The dreaded E-word

This is the word many talk about but few practice it in the church. Yet it is absolute critical to the Church. Many give lip service to it. Workshops are led but few attend.

So what is the dreaded E-word?

Evangelism is the word. It is not a word we want to avoid in the church. It is absolutely an exciting part of our life. As we have spiritual conversations we will know the thrill of being a part of God’s work in the world. Nothing is more hopeful than to help explain the truth we hold on to so dearly. Evangelism has a lot of baggage and misconceptions. Some think it is about coercion. That is not it. Jesus never forced anyone to believe in him. People were drawn to him. If we could learn to do it his way we would be on to something.

This past week I’ve been reminded of a number of great resources we have to become more effective in delivering the powerful truth to the world. Here’s a list of some of the best options out there.

Just Walk Across the Room. This is my favorite book on the subject. Bill Hybels does a masterful job at motivating without making the reader feel guilt. He encourages: following the Spirit, asking questions, being comfortable without finishing the whole story, Matthew parties and most importantly that we would initiate relationships with those who don’t share our beliefs. There’s also a great four part DVD useful for any group setting. I can’t encourage this read enough.

Share Jesus Without Fear. I love this curriculum because starts the whole process of sharing our faith with questions. So many times Christians feel like we must do all the talking. Many times we’re answering questions folks aren’t asking. Or we sense we must have all the answers. Bill Fey helps us to think completely differently. Here’s the five questions to probe for spiritual interest. 1. Do you have any spiritual beliefs? 2. To you who is Jesus? 3. Do you think there is a heaven and hell? 4. If you were to die tonight where would you go? 5. If you were wrong would you want to know? This is a great way to listen to what the Spirit is doing, while still investigating where those around are spiritually.

The first two we just mentioned are for everyday use. These next two are curriculum that you invite friends for a series at your home or church. We did both of these at The Chapel and enjoyed the strengths of both.

Alpha. Nicky Gumble does a wonderfully job relating to spiritual seekers. As I watched it I thought that he could have fit right in with Young Life. He has a generous and gracious manner to communicate who is Jesus. You’ll enjoy his great story telling ability and his winsomeness. The videos come a helpful handbook to follow along and write a few notes. If your church is not as comfortable with a charismatic bent you’ll need to adjust or omit a few of the lessons.

Christianity Explored. This curriculum is similar to Alpha but with a few differences. Paritcipants will follow along with homework. By the time they finish the course they will have read the Gospel of Mark. This is a huge benefit in discipleship because it gets people to read the Bible. They’ll find out the scriptures are not some dusty, weird book, but something they like and want to read on their own. They just remade the series which will be fun to see how they’ve improved it. Again this has a DVD and a workbook.

Fill us in on resources you’ve appreciated.

3 Responses to “The dreaded E-word”
  1. Emily Dickey says:

    While living in England, I saw the impact of the Alpha Course and Christianity Explored (which, from my understanding, was the non-charismatic answer to the Alpha Course). It’s huge. It was really encouraging to see the number of Anglican churches offering Alpha.

    I found it interesting to discover that the using of the Alpha Course but eliminating the “Holy Spirit weekend” portion is heavily discouraged in the UK by the Alpha folks—it seems that they see this as paramount to the course and that they really don’t consider it Alpha without it. I remembered that we had offered Alpha at The Chapel without it (and actually I had no idea that it was “supposed” to have it), which is why it struck me.

    I did have the privilege of visiting the church in London who started Alpha, where Tim Hughes is the Worship Pastor.

    • Dane says:

      That is so cool Emily. I bet it was great to hear first hand about the effects of both of these courses. I can see how the weekend away would produce great impact and connection with the participants. I saw first hand in Young Life the transformation that occurred while away.

    • Dane says:

      One additional source I forgot to include was the DVD called H2O. It is really nicely done. I think it would work with a younger audience that enjoys a visual explanation of truth. The series gently helps seekers investigate further what the faith is about. Before doing Alpha or Christianity Explored you ought also review H2O. Here’s the website.

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