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ISSUE 01 >>

2011

a newfrontiers usa publication

the evangelism issue Lex Loizides >> The Adventurous Joy of Evangelism Matt Sweetman >> Boost Your Evangelism Welcome The River

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SOUNDBITE • QUICK LOOK

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IAN ASHBY • APPS


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JOHN LANFERMAN >> Team Leader >> Newfrontiers USA

THE COMPELLING GOSPEL OF JESUS Dallas Willard asks some provocative questions in his book The Divine Conspiracy: 1. Does the gospel we teach and preach have a natural tendency to cause the people who hear it to become full-time disciples of Jesus? 2. Would those who believe it become His apprentices as a natural next step? Willard’s questions cause me to step back and think: have we domesticated the gospel to the point that it doesn’t compel people to become serious followers of Jesus? Are we presenting the idea that discipleship is optional, only for the few, “ultra-committed” core? Has the Church been devastated by the “optional discipleship” situation? Is the gospel we believe a domesticated version, not reflective of who Jesus is and the radical message He taught? All of these things effect how people live out the implications of Jesus today. We cannot and will not live out the message of the Kingdom from the “receive Jesus and when you die you’ll go to Heaven” propositional approach.

Christians are clear that sins are taken care of by “justification through faith by the grace of God.” Lest you fear a works approach or legalism, we move in discipleship through the same grace by the power of the Spirit. There are things for us to do, but it is not through merit but by simple cooperation with God’s Spirit and His grace. “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove in vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10). When the gospel message is reduced to “forgiveness only,” it doesn’t move us toward discipleship. I’ve noticed bumper sticker slogans often reflect a domesticated gospel: “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” Is this all there is: JUST forgiven? Nothing more? Willard’s questions reveal the propositional approach actually becomes an invitation to omit Jesus from our “now life.”

A Look at the Gospel According to Jesus 1. The gospel is centered in Jesus Himself. The gospel gives the redemptive story of Jesus that demonstrates God’s passion and purpose for the world. 2. The gospel is centered on the reign of God at hand. Jesus’ coming was the decisive event that declared the future had now invaded the present. Eternal life entered our present reality. God’s Kingdom, His rule, reign and realm are eternal. We make our “now-life” eternal to the degree we enter His story now, by faith through grace.

Subscribe to John’s Blog at: http://johnlanferman.blogspot.com


SOUNDBITE

Perhaps we should change the question from, “If you were to die today, do you know where you would go?” …to, “If you were going to live tomorrow, whom would you follow and what would you do?”

The mission and message of the Church is the same: “This good news of the Kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). 3. Jesus’ gospel is an invitation into the Kingdom of God.

The “come forward, say this prayer (giving mental assent to the theory of atonement) so that when you die you can go to Heaven” is not Jesus’ message. “…Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying ‘the time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel’” (Mark 1:14-15). This is Jesus’ version of the gospel.

Jesus is The Way into this remarkable new life. Eternal life is not spatial (beyond the stars somewhere), nor chronological (waiting for us when we die). It is a quality of life that begins now as Jesus invites us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, follow Him and lose our life in order to find it (Matthew 16:24-25). He invites us to give up an inferior life outside the Kingdom for a superior life in it. By living in the Kingdom story, we are routinely challenged to announce and demonstrate the reality of His rule in our lives. Certainly we go to Heaven when we die! However, the goal is spiritual formation into Christ, continuing the lifestyle of Jesus as a true representation of that future Kingdom now. Saying “yes” to God’s Kingdom story means being put into His family and interacting with His Church. This involves our entire life.

The gospel is not all about us. It’s all about God and His plan for man. It is not the consumer approach of: “add Jesus to your life and be happy with eternal life insurance.” Jesus’ central message throughout the gospels was about a present reality of God’s rule and reign. He confirmed His teaching with signs and healings that displayed the reign of God was overthrowing the kingdom of darkness.

Perhaps we should change the question from, “If you were to die today, do you know where you would go?” …to, “If you were going to live tomorrow, whom would you follow and what would you do?”

Jesus quoted Isaiah while teaching in His hometown and described His mission to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, good news to the poor, the release of captives, sight to the blind, and freedom to the oppressed. Later He said, “I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God to other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose” (Luke 4:43).

Salvation means a transformation of lifestyle. Our new life isn’t about our merit or being seen as religious, but about cooperating with Him, being empowered by His Spirit and bearing the fruit of His Spirit. The gospel is about His Kingdom transforming our life and our mandate of making disciples of Jesus from all people groups.

Eventually Jesus sent His disciples on a mission with His message: “As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘the Kingdom of Heaven has come near’” (Matthew 10:7).

WELCOME: THE RIVER LEADER: Kevin Grant

LOCATION: Portland, ME

The river

MISSION: The River serves an urban community in coastal southern Maine and seeks to make disciples from the diverse population of local Mainers and recently emigrated people from many nations (particularly Africa and the Middle East).

theriverinme.com

NEWFRONTIERS CONNECTION: The River is a church pioneering work coming out of Harbor Church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

KEVIN AND SARAH GRANT


LEX LOIZIDES >> Jubilee Community Church >> Cape Town, South Africa

THE ADVENTUROUS JOY OF EVANGELISM “Even if I were utterly selfish, and didn’t care about anything except my own happiness, I would choose to be a soul-winner. For I never knew perfect, overflowing, unutterable happiness, till I first heard of someone who had found the Savior through my efforts. I recollect the thrill of joy which went through me!” CH Spurgeon There are many believers who can agree with that. There’s nothing quite so motivating and rewarding as being part of this miraculous change in someone’s life. Seeing them turn from all that they were, and become someone who now cherishes Christ, loves the Bible, defends the faith and even seeks to win others, is incredible! I remember the confusion of emotions I felt when my father emailed me from the USA to tell me that he had gone forward at a church service and given his life to Christ. Had I entered some strange parallel universe in which my dad was now a Bible believing Christian? I remember being stunned by news that he was enthusiastically participating in a follow up course, and then later, of how he and my mother were running Rick Warren’s 40 Days of Purpose Seminar in their home!

RECOMMENDED READING

It was a joy, some years later, to participate in an Easter Service together with my father on the island of Cyprus where he read the scriptures in Greek and I then preached in English. We were united to bring others to Christ!

Don’t Give up! An obvious application from this highpoint in my own evangelistic adventure is that we should persevere. It was nineteen years after my own conversion that my father came to Christ. My mother is still unsure about the gospel. The heart of evangelism will never change. We are seeking to respectfully tell the story of who Jesus is and what He accomplished for us through His life, death and resurrection.

Subscribe to Lex’s Blog at: lexloiz.wordpress.com

a. Just Walk Across the Room by Bill Hybels b. The Soul Winner by CH Spurgeon

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c. The Reason for God by Timothy Keller


We need to sow much more evangelistic seed than we currently are doing if we expect to reap a harvest as local churches! QUICK LOOK

What do you expect to be doing in 5 years? Spending more time helping young leaders to lead and start new churches.

Who is your favorite bible character and why? Nehemiah. I keep going back to him again and again for inspiration when the going gets tough.

Who has shaped your life? Lots of people, some great church leaders, past and present. But mostly I think, my wife, Emma.

You Reap What You Sow

*Personal Tracts DVD will be available at all Celebration 2011 conferences and from www.newfrontiersusa.org on June 1.

The Church is the Key Finally, the local church is, of course, the main engine of evangelistic endeavor in the world. Pray that as your various public church services are being planned, they would be relevant to the non-believer, so that you can bring your friends and introduce them into a community that’s been transformed by the gospel of grace.

John Donjon

APPS

St. Louis, MO

Recently, I worked on a project to produce a Personal Tracts DVD. This DVD introduces a brilliant little tool that anyone can use. A personal tract is a small leaflet of about 450 words that includes a personal message by you about the gospel. It isn’t a theological treatise or an autobiography, but merely a gospel seed—something striking about who God is and what He can do. This is seed that you can sow every day. I would encourage you to get the DVD and start sowing that seed!

IAN ASHBY

currently the lead elder at Harbor Church (Portsmouth, NH) and serve on the Newfrontiers USA apostolic team that John Lanferman leads.

My wife and I have both learned that it’s great to make friends with those who are not of the same beliefs as us. It’s life enriching to hear their stories and learn from their experiences. It’s wonderful to see them gradually opening up to the gospel, attend relevant events and ask great questions. Make sure you prioritize these kinds of friendships in your week, otherwise evangelism will become an abstract “to-do” item, like a chore on your spiritual “to-do” list. It’s not only closer friendships with nonbelievers that bring a sense of adventure into our Christian lives. We must also reach out to those we don’t know, and those whom we may never meet again. We need to sow much more evangelistic seed than we currently are doing if we expect to reap a harvest as local churches!

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What is your leadership role in the church and Newfrontiers USA? I am

We’ll need to answer objections as they arise, present the story in an attractive way, and encourage repentance and faith in the power of the Holy Spirit. As innovations, campaigns, fresh ideas come and go, we must engage with each of them as the Spirit leads. But the essential task of communicating the good news that Christ has come to reconcile us to God remains constant. Don’t give up!

Jubilee Church

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SPECIAL FEATURE

ap·pli·ca·tion noun \ a-ple-ka-shen\ an act of applying;

an act of putting to a special use or purpose While sitting in a Sunday morning service, my wife and I both sensed God prompting us to serve on a Transformation Team this past summer with Destination Church (Chicago, IL). Newfrontiers USA held Transformation Teams to help train and encourage people to share Christ with others. So we made plans to follow God’s prompting, thinking we would participate in seeing the lives of people in the Chicago area transformed. As it turns out, we were amazingly transformed ourselves! After talking with person after person and hearing story after story, we realized that without the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ, these people had no hope. After 20+ years of being Christians, we realized it could become easy to settle into routine, forgetting the real reason we are Christ followers. Actually, we were saved to help bridge the gap and see others saved! Since our time in Chicago, we have committed to sharing the gospel with our next door neighbors, our co-workers, our family, etc. God makes the opportunities and we take them. In our training time in Chicago we were warned, “You’ll never feel as though the time is right and you will feel scared. Something in your agenda will always take precedence but you just need to do it anyway.” We serve a powerful God who desires to move powerfully in people’s lives! We can be the bridge that allows transformation to take place in others on a daily basis… let’s do it!


MATT SWEETMAN >> Destination Church >> Chicago, IL

BOOST YOUR EVANGELISM In the book of Acts we find that large scale evangelism was a critical component of church planting (Acts 13:42-44) which included three different levels.

I’m convinced everyone who attends a church, ev for the first time, must b quickly encouraged to gather others.

Personal Evangelism

Community Evangelism

It was during my Newfrontiers Church Planting Training that I realized I was ill-equipped for evangelism. The training required me to gather people together from scratch whom I didn’t know, while my past evangelistic experience had only involved seeing a handful of close friends come to faith in Jesus.

Only 10% of Christians are evangelistically gifted. The rest are gifted with gathering skills. Community evangelism is about equipping people to invite their friends and relatives into the Church body. Someone evangelistic will share their faith without encouragement, winning people on the spot.

While reading The Faithful Witness I was compelled to be around people in hopes of sharing the gospel. I ended up at a gas station, praying for a man who God then healed. I shared my faith with him afterward, but he wasn’t yet ready to receive Christ. I knew, however, that he was much closer to knowing God. This experience led me to spend time with some Campus Crusaders. To be evangelistic, I needed to be around evangelists. From those encounters I discovered the art of spiritual surveys. These became a part of the Summer Evangelism Internship we held in Chicago, and our Transformation Teams as well. This equipping was very beneficial; but more importantly, my desire for evangelism grew. Although I’ve grown personally in evangelism, my level of fruitfulness still isn’t high. Meeting unbelievers, building relationships, praying for them, serving them, sharing my faith, all feel like a long process. Why is there a disconnection between the evangelism of Acts and my experience? This brings us to…

Most Christians however, need constant encouragement to invite others. The point is that EVERYONE in the Church can be involved. I’m convinced everyone who attends a church, even for the first time, must be quickly encouraged to gather others. Every person needs to be saved into a community. We naturally want to do what we see others doing. When preChristians see the joy of Christians in worship, they want that joy! They want our depth of community and communion with God. The environment of the gathered Church is evangelistic because it’s centered on Christ. He is the only person who saves! As a result we have seen more success through community evangelism than through personal evangelism. We’ve seen non-Christians saved in the worship time, in the middle of a sermon, at our membership lunch and at other church community events. Community evangelism can quickly lose momentum though. How do we build on this kind of culture and keep it going?

Find out more about Destination Church’s Summer Evangelism Internship at: http://destinationchurch.org >> Get Involved >> Internships >> Summer Internship 2011


Mass Evangelism At Destination Church we constantly work at building invitation into our culture. Periodically we envision the church with a culturally relevant, Sunday teaching series. We give people as many reasons to come to church as possible. We provide a subject that matters to them and one which the Bible addresses.

e ven be

We recently presented a series titled You, Sex & God, and we saw people visit and stay. We preached about porn, masturbation and divorce—far from neutral subjects! When people encounter the truth it changes them. We were bold with our advertising, our invitations and our preaching. We sowed everywhere and as a result we grew. Personal prayer must be made a priority. When we gather for prayer, we focus on receiving the Holy Spirit to help us make personal invitations to others. We also did large advertising on public transportation and handed out a few thousand postcards which encouraged boldness in our people. When you say, “Did you see those ads?” you have a legitimate reason working for you. In our culture, public advertisement communicates importance. Advertising equips gatherers to gather.

Mass evangelism is not sporadic. At the end of every Sunday gathering we give an invitation to become a Christian. People may mark on their communication card regarding Christ and we personally follow up. We add, “If this is your first time and you found something helpful today, you probably know someone who will also find it helpful. Why not bring them next week?” We’ve had numerous guests say, “We did what you told us, we brought our friends.” Have you invited someone to Church recently? Opportunities are endless, as long as there are unsaved people around you. Jesus commands us to literally compel people to come (Luke 14:23). There are many ways to sow evangelistically: praying for opportunities, sharing transformation stories (not just conversion stories), and giving invitations. If you don’t sow, you won’t grow. Mass evangelism is about giving as many kinds of invitations as possible. I challenge you to extend an invitation this week!

We have also made evangelism the focus of the past two summers. Our Summer Evangelism Internship has intensive training opportunities that equip interns with mass evangelism tools for citywide events. This internship spreads zeal around the church for reaching new people. We took 680 people through a spiritual survey last summer!

RECOMMENDED READING

Subscribe to Matt’s Blog at: http://destinationchurch.org/category/blog

a. The Faithful Witness by Jerry Wiles ** (Out of print but available on Amazon.com secondhand.) b. Reimagining Evangelism by Rick Richardson

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c. Ignite by Nelson Searcy


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www.newfrontiersusa.org/thelink Copyright Newfrontiers USA | March, 2011


The Evangelism Issue