Posted by: sdunnpastor | February 12, 2011

CHANGING THE PERCEPTIONS OF EVANGELISM

Changing the Perceptions of Evangelism
June 28, 2010

By Chris Hunter

“Chris, how do we change the perceptions of personal evangelism in our congregation when our members seem hesitant to talk about their faith?”

I’ve been asked this question many different times over the last three years since I started EvangelismCoach.org

It is regularly asked by pastors, members of regional governing bodies, and a few church planters.

If our work is leading congregations, we need to figure out how to lead our congregations into new ways of effective personal evangelism.

We admit that old models are not working. Some congregations may have a core competency in evangelism, but it is not a core practice.
3 Changes

1. A Mindset Change.

Most personal evangelism training has focused on getting decisions to follow Christ. The process feels like product sales.

We might have to learn a particular technique, a style, or approach that would work in no matter what situation we find ourselves in.

If we just memorize the right presentation, and use the right questions, we’ll get a convert.

It’s like following a recipe.

While this may not be the intent of such training, the end result for users is that evangelism feels like a slick sales technique.

As I’ve interacted with hundreds of people in my evangelism training seminars over the years, this form of evangelism is scary. When I ask about evangelism training, these types of model comes up with a sense of dread.

So we have to find a way to do evangelism that puts us in a different mindset — one that is outside the sales technique that many of us don’t like.

2. A Heart Change – vibrant personal faith

Do we have a faith worth sharing? (See this discussion guide)

It’s one thing to communicate information and content.

It’s another thing to communicate life transformation.

The basic motivation for contagiously sharing our faith is our own personal encounter with Jesus.

If we don’t have a vibrant personal faith, all we have is someone else’s story.

Sure, we have the basic information of the gospel, but we remain unable to say what real difference it makes in our life.

We have to help our members develop a vibrant personal faith where they experience God’s presence and work.

We have to find a way to help our members express their faith journey and grow comfortable talking about the work of God in their life.

3. A Model Change

We need to find a model of evangelism that emphasizes

* The sovereignty of God over the process.
* The process of a person’s journey to faith in Christ.
* Cooperation with the Holy Spirit at a given moment on the way.
* How to look for a person’s spiritual need and matching your explanation to that need.

This gets us beyond gospel scripts (which are great tools in the process of evangelism), but helps us find the freedom to have conversations that help people on their journey of faith.

This gets us into trusting God for the process of evangelism, and helps us realize our role in that process.

This kind of model also helps us learn how to start a conversation that is appropriate, rather than being the obnoxious evangelist.
Let me ask you this?

What other kinds of changes do you think would help you lead people into a new perception of personal evangelism

Chris Hunter is the head of a training organization called, “The Evangelism Coach.” He will be teaching our May 21, 2011 School of Evangelism course “Developing a Strategy of Evangelism in the Local Church”

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