Missions Misunderstood

Posted January 2nd, 2007 by E. Goodman

Have you ever noticed that we celebrate the new year, but we never really mourn the end of the old one? Maybe it’s our optimistic nature. We look forward to a new year, a fresh start, another chance. We make resolutions and goals. We anticipate the great things that are bound to happen in the coming year.

I think we’d do well to close the year with a day of mourning. Make it December 31st; that way it’ll really give us something to look forward to on January 1st. It would be a day where everyone takes time to consider the passing of time. Most of us do it anyway, but we reflect alone and try to cheer ourselves up with a kiss as the ball drops and watching bowl games.

Every year is full of things that dramatically affect our lives. We meet new friends, argue with family, learn new skills, waste money. Why not take a day to remember loved ones who died, new ones who were born, and all of the books we read? (If we really want to mourn, we should think of the hours of our lives we wasted watching “Prison Break.”)

For believers, a remembrance is a part of life. The day we forget where we were when we met Jesus, and where we were headed without Him, is the day we lose our understanding of the power of grace. Repentance and confession require remembering the sin in our lives. Our memory of the wrongs we’ve committed and the consequences of our actions are what keep us from making the same errors over and over. We do it before we take communion, why not take a day for corporate reflection?

I’m not saying we should dwell on the past, but I do think we ought to remember it. What better way than to make it a holiday? We could have parades with bands playing the year’s music, and floats that depict the year’s events. Everyone could dress in black, and we could give apology cards to people we wronged. We could start a tradition of only eating leftovers and deleting all of the year’s email. Who knows? We might even get another day off work. Of course, we would need a catchier name than “Mourning Day.” That would never work.

Posted December 28th, 2006 by E. Goodman

My team had an interesting discussion over the last couple of days. This isn’t as remarkable as it might sound, but while most people spend Christmas talking about football and shopping, our team talks about ecclesiology. Who says we aren’t committed to our jobs? (And no, there is no truth to the rumor that we deliberately discussed “work” issues in an attempt to justify paying for a turkey dinner out of our “Office Expense” accounts.)

I’ve posted before about my frustrations with communication and word definitions. It seems like every attempt we make at defining or describing what we believe (and why) is lost as the words we use are co-opted by others who use those same words to put a new face on traditionalisms. We’ve even confused ourselves as we struggle to work through the implications of what we say we’re about. Our conversation this week, for example, began with this question: When one of our friends becomes a believer, can we really disciple him/her in their existing social structure?

Conventional missionaries today have begun to adopt the terms “relational,” “incarnational,” and “missional,” but their thought on evangelism and discipleship is usually something like this: Missionaries share the gospel, nationals hear it, some reject it, others respond. Those who respond are then grouped together to form the beginnings of a “church.” Another school proposes to switch the order to “group them and win them,” in order to disciple people within community.

Our collective experience has taught us that although this sort of “winning/grouping” approach to church planting sounds like a good strategy, it actually does quite a bit to hinder the “indigenousness” of the foundation that we lay. Individual believers are separated from their natural social groups and placed into these artificial, “Christian” ones for the sake of support and encouragement. But that separation greatly reduces the new believer’s influence in the relationships he/she had, and because the bulk of his/her spiritual transformation takes place in private (church), it has little positive impact on the community. It doesn’t take long for these new Christians to be so far removed from their own culture that they need to be trained to interact with their lost friends.

So we, despite using the same words, have tried to do things a little differently. Our team’s idea has always been to disciple people from wherever they are spiritually to maturity in Christ, without removing them from their existing social environment. Our discussion this week began with a current situation. A friend has recently shown some interest in Jesus. We can see him opening up to us and to the faith we’re always talking about. We pray that he will soon be saved. Naturally, this friend lives a lifestyle that does not honor God. He is addicted to drugs and he regularly participates in “trance parties” (Raves put on by “Shaman” DJs who use techno music to entrance partygoers in a pagan spiritual frenzy that sometimes last days and days). Let’s say he becomes a believer- can we leave him in that environment and expect him to grow in his faith and be an effecting witness to the people around him?

Again, most people would say no. They would argue that this friend needs to be removed from the dangerous situation so that he can overcome the sin that has bound him, and grow in his faith. I disagree (You expected as much).

I say that the role of the missionary (and yes, this is different from what most would say,) is to serve as spiritual “life-support” for the new believer as they struggle to work out their salvation within their own cultural context. This might mean that we meet with a national believer to disciple and encourage them, but we never “invite them to church.” Instead, we pray for God to move among the new believer’s circle of friends. We instruct him/her in righteousness, allowing the Holy Spirit to convict them of sin. We encourage him/her to share their faith, and pray for the day when God moves among his/her sphere of influence to plant a church there.

But nobody does it this way. For most of us, this approach is too messy, too limited, and it takes too long. What if they never feel convicted about certain sins? What if they never know another believer? What if, ten years down the road, they’re still struggling with basic holiness and remedial theology. How long can a believer survive on only spiritual milk?

It seems to me that our discomfort with Christians who are struggling to make sense of their faith has led us to impose a behavioral conformity that ignores the personal tension that salvation brings. When drug addicts and homosexuals get saved, we require that they immediately stop being those things, and start acting “Christianly.” From the outside, it would seem that we interpret the word “repentance” to mean that upon salvation, a person must suddenly exchange public sins for private ones. You cannot be a drug-using, foul-mouthed, homosexual Christian, but an over-eating, gossip who struggles with lust just has “a few things to work on.” Is Christianity only about (openly) sinning less?

Leaving a drug addict in a circle of drug addicted friends might seem like a bad idea, but it would allow the addict to see how his newfound faith applies to his real life. It would also allow his friends to see his personal transformation first-hand and allow them to actually participate in it. The power of salvation is most evident when it contrasts with the stark reality of the situation from which we are saved. The soil in which a seed takes root is sufficient for that new plant.

Continuing the thoughts of my previous post: what we need is not more Christians trying to “reach” the “people of the world,” but more “people of the world” trying to work out what it means for them to be a Christian.

Filed under:Christianity, Church, Evangelism, Strategy Posted December 19th, 2006 by E. Goodman

A couple of weeks ago, I itunsed the first episode of “One Punk, Under God,” a six-part documentary on the life of Jay Bakker (Jim and Tammy Faye’s son). It basically tells the story of his unique childhood (growing up in a Christian theme park?) and his life now, as the pastor of Revolution, a church he started in an Atlanta bar. Whether you’re a fan of Jay’s or not, the series is something that’s been needed for a long time. Specifically, it’s a creatively-made look into the life of a real person who is struggling to make sense of his faith.

For some reason, any time an evangelical gets in front of a television camera, he/she feels the need to preach a sermon (or a political speech, but that’s another post). The problem is that television evangelists have been around for a long time. Their crazy theology, bad hair, and pleas for money have inoculated the world against any bit of truth that they might present. Most end up on the Tonight Show punch line end of a scandal. All that telling and so little showing has left people with spiritually debilitating assumptions about the gospel and it’s relevance to real life. Now, here comes Jay Bakker, who is honest about the messy side of his life in Christ, and millions of people (many for the first time in their lives) see someone who calls himself a Christian but doesn’t presume to have all of the answers.

Again, my point here is not Bakker’s show. There’s been lots of talk in the blogosphere about his theology, and some are concerned that he’s not a good representative of the faith. I say we need to present more “real live” Christians (good examples or not) and fewer talking heads on the “O’Reilly Factor.” To me, this is the incarnation that’s been lacking for some time now.

So why don’t we see more documentaries like this one, or like Morgan Spurlock’s “30 Days” series, done by believers? It’s not like we don’t have the equipment- how many of our churches have crack A/V teams?

This summer, we’re bringing in a team of media students to do just this sort of thing. I’ve got some really creative, interesting, and articulate team members who will be the subject of this short series we’re going to do. I don’t want them to preach, and we’ll edit out any prepared remarks. We’re looking for authentic Christianity as it’s lived out in real life. The goods and the bads, the highs and the lows.

I think that’s what’s been missing from our “witness.”

Filed under:Art, Culture, Evangelism Posted December 13th, 2006 by E. Goodman

One of the things I’ve noticed over the years is how much more accepting missionaries are of spiritual things than are most of the people in the pews back home. I’m pretty sure this has to do with the fact that here on the field, we’re forced to rely on God for everything; we depend on Him for understanding, direction, and personal identity. Few of us have big churches or strong Bible study groups for support. When God moves in the States, He’s competing with all the other “Christian stuff” that the church is into. When we see Him at work on the field, we take note; God allowing us to see what He’s doing is affirmation to our calling and motivation for our perseverance.

So to the Godly (yet sheltered) people at home, us missionaries might come across as a little bit “charismatic.” Just a little “liberal.” Anyone who has struggled to learn a second (or third, or fourth) language believes that God still moves supernaturally through languages. If you were to ask the majority of Southern Baptists in the U.S. whether God still does miracles, I bet most would say yes, but few would be able to give examples from their own lives.

I’m not accusing anyone of anything here. I know that there are people in the States who are very much in tune with the Holy Spirit, and see supernatural things all the time. I just wanted to point out another are where I feel misunderstood.

So does God still do miracles? Real miracles? Make time stand still? Raise people from the dead? Plagues? Restore sight? Smite deceitful, disobedient people? I think He does.

Filed under:Miracles, Missions Posted December 10th, 2006 by E. Goodman

What do we mean when we talk about “reaching people?” Is it the same as telling them about Jesus? What makes a people group “reached?” Having heard the gospel? Having access to it? Having a viable church planted among them?

The IMB’s current strategy is to “engage” (send missionaries to) people groups that we classify as “unreached” (less than 2% evangelical) and that also have populations of 100,000. Using the 2% rule, there are thousands of unreached people groups that number lower than the 100k minimum. Nevertheless, the IMB does not actively seek to send missionaries to work among these smaller groups. Why not?

It seems to me that these numbers were picked by IMB marketers to provide a goal for our organization that was ambitious, yet attainable.

Filed under:Definitions, Missiology, Missions Posted December 7th, 2006 by E. Goodman

Every Christmas season, the International Mission Board launches its annual fundraising campaign, “The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.” All of the money raised through the drive goes to missions. That’s the money that pays our rent and covers our ministry-related expenses. If you are Southern Baptist, I would encourage you to give generously.

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The above paragraph is true. It also happens to be the only that way I, as an IMB missionary, am allowed to ask for money. The Board has clear policies against “solicitation of funds.” These rules make sense for an organization that does not require its workers to raise their own support. Were we allowed to, I’m sure at least a couple of us would make a career of raising money (for ministry, of course) . This would be a distraction from church planting, to say the least, and would result in what amounts to competition between missionaries for funding. In order to avoid such chaos, I cannot, and will not, ever ask for money.

Despite the restrictions against soliciting funds, there is quite a bit of “channeled monies,” and “designated offerings” floating around the mission field. I’m not insinuating any wrongdoing here. The logical limitations on my freedom to ask for money does not preclude Stateside sponsors from offering it to me. It happens quite a lot, actually. A partner church might ask, “What are some of your ministry’s financial needs?” An extended family member who hasn’t spoken to me in years might try to assuage his guilt for never having shown even the slightest interest in our work here might ask, “You doing okay money-wise?”

The answer is always: “If you’d like to contribute financially, I’d encourage you to give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.”

But there’s something more I need to say here. Something that you, dear reader, need to know: None of us are getting rich as missionaries.

The cost of living here in Wester Europe is high. Add to that what we spend on hosting parties and going out with nationals, and joining clubs/gyms. On top of all that, there’s the trip back to the States every once in a while, and, well, you can imagine how difficult it can be to respond with the party line when someone offers money. Of course my Starbucks habit would love a little extra pocket change.

I’m not asking for money. I don’t want it or need it. But I have a suggestion: give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, and then consider paying for a missionary’s family to fly to the field for a visit.

We don’t get to see too much of our families while we’re on the mission field. We usually chalk it up as one of those small sacrifices God has called us to. But many of my colleagues have never had their parents come to visit. There are MKs on the field who have never met their grandparents. It’s expensive to fly half way around the world, so if you really want to minister to us, by our parents a plane ticket.

Think about how great an encouragement it would be for a missionary to have a church send their parents for Christmas. Consider how far such a gesture would go toward making our people on the field know they are appreciated. Sponsored family visits would help family members back home get an idea of what we’re talking about when we share stories of our life here. They would be able to pray more specifically for our ministries. They would know what we go through. They would stop wasting their money sending packages of peanut butter (which, by the way, we can actually get here)! The parents and siblings of missionaries would be even better missionary advocates in our churches, and they’d be able to help our churches keep up with what’s happening on the field.

We could even make it a big, shiny new denominational program. Operation: Missionary Family (or some other, pseudo-militaristic task-oriented brand name.)

Posted December 3rd, 2006 by E. Goodman

“No one has the right to hear the gospel twice, while there remains someone who has not heard it once.” – Oswald J. Smith

I ran across this quote on a colleague’s website. I’m not sure who Oswald J. Smith is/was, and I’m not particularly interested. His sort of guilt-inspired, task-oriented, logic-based, marketing-ploy, pop missiology is exactly the sort of thing I was referring to in my last post. It has infected our understanding of what missions is, who God is, and how He works.

Let me be clear: My concern is not necessarily with current missions strategy, it’s with our missiology. What, you might ask, is the difference? It has to do with motivation; both ours- in what guides us in service, and God’s- in what He’s doing globally and why. Just as the practice of our faith is determined by our theology, our mission strategies are derived from our missiology. So I’m not talking here about whether we use tracts or Jesus Films or relational approaches to church planting. I’m not even talking about whether we should even be trying to plant churches. My contention is this: We have bad missiology.

For starters, we make an unnecessary distinction between “missions,” and, well, everything else. Why do we apply Luke 10:2 (“the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few”) to missions, but not Luke 10:27 (“love your neighbor as yourself”)? Where does our understanding of missions come from?

Take the quote above, for example: “No one has the right…”? What does that mean? Is hearing the gospel a right? Is it a privilege? I guess Mr. Smith would say that the first time is a right, and the second a privilege. What biblical support do we have for either?

Is the goal of missions that people hear? What about incarnation? Discipleship? Is missions nothing more than proclaiming the gospel, giving people “a chance to hear” it? Many missionaries approach their work as though missions was about spreading information. Surely we need proclaimers, and it is a vital part of missions, but I believe it is only a part.

(Another part, one that we rarely focus on, is worship as missions. John 12:32 -”I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” I get that He’s alluding to the cross, but I think that worship is underrated as a missional activity. Maybe that’s another post…)

Back to the quote: is it really ours to decide who should hear and who should not? Even after years of proclamation, are we ever in a position to say whether a person (or people group) has heard the good news in a way that they can understand and respond to? I believe that the Spirit should guide all of our evangelistic efforts, and that He should be the one to lead us in when to share, and with whom (and when to keep quiet!)

I cannot accept a missiology that essentially puts us on “auto-pilot” in terms of to whom we should go. The second we assume where and in whom God is going to work, we get ahead of Him and disqualify ourselves from full participation in what He’s doing. This missiology is essentially either/or; missions is either relating to those people that God leads us to, or it is targeting the next “lostest” people group according to our statistics and research. It cannot be both, because the second assumes a monopoly on the first. How else can we explain so many of our workers feeling called to work among “reached” peoples?

God is at work redeeming humankind to Himself. I believe that missions is crossing cultural barriers to be part of that. Until we seriously rethink our missiology, we will continue to build our strategies on a broken foundation.

Tags: Missiology, terminology

Filed under:Missiology, Missions Posted November 26th, 2006 by E. Goodman

Every six months or so, I have to post my thoughts on “the missionary task.” In my opinion, this is the single most important topic that no one is talking about. In another attempt to incite some discussion, I’ve also posted this to the Church Planting Forum.

Below is an outline of my current thoughts on “the Task.” Please forgive my over-use of quotation marks.

Since my appointment and move to Western Europe, I’ve wrestled with the conventional understanding of what has come to be known as “the Missionary Task.” I’ve prayed about it, read about it, googled it, and blogged about it, but there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of discussion on the topic. I’m sure this is due to the fact that most of us (Christians, that is) already have the thing clearly sorted out in our heads.

I begin by admitting that my current perspective on the subject is likely wrong and would certainly be improved by some honest discussion with brothers and sisters who are obediently participating in the task. My question is simple: what is the nature of “the task?”

The question is important because most of us are heavily involved in ministries that have been planned around a particular understanding of our calling, goals, and purpose. “The Task” is the missiological idea that has led us to concepts such as the “10/40 Window” and “Frontier missions.” It’s led us to move our focus and resources from “reached” areas (despite the harvest) to “unreached” ones. It’s led us to rely heavily on statistics and models for our missions strategies. I’m not sure we’ve got it right. Here’s why:

-The Great Commission is a call to Go and make disciples. Does it necessarily have to be a “finishable” task? When I was a kid, my mom was always telling me to make my bed and pick up my room and eat my vegetables. Turns out she wanted me to do it every day. It would have been silly of me to say (as I’m sure I did), “Mom, I’m almost finished with the task you assigned me.”

-Some of you will want to pull out your Greek lexicons and start chanting, “ponta ta ethne” or something like that. I see the use of the term “all nations” (Matthew 24:14, 28:19-20, Luke 24:46-47) as a descriptive term, not a prescriptive one. Here’s a blog post about this.

One verse that also uses the “all nations/every nation” terminology is this one that tells about the Day of Pentecost:

“Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nationunder heaven.” -Acts 2:5

I find it odd that this one doesn’t usually figure into the discussion. Does it mean that there were literally Jews in all nations? Or is it saying “of the nations in which there were Jewish people…” If the former is true, the “task” was completed at Pentecost!

-To me, the concept of a “Final Frontier” assumes a static world. I blogged about this here. There are new people groups being born all the time that have their own unique languages and cultures.

-It also seems to assume that once a nation is “reached,” it will always remain so. I work in Western Europe where in many ways, our work is to reintroduce the Gospel to people who are inoculated against it.

-As far as I can tell, “the Task” we’re called to is nothing less (and nothing more!) than a step-by-step following of the Holy Spirit. But the IMB has scrapped that for something more practical. It’s like we read the instructions Jesus gave in Matthew 28:18-20, and we say, “Okay folks, you heard Him: All nations. Let’s get the job done!” I address the question “What’s it gonna take?” here.

-It seems to me that we can fulfill the task (obediently going as God leads), but we’re not really going to “complete” it. I’m okay with that, because I think it requires us to be more dependent on Him, instead of developing some game-plan to finish something that He never assigned. A task of world evangelization isn’t enough, in my opinion.

These are, roughly, my thoughts on the subject. I’ve always wanted someone to discuss these things with me, and to clarify my thinking where possible. What do you think?

Filed under:Definitions, Missions, Misunderstood Posted November 21st, 2006 by E. Goodman

I may not know you, but I can pretty safely say that you do not speak ancient Greek. Maybe you’ve studied it, I’m sure you can define a noun, parse a verb, or analyze the grammar. You might even be clever enough to make a witty joke in the biblical language. But you don’t speak ancient Greek.

Don’t tell me that in no uncertain terms, you know what the original text means, because you don’t. Your understanding comes from popular interpretation (Or your Greek teacher, or a lexicon, or some fancy computer software.) Please stop using “panta ta ethne” as your basis for missions strategy. Please stop trying to trump everyone else’s argument by saying that you know foe certain that biblical “oinos” was weaker than modern wine.

Greek scholarship is important. Without it, we would have poor translations of the Scriptures, and we’d have little to go in in terms of the original context and cultural implications of the text. But you are not a scholar, you are a preacher. You are a blogger who took the same Intro to Greek course I took (and my professor was probably better than yours.) You are a seminary professor who thinks that no one should be allowed to question you if you quote the Greek. Stop it, please.

You treat Koine Greek like it’s some secret knowledge that gives you greater enlightenment and brings you closer to God. You act as though you are the keeper of all truth and wisdom because your theologies are built on God’s own language. But God doesn’t only speak Greek (Or Hebrew, or Aramaic).

So stop looking down your nose at me because you think that my understanding is founded in some misunderstanding of the original language. I’ve got the same interlinear Bible you’ve got.

Did I mention that you don’t speak ancient Greek? The language is no longer tied to a surviving culture. If learning a second language has taught me anything, it’s that all living languages are dynamic. A phrase has a literal meaning, a commonly used one, and a colloquial one, and all are “correct.” Meanings can differ from town to town, nevermind region to region. When you add to that Greek was imposed in multiple cultures who lived together, you’ve got layers and layers of meaning; layers that you weren’t around to observe.

So how about qualifying all of your pompous predications with “Many scholars agree…” Can we replace “The actual meaning of the original Greek is…” with “A possible meaning might be…”? Sure there is a right understanding and interpretation of Biblical text. But if that understanding doesn’t come from illumination of the Holy Spirit, we’re not going to get it from a dead language.

Filed under:Bible, Reflections Posted November 20th, 2006 by E. Goodman

Just for fun, I’ve addressed the disagreements raised by cafeaddict on my last post (Who, by the way, is challenging my post just for the sake of argument. He/she mentions that they actually agree with my post). If only cafeaddict could find the shift button for capitalization…

stepchild, since you no longer have any dissenters on your blog, (By the way, I have noticed that, and I intend to find some traditional thinkers and poke them with a stick or something in order to incite some kind of discussion. Maybe another post about alcohol…) i am going to play the devil’s advocate althougth i TOTALLY agree with you… (Here’s hoping people read this disclaimer!)

relational evangelism will never accomplish the task. The task cannot be (and was never meant to be) “accomplished,” “completed,” or otherwise, “finished.” The “task” (and I do hate that word) is a call to obedience, which entails making disciples, preaching the gospel, loving people, and worshipping with our lives.

it is too slow. If, in our rush, we get ahead of God, our work is in vein. god didn’t call us to make friends, he called us to make disciples. The teacher/disciple relationship is just that- a relationship. Have you considered that Jesus spent lots and lots of time with twelve guys over the course of three years? do you honestly think that every person jesus encountered was his best friend? No, and I’m not talking about becoming best friends with everyone. That would be time consuming, tiring, and get really expensive around Christmas time. he taught people sometimes for a day, sometimes for a minute and then moved on. he sensed those who were spiritually receptive and targeted them. Yeah, I’m not sure about this one. What qualifies a person as “spiritually receptive?” For me, anyone who would want to spend time with a foreigner who’s always talking about Jesus is obviously receptive to some extent. Did Jesus really “target” the seekers (or anyone, for that matter)? he didn’t waste time with the rich young ruler. he gave him a choice and when the money loving guy chose his riches, jesus chose another subject. Yeah, the RYR walked away. But what if he hadn’t? What do you suppose Jesus would have done if the guy had continued to follow Jesus around?

all you postmodern people say that everything is about relationships. you site jesus as your example, yet when i examine the evangelism techniques of jesus, they reflect the “street evangelism” approach more than your “i just don’t want to take a chance and offend someone” approach. I’m not sure Jesus used any “techniques.” It does seem to me that he was relational and personal with people, though. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were Jesus’ friends. The disciples certainly had profound relationships with Jesus, even Judas. Have you ever noticed how many different answers Jesus gave to the question, “What must I do to receive eternal life?” He met people where they were, and for me to do that, I have to get to know them.

As for offending people, I’m all for it. The Gospel is, after all, offensive. I’m just not convinced that people are being offended with truth very much these days, especially in Western Europe. It seems that they’re being offended by other things, such as the attitudes of the messenger, and way that the “message” is being delivered. Prepared, pre-packaged evangelism seems powerless and trite to the people I know here, and it seems that way to me, too. When Jesus addressed people, it’s obvious to me that in that moment, during that encounter, they felt like the most important people in the world. That’s what I’m going for in relational ministry. Not just to tell people that they’re loved, but to show them as well.

i get tired of hearing you guys say that it isn’t right to get into relationship with someone just to share the gospel with them, as if doing that were underhanded. well, i will have you know, that the most loving thing we can do is share the gospel with people. The problem is the conditionality of a relationship that is built on expectations. Anytime there are ulterior motives, the relationship is less than authentic. “I’m your friend and I want you to know the Lord” is different from “I’m your friend because I want you to know the Lord.” Unfortunately, the world knows Christians as “I won’t be your friend unless you come to know the Lord.” so the more people i meet with the objective of sharing the gospel, the more loving i am. how can it be a bad thing that i want as many people as possible to be in heaven with me? Wanting people to go to heaven is a good thing, but it’s hardly the goal of evangelism. The goal is reconciliation with the Creator. My problem with the idea of just “getting the word out” is that the Gospel is more than just information. If you’re just wanting to preach the truth, nevermind the context or people, you might just as well broadcast it live over the radio and go home. Add to that the idea that here in Western Europe, we’re not just introducing Christianity, we’re reintroducing it to an emerging culture.

we have so little time and our task is so enormous. The “task” is not overwhelming for God, is it? Will He return before His perfect timing? Woe to the people who’s eternity depends on you and me! we need to be telling people about jesus not going to the movies with them. Going to the movies with people is a great way to tell them about Jesus. A discussion afterward can provide excellent opportunities to share the Gospel explicitly, and to comment on the movie from Christ’s perspective. relational evangelism in my opinion is a cop out. As “drive by” evangelism is in my opinion. It’s much easier to “preach” a message and move on than it is to invest in relationships. we don’t want to do the hard stuff so we justify our disobedience with the fluffy relational excuse. The hard stuff? Passing out tracts is easy compared to long conversations in smoky bars at three in the morning. Going to parties, getting involved in people’s lives, trying to be a viable example of what life in Christ might look like for the people around us, that’s difficult.

what say you stepchild? That say I. Thanks, cafeaddict, for being the lone voice of dissent on this otherwise boring and unnecessary blog.

Filed under:Relationships