http://soulblindministry.com/2012/09/04/what-is-everywhere-and-nowhere-and-has-no-center-the-answer/

YOU CAN Create a Beautiful Reality

 Beauty comes from within.

The beauty of you is the center of your reality. What you fill yourself with can feed the hunger and emptiness in others. Grow like a tree that can feed the world.

 

James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

 

2 Corinthians 9:10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)

How Different are We Really?

 

How different are we really from the animals? They feel, think and care. And genetically we really are only so different from them. Even elephants and whales have finger or toe bones. Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they are not there. People often forget that we too are animals, only we have a higher capacity for conscious reasoning, and unfortunately we too have a higher capacity for unreasonable cruelties based on our own personal miseries.

 

Love and playing is universal in almost all life here on Earth. Even plants are connected and respond to their neighbors and surroundings; only we have a harder time seeing it in most because they don’t react like we might. So though it is true that you are the center of your world,  you are not in fact the center of the universe. Live as a part of something greater and stop trying to be so great to your own eyes.

 

Love, Relate, Share and Care… After all isn’t love: patient, kind and longsuffering?

 

2 Corinthians 6:6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,

 

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

 

Ephesians 4:2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

 

Colossians 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

The Generation Gap

Numbers 14:18 The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.

If the sins of the father carry over, so too couldn’t his blessings and mercy?

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soulblindministry:

Love and nature

Originally posted on Changing Journey:

papago I am so excited! See that mountain? That is now one of several right outside our backdoor! We’ve been dying to get out and explore the trails. Unfortunately, we’re five days in and haven’t been able to.

It’s funny how change….whether good or bad, can bring a combination of emotions.

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The wonders of the Great Artist brings serenity and wonder to my soul… what a great trip. Simple but magical. I love this state… and my girl.

Originally posted on Changing Journey:

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It’s absolutely spectacular, isn’t it?

After a rough 50 hour work week and impending move, Daniel and I thought a little trip out of town was in order!  For days we debated on where to go and for how long.  It had even come down to a point of wondering if we should go anywhere at all.  Phoenix was to get rain all day on Saturday, which is a rare occurrence, and the higher elevations were to get snow.  Not exactly traveling weather!  Then, at the last possible minute, we decided to take a day trip north.  The weather had cleared and cabin fever had set in.  This beautiful sight was our destination; the Grand Canyon.  It truly lives up to it’s name!  Of course this was the final destination.  Since I’m still fairly new to Arizona, there were a few other places Daniel wanted to share with me along the…

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