Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Is Evangelism Changing?

When I was a kid at my home church in Decatur, I remember going on visitation. I remember handing out "God's Simple Plan of Salvation" tracts and one of our leaders being chased down by a German shepherd. :) Basically our goal and hope was that someone would read the tract agree with the information and pray the sinner's prayer.

As I grew older there seemed to be less emphasis on this type of evangelism and more on what was termed "lifestyle" evangelism. Basically we would try to live like Jesus would live and hopefully people would see that we were different from the rest of the world, and they would ask us why and we could tell them our salvation story. Our hope was by seeing that we were different, they would want what we had and ask Christ into their life.

I found this quote today from Out of Ur:
"The old paradigm of evangelism was a transactional sharing of the gospel. I would try to get people to intellectually agree with me. But the new paradigm is different, an approach in which I invite you to walk alongside me, examine my life, and see evidence of the truth, and hopefully there will be something compelling that you see. It's a no-strings-attached invitation to enter my life as I follow Jesus."

-Ken Fong is the senior pastor of Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles. Taken from "5 Kinds of Christians" in the Fall 2007 issue of Leadership journal.

Is this any different than what we've been calling "lifestyle" evangelism? I guess the difference is that the emphasis is not on agreeing intellectually, or winning some sort of holy argument, but examining who I am as much as what I believe.

I tend to think the "what" is pretty important. I guess this could be where the church is changing. What do you think?

If you're interested in the changing church culture you also want to check out a great read about 5 kinds of Christians at Christianity today. It reminds us that our culture is changing, but it also emphasizes the need for Biblical Literacy.

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