PHIL >>> Agree or Disagree?
- Evangelism is not keeping up with population growth or cultural changes because our evangelistic thinking is stuck in the 20th century.
- The Church needs to redesign our methods and our messaging based on a non-reactive, biblically rooted, assessment of 21st century mind-sets and world-views.
JON >>> agree. First point, we, in the evangelical church, don't think about the "good news" as good. The gospel has lost relevance for many because we view it as "messaging and methods". In truth, I am a beggar who has found some bread and is happy to share the source. Evangelistic thinking as a closed-end process instead of an open-ended (lifelong) journey (discipleship) is simplistic and unrealistic. Currently it seems our primary rhetoric / process centers around belief, not love. Agreeing to the "correctness" of a series of propositions instead of traveling a path of transformation (read authenticity in brokenness) in community.
We are not curious. Jesus NEVER answered questions, he just seemed to ask questions and tell stories. Maybe we know too much.
We do not tell stories, we make points.
In or out thinking (bounded set) vs. centered set.
Recognizing mindset & worldview are important BUT the "Jesus ethic" (Lev. 19:18) of loving your neighbor, which is exceedingly more important, seems to have been lost. We need to teach disciples the ethic of kindness. Would it be ok to be wronged? Was Jesus wronged?
- Bounded set = A bounded set is where we create a boundary, a theological border, a doctrinal fence, and separate those who are inside the fence from those who are out. It is an “us” versus “them” mentality where everyone on the inside is accepted, loved, and welcomed, while those outside the fence are kept away until they can change their beliefs and behaviors to fit the entry requirements.
- Centered set = There are no boundaries no walls, no fence, no dividing line between “us” and “them,” no rules or guidelines to determine who is “in” and who is “out.” Everyone is loved, welcomed, and accepted, no matter what. Everyone automatically “belongs.”
PHIL >>> How do we engage pastors/leaders to rethink how they think about evangelism?
JON >>> I have a great affection for the power of kindness. It leaves an amazing amount of room for the Holy Spirit to move and speak. Steve and I have been brainstorming about ways for church leaders to experience this, not just read about it, not just hear stories, but partake. To be in an environment where you are answering questions instead of "declaring truth".
PHIL >>> What is the unique difference of the DNA of Servant Evangelism and what difference does it make?
JON >>> Serving without expectation, without a declared response that defines "success" is both freeing and and immensely challenging. Freeing in that there is no pressure on those we are serving to behave or respond in some way. Challenging in that we are really looking for, listening for, the work of the Holy Spirit in that environment. The method is love and kindness; anyone, any age, can do that.
PHIL >>> I asked our colleague and friend Al Bchwietz to recommend a question. It asks for an assessment of Kindness Outreach:
•How does Kindness Outreach help or improve a church culture?
JON >>> KO helps us look away from ourselves and towards others. This is so helpful in spiritual growth. The opportunity for life on life discipleship abounds in service. Men have much more authentic conversations when the point is not to have authentic conversations. Serving is a powerful distraction that binds men together.
•How can it create momentum?
JON >>> KO provides very practical access to and ownership of, vision and values. If done well, there's a high degree of fun!
•What about fruit or fruitfulness over time?
JON >>> Both fruit and fruitfulness have the opportunity to grow over time. Consistent investment in your team and your community, sowing and watering, creates a very fertile environment.
PHIL >>> Please comment:
Authentic discipleship produces evangelism; authentic evangelism produces discipleship.
JON >>> Like 2 pedals on a bicycle, these 2 processes feed off each other. When they are in good rhythm it produces a growing love for God and fellow.
Many who fear solo witnessing can flourish in a group setting.
JON >>> KO creates opportunities for even the most introverted to meaningfully contribute to the event. Building a team where each member is recognized and has the capacity to engage, envelopes everyone in community.
Pursue multiplication by collaborating with other congregations; coordinate serving together.
JON >>> We are currently experimenting with growing this idea. There is strength in numbers, and doing projects that don't directly benefit "my" kingdom, but build "the" kingdom honors God and positively distinguishes our values in contrast to cultural values.
Unpack the growing importance of compassion, advocacy, justice in our evangelism.
JON >>> These are areas of deep cultural concern currently. Justice and compassion has always been the concern of our King. Our values could easily align with these if we leave some of our dogma behind and are flexible.
PHIL >>> Give us a thought-provoking question to prayerfully ponder . . .
JON >>> What if the gift God wants most from me is my weakness, my brokenness and my inability? What if that opens the door to transformation?
PHIL >>> Please leave us with a prayer we can pray for the next 7 days to move from conformed to transformed . . .
JON >>> is this cheating?
God, grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change...
Courage to change the things I can,
And Wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His will.
That I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with Him forever in the next.