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Monday, July 31

Denial and DaVinci

I listened to a talk (download here) this morning regarding how Christians ought to think about The DaVinci Code. Some of you may this is old news and we need to move on with other issues since the movie has proven to be a disappointment (on several levels).

However, in the talk something was mentioned that stuck in my mind. It is something I mentioned while teaching Sunday School yesterday on evangelism. It relates with Romans 1.18-25. As promised I will be posting on how to “do” evangelism.

Consider this my first post on the topic.

Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans that men, in their unrighteousness suppress what they know to be true. That is, the myriad of discussions I have had with people who deny that God exists are suppressing the truth that they have ingrained in them (and which is easily perceived in the world). The issue for the Christian is not merely trying to show a non-believer that God exists, it is digging deeper into the person’s life and asking what the reason for their suppression of the truth.

When we have dialogues with people they are not coming to the conversation with a blank slate ready to be convinced. No, they are coming with a childhood where the youth pastor was jerk, church folk unrighteously judged, abuse, etc. In other words, these friends we are talking with have a myriad of reasons they don’t want to believe in God. Rather than press into God they foolishly blame him for sin in their life or in other’s lives. It’s easier that way.

By denying the existence of God I have no King who demands my joyful obedience. I can also seem pretty righteous because I’m not like “them.” I can feel intellectually superior because I don’t need the projection of religion (as Freud called it) or a crutch (as Mark penned).

Humans, by nature, are worshipers. The question is what does one worship. Paul tells us that the unrighteous “exchanged” worship of God for worship of another. He says creature. We should not interpret that as merely snakes, birds, elephants...we should also leave room for human beings.

This human worship is expressed either in falling over to touch the arm of a rock star. Or it’s expressed in watching every word and action so people affirm your social graces. Or it’s expressed in having all the right hand gestures when preaching. Or it’s expressed in how many people visit your blog. Okay, enough public confession.

My point comes to what was said in the DaVinci talk. The reason why The DaVinci Code has been so popular is due to the fact that worshipers will grasp for anything that gives the least bit of promise to free them from obedience to their Maker. Betrand Russell made the erroneous claim that it was not clear enough that God existed - from the facts on the ground. This is what Proverbs calls foolishness. It is like denying that air exists. More than this, it is rebellion.

The reason why The DaVinci Code (and future polemics against Christianity will) flourish is because humans will reach out in the dark for any tom-foolery that will enable them to worship themselves. It has been shown that so much of the blasphemies in The DaVinci Code have no ground to stand on, but people will still tout the claims as true. Skepticism seems so righteous to the fool.

Next post will be delving into how we can press the legitimacy and truth of Christianity’s claims into the questions and conscience of our friends.

[Disclaimer: I have seen the movie. I am not against reading the book. We need,however, to think critically and respond lovingly to honest questions.]

Thursday, July 27

Feeling Hard Pressed and Downcast?

I just listened to this message from Matt Chandler from the Resurgence web site. I would recommend you listen if you are going through a dark night of the soul. If you have given into self-pity and isolation and worry...listen to this dear pastor, and aspiring elder. It will be good for your soul to remind you that ministry is not about you and your ministry. We follow our rejected and murdered Messiah.

Download Here

[Note: If you have a conviction about the word “freaking” that you can’t get around, don’t listen.]

The Funniest Podcast I Have Seen To Date

My friends Rhett & Link (see "friends" link on left bar) have a podcast that never has ceased to get me laughing...hard! This foto you see here is from their debate depicted as a caribou and flower as to whether one should use a debit/credit card vs. cash. You can subscribe to their podcast here and visit their web site here . Tell ‘em Wireman sent ya.

To see Dr Mohler take on Rhett in a battle of wits (“Go Fish,” “Tic-Tac-Toe,” and “Hangman”) go here. This could easily have been a separate post on why I love my school. It is a gift from God to have a man of Dr Mohler’s caliber act silly for a laugh. May God grant more of us the humility that is displayed in these acts of humor...

Wednesday, July 26

Positive Reinforcement

I have been treating the topic of evangelism lately. Some critiques have been pretty harsh as I look at evangelicalism (and liberalism) and see a disregard for true teaching of the evangel (the good message). Evangelism is near to my heart as I spent about 6 years working alongside Campus Crusade for Christ - an intensely evangelistic group. I participated in everything from surveys to handing out Freshman Survival Kits (boxes that had college novelties and a Bible and More Than a Carpenter).

My thinking throughout college was, “How can someone be a Christian and not want to tell others?” I listened to folks who reasoned away any kind of proclamation of the truth of Christianity for fear of man. I watched Christians try rather absurd methods of “reaching” people with the Good News. ((For those of you who wonder, you need to know that having a Christian band play in the quad of campus will not do anything to move someone to conversion. More so, after several observations, it is doubtful that after hearing the band, those that stick around will find it normal or winsome to have some middle-aged man give a 30-minute talk on why you need Jesus. Even if the talk seems to be relevant to college life, a talk on how to win friends and influence people will do neither when Jesus is relegated to someone who is supposed to help me become the person God made me to be...Finish Rant))

I am going to try and offer some positive alternatives to the traditional “evangelistic” meeting. I have been reading Packer’s life-changing work, Questioning Evangelism, and listened to several sermons on the topic. While my own view of evangelism is getting challenged and honed, I want to bounce ideas off you with the hope that you will sharpen my thoughts...Okay?

This has just been a prelude for where I am heading to give you a heads up...heady?

Friday, July 21

Friday Foto


Rich Man from Corinth

1 Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
2 Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
3 Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.
4   Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
5 They have mouths, but do not speak;
eyes, but do not see.
6 They have ears, but do not hear;
noses, but do not smell.
7 They have hands, but do not feel;
feet, but do not walk;
and they do not make a sound in their throat.
8 Those who make them become like them;
so do all who trust in them (Psa 115)

This verse should bring new significance to those of us who live in a culture where our idols are not molded like these statues and erected in the middle of our cities. Numerous stories had to made up about them. Why? Because they didn’t exist. They never broke in space and time to reveal themselves. The gods that were refuted in Acts 17 were licentious, impotent statues. They were more like our present-day soap opera stars. Drama and no fiber.

No our gods - money, success, etc - are served everyday when people commit suicide in their cars. They turn on the radio, zombie into their cubicle, sit down, and drone...Life isn’t supposed to be like this. Life consists of more than what we have. May we not become like our idols, but be alive.

Tuesday, July 18

Why I Love My Church...[2]

That’s right, I am now on part 2 although I already wrote part 3. Why? I forgot that I had not written part 2 yet and had went right on with 3. When counting, it is always important to remember to follow 1 with 2 and that going from 1 to 3 is right out. This rule is especially true when using holy hand grenades.

In any case, this shalt be the second installment of “Why I Love My Church...“

On Wednesday, July 5th I was invited by the elders at my church to their meeting. While I am the Deacon of the Website for the church, they wanted to get an update on my progress and plans for the website. But this is not why I love my church (though I could make it one if I need another one).

The reason I love my church is because after spending an hour with me getting an ear full of ideas and plans for the website, they proceeded to spend another hour asking about my life and desire to minister. If the Lord wills, I will graduate in May of next year with a Master of Divinity degree from Southern Seminary. The elders are meeting with each person who is in their final year of their degree. They want to find out: how you came to know Jesus, how you came to desire to be an elder, and what your future plans are.

Not only did they want to know about me, but they want to know how they could help me in this final year to prepare for ministry. So many churches send their aspiring elders off to seminary to get trained for the ministry. While the seminary has a key role in the theological training of future pastors, it cannot (and should not) be the only voice speaking into the future minister’s life. Rather, Paul told Timothy to watch his life and doctrine. Doctrine is something that is easily measurable with an essay or multiple-choice exam. Life, however, requires a little more energy and vulnerability that not many churches are willing to exert...nor future pastors.

This is meeting with aspiring elders is something new at 3ABC, but it is a start. I was so encouraged by our meeting. There was nothing formal about it. Indeed, it was just talking and bouncing questions off each other and clarifying my call and ways that I would like them to speak truth in my life. The beauty of this is that there must be a balance between formal and informal interaction.

Oh that more churches would take the call to rebuke, encourage, and help the aspiring elders in their church! May the Church be strengthened by intentional elders who lead and pry into the lives of men who can fake spirituality on the academic level, but can fool no one who knows them.

Friday, July 14

My Attempt at a Friday Foto

Unmovable Movable Pillars

This was taken in Palmyra. The name for the foto comes from the demonstration our guide gave us (not to mention the play on words from classical apologetics). He took a spoon, lodged it at the bottom of the pillar and pushed on the pillar. The spoon moved, showing movement in the pillar.

I also uploaded some more fotos to my flickr page. The new ones are under the Ba’albek & Palmyra set (you will find that on the right sidebar). I would have made a separate set, but I have the free flickr account and am only allowed three sets. Oh, the bane of saving money...Rather, not having it.

See also joethorn, Steve McCoy, Alex Forrest, and Kevin Cawley.

Thursday, July 13

Why I Love My Church...[3]

With all the talk of being “missional,” the elders at my church are discussing and critiquing this phenomenon of jargon. It has been helpful and I am looking forward to more posts. I was particularly challenged by Kaiser Keisling’s post this morning. Here’s an excerpt:

This leads to one of my questions about the “missional” folks. The pursuit for the indigenous culture sounds like a quest to identify some native, unique, previously unknown culture (like the noble savage) that if we can study and imitate, then we can make ready for conversion. Well, this could be good at many levels, but it can be bad at many levels. What I see of many “missional” folks is that they have identified the “indigenous” culture of their 20-30 something contemporaries and adopted it. Is indigenous culture defined by a geographical boundary or really the same old homogeneous-unit principle? From my vantage point, the missional quest for an indigenous culture is really grandpa’s homogeneous-unit principle with more facial hair and more expensive coffee. (Disclaimer: I think the more facial hair and good coffee one can muster the better.)

I haven’t given this lots of thought, but my intuition has always been be well aware of the culture and to do as little as possible to offend the culture, but within the church to develop a culture that is as transcultural as possible through simplicity, timelessness, and thoughtfulness thereby allowing the beauty, truth and power of the gospel to be displayed in all its slendor. In short, it is a Tiffanys approach that I am after I guess. I think in the end that a gift from Tiffanys would be welcome in any culture — how about Linden, Texas?

Wednesday, July 12

Hasselhoff Love

I couldn’t resist! A little humor for the midday hump. This is in honor of Mr Kevin Cawley, who is a huge Hasselhoff fan.

A Gnu Kind of Gnostic

I was chatting with a friend of mine and he made the stellar observation that liberalism is a neo-gnosticism. That is, when you talk with someone who does not believe in the inerrancy of the Scriptures nor in the physical resurrection of Jesus nor in the actual sinfulness of humanity you are talking with someone who believes he has gained a special kind of knowledge unbeknownst to the simpletons who believe the Bible.

“What is Hell?” you might ask. They might reply, “It was a social construct of the Ancient Near East that was used to explain justice and keep people in moral line.”

“Where did you get that from? It seems to be written all over the pages of my Bible...”

“Well, you see, after much study of the ANE we now know the general consensus of the various cultures. The Jewish and Christian concept of Hell was just like the culture around them...otherwise known as Sheol or Hades. Scholars agree that we should not take it as a real place with real suffering.”

What just happened? The answer was backed by scholars and a milieu of verbiage. When broken down into its parts, it really is nothing more than a ballooned argument (it looks big and imposing, but has no substance). Beware, friend, when you encounter folks who know more than their britches can hold and when they get done there ain’t boots high enough for the refuse that you’ll be wading through.

Rather than being enamored by fine sounding arguments that have the appearance of godliness, we need to be convicted to know the Bible better. The answer is not necessarily studying Dr. _______ from ________ who says that your reading is fallacious.

With the augmentation of our culture who lives as though man were the center and this gnu kind of gnosticism*, those who claim to be Christians are going to be sifted. How much greater is Paul’s admonition to his spiritual son, Timothy:

2Tim. 3:1   But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

* Gnosticism was a sect of Christianity that taught there was secret knowledge that could only be gained by various kinds of rituals and membership in the group.

Tuesday, July 11

Evangelical Confession Booths

A heart-probing article by Jonathan Dodson, subtitled: “Why Many Christian Accountability Groups Don’t Work.” His article starts out:

Put ten bucks in the jar. When I recall some of the popular discipleship disciplines I espoused
and practiced in college, I shudder. Did I really think that they were biblical or even helpful? If
one of the guys I was discipling caved into a particular sin he was “being held accountable” for, he had to put ten bucks in the jar. Sometimes the accumulated cash was put in the offering, other times it was used to celebrate “not sinning” over dinner. Somehow, this practice was supposed to motivate holy living.

[HT: Pilgrim in Progress]

What's Wrong With This?

“Just give people the Gospel. Theology won’t save them.”

While I understand the sentiment of making a certain system of doctrine the foundation for justification as bad, I balk at the thought that you can give someone the Gospel without giving them theology. In other words, the Good News is good because it makes an anthropological claim about the sinfulness of man. It makes soteriological claim by explaining that faith in Jesus is what saves. And, yes, it makes a theological claim that Jesus is God. It makes a whole slew of theological claims...The question is: Is there an essential doctrine implicit in the Gospel that must be believed to be saved? Yes.

It is called a theology that is biblical. In other words, when God is defined and Jesus and salvation (essentially, the Gospel) there is a specific teaching about all these that teach a certain theology.

The problem with heretics is that they want to say that people should believe in Jesus, and then they define Jesus in any way they choose (other than being informed from the Scripture). Does this sound too harsh? It might be harsh, but I don’t think “too” is warranted. After all, we are talking about eternal issues.

Jesus is a historical figure who performed historical acts - perfect obedience, healings, redemption, resurrection, intercession, etc. Liberalism wants to paint a face on Jesus that he just can’t wear. He is not a banner for universal human relief from physical suffering. He is not merely a good model of how to win friends and influence people.

If you give someone the Gospel, you are going to give them a theology. You had better make it right.

Monday, July 10

Sow What!?!?

’Southern Baptists are a harvest-oriented denomination living in an unseeded generation“ (Dr Chuck Kelley as quoted in Will McRaney, The Art of Personal Evangelism, 174).

Have the SBC focused so much on the harvesting that they have forgotten that the parable speaks of a man going out to the field with seed to sow? Kelley seems to hit this one on the head. It seems that if you keep harvesting, you’re going to eventually mill weeds. What ever happened to the hard work of tilling and sowing. Has it been relegated to our predecessors? Have we forgotten the faith it takes to share the Gospel and not see fruit so that those who come after us can harvest? More than this, has the evangelical movement put so much emphasis on numbers that we have forgotten that people are the object of our affections? We speak of ”winning people to Christ;“ have people become nothing more than trophies on the shelf of pride? As they collect dust, have we prayed for them that might receive the Word and multiply their lives...or have we been content with their dust?

Health, Wealth, Prosperity, and the Gawdy Gospel

Last week it struck me that much of the illness that we see in evangelicalism is due to this lack of teaching all peoples everything that Jesus commanded. As I mentioned earlier, the preaching of Whitfield and Edwards is far away from filling out a card indicating that you “made a decision.”

I have no qualms with large group meetings. People decided to come and listen and ponder what is spoken. (Don’t worry, I will mention more on door-to-door issues). But for the sake of numbers and a feeling of accomplishing what we have been “called” to do, the message of repentance and solid faith in Jesus was neglected. Sure, we would like to put the tally up at a campaign that says 1,003 people prayed to receive Christ. But what kind of message did they receive? Insurance from Hell (definite play on words here), make me happy (meaning: I am still god and this message is meant to serve my needs), legalism (pat me on the back, I’m in the religious nut club!)...Or did they hear the robust message of God in the flesh, perfectly obedient, was crucified as a substitute, and risen for my justification?

The latter will produce a disciple. The former will feed an idolator.

The title of this post comes from my ponderings on the relationship between the stripped down gospel of revivalism and big tent meetings and that which we see in the health, wealth, prosperity (HWP) movement. What is the relationship? Well, both exalt the person as being the aim of the message. Secondly, if you do not have a robust theology that informs your decisions to follow Jesus, then you will fall back into your old way of thinking (not having your mind conformed; Rom 12.1-2). You will not be fighting resident sin, but will float along in the ocean like an empty bottle. What you need is an anchor to hold you firm.

Thirdly, in the HWP there is no thought of Jesus telling you to deny yourself and take up your death-knell. There is no call to sell all you have. There is no call to hate family, lands, prestige...Instead, coliseums are filled to capacity where the lion of the demanding Gospel is tamed and the ears are tickled with sugar plum dreams. “God wants you to be rich and healthy!” are the cries. But the soul needs a foundation to stand on when they just lost their job and their children are starving and their marriage is on the rocks and they just got diagnosed with a terminal illness. They won’t get that in a false hope of earthly treasures...Nor will they be comforted by the slogan, “Think positive.” What is needed is the Gospel. Does the health, wealth, prosperity movement know the gospel? Or has it dressed up a puppet in the garb of bigger barns and earthly crowns?

Friday, July 7

Dr Powlison's Health Improved

For those of you who have been concerned and praying for Dr Powlison, he is getting better. From Jollyblogger

He said that for five years he had been living with an undiagnosed sleep disorder.  He was never able to enter deep sleep.  Now that he has been properly diagnosed and is being treated he is starting to feel like his old self again.  He mentioned that one of the great things about this is that, for five years he has been pulling back from involvement and activity and now he is in a place where he can begin thinking, praying and strategizing about where to plug back into activities.

[HT: Alex Chediak]

My Attempt at a Friday Foto

Headless Aristocrats

This is my attempt at contributing to the Friday Foto clan. I am novice (as you can tell), but I am learning how to take better pics. I am taking an online class for free on how to take better fotos. If interested, join me by checking out morguefile . In the meantime, check out my flickr site.

I took this at ancient Corinth this summer...

Also check out Joe Thorn's "Thousand Words" as well as Kevin Cawley's "Fat Kid Trying to Play with the Skinny Kids".

Lest Anyone Think...

My past post could have caused a little upset stomachs amongst those that know me. Has Matt gone off the deep end? Is he smelling the tulips in left field? What’s the deal, is evangelism something the once-aflame evangelist has shelved?

The answer to these questions and more are: Probably. Sometimes. No. In that order (though they’re up for amendments).

What I am trying to do is question the mass model of evangelism that has seemed to gain the Christian public’s eye. I fear that we have opted for the market-style evangelism and left the New Testament model out to dry. The open-air style of preaching in Whitfield’s day has become a stripped down version - where Jesus is a slogan and grace is cheap.

The Gospel has been relegated to another step in the personalized version of the 12-step program to the newer, better you. You can believe in Jesus and live like hell the rest of the week...but as long as you believe in Jesus. We’ve forgotten that he is King of kings and Lord of lords. What does a king do? Rule. What does a lord do? Lord. The call to follow Christ is not just a “fix my problems” acceptation. Rather, it is a call to pick up the cross and follow.

More than this...the Great Commission is a command to go and make disciples of all nations, not merely converts. The Gospel has been morphed into a get your bills paid, get your illnesses healed, get your life in order. Instead, it must be explained that it is call to follow where the Master leads.

I will write a little more on this later, but many of our ills that we find in commercialized evangelicalism is due to this stripped down Gospel. We take up the Gospel and dress it in the regal and beauty of who Jesus is. Any religious person can add Christianity to his bag of goodies...it is the Christ of the Bible that will have no other gods before him. This is the Christ that we must preach!

Thursday, July 6

Evangelism: Big Stats, What Kind of Fruit?

In 1972, Campus Crusade for Christ had a huge evangelistic conference in Dallas, TX called Explo ‘72. Attendees were equipped and sent home with the vision of sharing the Gospel with every person in the United States of America by 1976. Though it did not happen, the campaign did “reach” millions with the Gospel.

Phase One of the project was to wear buttons and have billboards and newspaper advertisements that read: “I Found It!” (’it’ meaning eternal life). Phase Two involved trained volunteers making millions of evangelistic telephone calls. Those who prayed with the volunteers, were “visited by the volunteers, given follow-up literature, and encouraged to join a Bible study group in their neighborhood.”

By the end of 1976, 6.5 million people had been contacted, and 536,824 people had indicated they trusted Christ for salvation (60,000 of those joining the neighborhood Bible study group). It was estimated that 50 million people saw the television special that went along with the campaign! Amazing stats...seemed quite effective at “reaching” the United States with the Gospel.

“Though the campaign’s statistics seemed, good, the campaign drew criticism from experts on church growth. Win Arn noted that few of the converts actually joined local churches. For example, in Edmonton, Canada, 1,700 workers from 63 participating churches recorded 1,009 decisions for Christ. Only 250 of those people actually attended one Bible study, and not a single person became a church member as a result of the campaign. In Indianapolis 823 volunteer made 28,976 telephone calls. These calls produced 1,665 decisions for Christ. However, only 242 attended a Bible study, and only 55 became church members. Of these, 23 were transfers from another church. Therefore, the net gain in membership in area churches was 32” (John Mark Terry, Evangelism: A Concise History, 189-190).

Wednesday, July 5

Photos of a Temple to Ba'al

While on my trip to the Middle East, we went to Ba’albek, Lebanon. This is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the world. It is a massive center with three temples: Ba’al (converted to a temple to Jupiter after the Romans took control of the area), Bacchus (Phoenician god of fertility), and Venus. Check out my photos of this site here. Also peruse the other albums as I added more photos to them (since they pertain to those respective subjects). You can also subscribe to my flickr account to see when I update it. I spent a little more time making comments on the photos in hopes that it will help with your study of archaeology and biblical history. For more information go to this site.

Movie on Wilberforce

Walden Media will be bringing the life of English abolitionist, William Wilberforce, to the big screen. Check it out here. It’s called Amazing Grace.

[HT: SBC Outpost]

Tuesday, July 4

A Criticism of Evangelism Answered

A couple months ago I posted on why I love my church. An Anonymous commenter said this:

I live on the 1700 block of S. Third St. and your "progressive" church has never even tried to reach my building. maybe you should spend less time blogging and more time reaching your community, but wait, isn't that why you went there in the first place?

While I am disturbed on one level (the attitude and anonymity of the commenter) I am more bothered by the fact that the critique went un-defined and without a positive way we might grow in evangelism. [Sidenote: If you want to comment on this blog, have the integrity to stand behind what you say. In the meantime, read this post.] My hope is that Anonymous will read this response (which is the beginning of my reply to him).

Firstly, what does it mean to "reach" a building or a person? I think I have in mind what he means: doing some kind of outreach that would entail knocking on doors, doing a survey, trying to share some points about how someone might go about becoming a Christian. While this might work (by the way, there was a group of folks that went out in the neighborhood to do some surveys and such a year or so ago), I think we should critique the method. Very seldom does this method work. At least in a biblical sense. People may hear the Gospel and be called to respond, but is there evidence that this person is truly saved (i.e. attending church, fellowshipping with other Christians, having a hunger for the Bible, etc)? If we want to build up our confidence (and sometimes, pride) then it might just work at doing that.

I have been involved in such evangelistic "campaigns" and have to say, there is little lasting fruit. We can give ourselves a pat on the back and claim that we are persecuted for the sake of Christ. But is this actually why people don't come to church as a result of this method? To some degree, granted, but most of the time it’s due to the method. Imagine your in your apartment vacuuming the carpet and there’s a ring at the door. Turning off the vacuum and going to the door, you see a person (or two or five) standing there with big grins on their faces.

"Hello, my name is Matthew Wireman. I am a member of Third Avenue Baptist Church up the street. We are going door to door and asking people if we can talk to them about the most important thing in our lives. Would you mind if we chatted with you?" How strange! Really. Think about it. How strange is it when a Mormon or a Jehovah's Witness does this? How upset do we get (as Christians, mind you, who are supposed to love our neighbor and not ridicule)? I don't know about you, but my day has been interrupted for the sake of some stranger coming to my door and wanting to talk to me about eternal matters. How surprised should we be when people frown, close the door, and then tell their neighbor how ridiculous the whole ordeal was...how Christians don't have a clue? This, in my estimation, is not reaching someone.

Secondly, Anonymous recommended that I spend less time blogging and more time reaching my community. It is interesting that he is being reached by reading this blog, isn't it? Or is just me that sees the irony? Not to mention the other folks I have dialogued with from California to Connecticut via this "trivial tool"? I would be slow to speak about blogging not being a means to reach both your immediate context and one that is thousands of miles away.

I will write some more regarding a critique of the traditional door-to-door model of evangelism. I want to think through some more what it would look like to invest time in relationships and genuinely care about someone's eternal destiny, rather than the numbers of people I have talked to (and unintentionally turned away).

Monday, July 3

A Thought on Evangelism and Church Structure

“If we really want to reach people for Christ by developing quality relationships with lost people, we will have to rethink the schedules of our church organizations. Our church schedules can easily prevent us from being the church as we invest time going to multiple meetings at the church building. We too easily create systems that do not support evangelism. Evaluate whether your church’s systems and startegies are supporting those who are willing to share their faith or keeping them excessively busy to they have no time to share.
        “Coaching a Little League team may be the most spiritual activity in a Christian man’s week. Participating in a PTO may be a great service to the kingdom in a mother’s week” (Will McRaney, The Art of Personal Evangelism, pp.119-200).

In a culture where productivity is of utmost importance, many churches have opted for the big evangelistic event. They have forsaken the hard, emotional work of getting involved in people’s live - opting for the hard, superficial work of planning and marketing. Since people are impressed with numbers, rather than true conversions, invite-your-friend Sunday has taken precedence.

What a beautiful thing to have your friend invite you into their life and social circles. That’s when you know you have incarnated the Gospel for them. Anyone can organize a big event. It takes a patient, Spirit-filled Christian to love and care for someone who does not know Jesus yet.
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