Time To Reimagine How We Evangelize

Phil Miglioratti, The Reimagine.Network 

#ItSeemsToMe…most of our gospel presentation content (sermons, teaching manuals, tracts, training seminars, “How-To” books, etc.) have been conceived by people and for people who think in majority-status, American-English. Every concept, even theological truths, are always expressed through the ‘language’’ of the communicator: his/her vernacular context as influenced by worldview, cultural preferences, geographical context, value-system, mind-set. 


This is unavoidable but also complex. Even when two persons speak the same verbal language, differences in ethnicity-affinity-sociology-geography (place) may make comprehension difficult or insufficient. Clarification is crucial even in same-language conversations.


In the past, our Gospel presentations were effective because the communication/conversation was between persons with very similar identities and lived within, or aspired to be in, a homogeneous social context.


The founding cultural sensibilities of our nation are no longer ubiquitous, they no longer dominate. Our “one nation” may still be indivisible but it is rapidly becoming more ethnically and philosophically diverse.


Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness has changed significantly since the writing of our Constitution. Whether you agree or disagree … Women can vote and own property. They can sue for divorce from their husband. Black people are no longe considered 3/5 human. Teenagers can purchase hand guns as well as procure an abortion in some states. Non-heterosexuals are recognized as having the same right as heterosexuals. Birth rates, diversity, immigration, globalization, climatology, are the catalysts of both new aspirations and new problems. 


Regardless of your position, left or right, red or blue, conservative or liberal, the sociological shifts are unavoidable.


This reality does not infer the motivation of past witnessing-models were not authentic or the message was not an accurate explanation of the Gospel.


But it does require us to recognize, understand, then rethink how to communicate (verbally and visually and contextually) with people who have very little in common with the American legacy-lifestyle.


This is not a call to adopt a different Gospel. It is a plea to think missionally, to realize what we once called the “mission field” is no longer over-there but is now in every community, office and factory, school. Everywhere except the church.




We need to reimagine. Not a rewrite of biblical history or teachings, but a restatement in thought-language that engages contemporary peoples with the Gospel. Good news that is responsive to their questions and quandaries.


In 1956, while doing evangelistic ministry with collegians, Bill Bright composed the “Four Spiritual Laws” booklet.  It was revolutionary at the time, providing a simple way for Christians at any level of spiritual maturity to explain the Gospel. It became a tool for millions of Christian’s to witness to their faith in Christ.


While that tool is still usable today, we are in need of new resources (teachings, templates, tools) which are the fruit of fresh, Spirit-led, thinking.


Where to begin?

  • Invite the Holy Spirit to guide you as you think or read through various templates (steps, laws) or tracts. 
  • Ask for discernment. What questions are bounded-to-your-mindset in a way that others would consider irrelevant to them?
  • Don’t assume; ask. “What do you think about ______ (God, Jesus, spiritual truth)
  • Seek the Spirit’s leading through feedback of persons who view or experience life differently.
  • Begin to employ questions the Spirit can use to lead persons you share with to biblical answers.
  • Adopt a prayer-care-share approach to relationships. •Pray for specific people by name and need. •Care for them as service opportunities arise. •Share your faith in ways that point to your belief in God our Savior.
  • _____ (share other ideas with us)

Remember, don’t be conformed to what has worked in the past. Be filled with the Spirit so that you will be transformed by a new way of thinking (see Romans 12:2).

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  • From Featured Contributor Jim Morgan


    You make some important points in your post, most of which are closely aligned with and addressed in a 7 part series I wrote about evangelism last Fall. 

    These posts may be worth scanning through…

    1. Is It Wrong to Share Your Faith?
    2. Our Task But God’s Responsibility
    3. Do We Have Evangelism Backward?
    4. The Lost Art of Evangelism
    5. How to Undermine Evangelism
    6. America’s 7 Step Plan to Ban Evangelism
    7. Front Lines of the Battle for America’s Future

    Here are a few excerpts from those posts that you may find interesting and helpful as feedback on your article… 

    • Pitting our story, our Scripture, our God, our world view, or our philosophies against someone else’s is just our truth against theirs (from their perspective).  Christians won’t often win those arguments in today’s culture, but can disrupt the self-confidence of non-believers by making them question its underpinnings – the enormous wager they’re placing on their own “goodness”, capabilities, intellect, identity, and spirituality – obviating any perceived need for Jesus’ descent into our decadence.


    • Since Adam and Eve, creation has tried 1,000s of ways to make things right with the Creator. All world religions except for Christianity go down the same path – telling mankind how to fix what we broke.  Christianity alone contends that our “good” works or “enlightenment” can never do what only God can.  We cannot raise ourselves up or bring God down, trying to earn a “wage” (salvation) we feel we’re due.  Jesus descended because we can’t ascend.


    • We become socially awkward, hard to understand in secular circles, when we don’t practice speaking about Jesus outside the comfortable confines of a church.  The message may always be the same, but our vocabulary shouldn’t be “churchy” in non-Christian social settings.  However, being relatable and relevant doesn’t entail conformance or compromise.  What it requires is recognition that our culture, unlike prior generations, no longer has a firm grasp on the fundamentals of Christianity.  It’s no coincidence that non-believers’ understanding of the Gospel has diminished as Christians became less adept at sharing it.  Less well versed now in Scripture, many churchgoers contradict Jesus, electing legalism and judgment over love and grace.  Consequently, society returns the favor and evaluates Christianity’s merits based on what Christians do, not what Jesus did.


    • Prayer/Care/Share is not only the biblical process for evangelism for churches, but also for individual believers.  An invitation to a worship service is the last step, not the first, in the following (proposed) sequence:
    1. Seek the Lord – to understand who to reach and prepare their hearts to receive
    2. Build friendships – people don’t care what you know until they know you care
    3. Speak openly – if they don’t see your need for Jesus, they won’t see theirs
    4. Serve generously – get your hands dirty showing kindness as opportunities arise
    5. Engage intentionally – involve in local missions projects to see God’s love in action
    6. Share boldly – learn how to convey the Gospel in ways that resonate with them
    7. Refer wisely – point them to verses and books that will educate and encourage
    8. Inquire lovingly – see if they are ready to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior
    9. Disciple personally – take time each week to meet, discuss, and answer questions
    10. Introduce socially – have them over to get to know other Christian friends
    11. Invite, finally – ask new believers to attend a small group or worship service


    Imagine the impact on our nation’s spiritual and moral foundation if every Christian implemented Steps 1-10 rather than abdicating personal evangelism by skipping directly to Step 11.



    Jim Morgan

    Meet The Need

    Is It Wrong to Share Your Faith? - Meet The Need Blog
    Nothing is more loving than leading someone toward Christ, yet our evangelism methods, messages, and lack of urgency make it appear self-centered
  • Phil,

    I appreciate your faithfulness with the ReimagineNetwork. 
    You may be aware of the GO Movement which is a global evangelism initiative, formerly known as Global Outreach Day.
    You may want to connect with some of their resources and information about the May global evangelism thrust. https://gomovement.world/
    Have a great week!

    Kay Horner

    Executive Director

    The Helper Connection &

    Awakening America Alliance

    Mobile: 423.310.2885

    Web: Helper | Awakening America 

    Email: khorner@awakeningamerica.us

    P. O. Box 3986

    Cleveland, TN  37320-3986

    GO Movement Home
  • #REimagineEVANGELISM...as Asking Questions 

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    Excerpted with permission from Chapter Two of “The Art of Active Listening” by Heather R. Younger

    To become a better listener at work, you must seek to understand. That means stepping outside those experiences that shaped how you see the world, so you can gain an understanding of what drives other people.

    Active listening is about making a conscious effort to hear and understand someone else. When we actively listen, we demonstrate concern, limit our interruptions, and ask open-ended questions. We commit all of our attention to the speaker and establish an environment of trust and judgment-free engagement. At work, employees who experience being actively listened to feel a greater sense of belonging. They feel valued, appreciated, and inspired to show up for their team and organization.

    When it comes to productivity, active listening has been shown to drastically improve communication and reduce the type of misunderstandings that can slow progress. In contrast, passive or distracted listening—when someone pretends to pay attention to what another person is saying but is actually thinking about or doing something else—can make people feel unimportant or unappreciated. At work, half-listening in this way can critically diminish morale. Active listening is a practice and a daily skill—not a onetime exercise—and as such it requires continual effort to generate long-term benefits.

    Reflective listening is a communication strategy involving two key steps: seeking to understand what another person is saying and then repeating what we think we heard back to them to confirm that we understood correctly. In a recent listening workshop, one gentleman shared that some years ago, he became frustrated by a colleague who in a meeting kept saying, “What I’m hearing you say is—” what felt like every 10 seconds. “I felt less heard by her doing that. She kept parroting back to me exactly what I was saying!”

    I could sense his frustration and agreed with his assessment that he was on the receiving end of someone who was practicing some overenthusiastic reflective listening. The purpose of these types of techniques is to make listening two-way and empathetic. When we repeat back what we hear to be sure we confirm our understanding, we need to do so not in a cookie-cutter way but with the intention to let the other person know that we have processed what they said and what they didn’t say and are following what they are saying. We don’t need to be overly prescriptive in our approach, and we must remain aware of what others are feeling and need from us.

    Phrases to Use in Reflective Listening

    “You’re . . .”

    “It sounds like . . .”

    “It seems like . . .”

    “I can see that you’re . . .”

     “What I’m hearing you say is . . .”

    Empathetic listening takes active listening to the next level because it requires us to make an emotional connection with another person and search for common ground that will enable us to respond in a meaningful way. We don’t listen just with our ears but with our heart. We deliberately slow down and seek to understand with sincere intention. We don’t rush to provide a solution; we simply hold space for the other person to share.

    Evaluative listening is when we make a judgment about what another person says. This active listening style requires us to compare what we’re hearing with what we already know or believe to be true and make careful inferences as a result.



    Open-Ended Questions

    Use when you want someone to tell their side of the story. In other words, you want to uncover more.

    • How did that happen?
    • Why did she do that?
    • What happened next?
    • When did that take place?
    • Where did that happen?

    Closed-Ended Questions

    Use when you feel like you know enough, and are content with a yes or no response.

    • Have you spoken to so-and-so about this?
    • Do you know what to do next?
    • Are you OK figuring things out from here?

    Whatever blend of listening styles you adopt in your bid to seek to understand, remember it’s all about practice. You can practice by constantly leaning in, paying attention to both nonverbal and verbal cues from others, and putting your skills to the test by following up to see if you understood correctly.

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    Note from Bob:  While it takes skill to lead with questions, it takes even more skill to develop the art of active listening!  Don’t be like our granddaughter was when she was 2!  She would ask a question and then run away before we could answer!  She was instantly a great question asker!  But it took time for her to also become a great listener!  Heather R. Younger can help all of us to grow our listening skills!  I know that reading the advance manuscript of Heather’s new book has helped me!  Order your “The Art of Active Listening” book today by clicking HERE


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    Heather R. Younger. is the founder and CEO of 9. She is an international keynote speaker, host of the “Leadership with Heart” podcast, and a workplace culture, employee engagement and diversity, equity and inclusion consultant. Heather has a law degree from the University of Colorado Boulder. She is the best-selling author of The 7 Intuitive Laws of Employee Loyalty and The Art of Caring Leadership.


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