Has Studying Replaced Doing? Our Evangelism Problem

I have a shelf full of books on evangelism but that doesn’t make me evangelistic. We have a problem if we have read more books on evangelism than the number of people we have studied with. I am convinced that you don’t have to be an expert or know the latest (fill in the blank) in order to be effective in reaching the lost. You just have to try.

We have overcomplicated our message. Must one understand the nuances of substitionary atonement or N.T. Wright’s criticism of various atonement theologies in order to help bring people to faith? Not at all. Is it helpful? It can be. But what inadvertently gets communicated is that evangelism is a boutique enterprise. It is a specialized field for the highly trained because the message is often presented in a professionalized and highly nuanced way that only experts can understand. This communicates the wrong message about evangelism. You don’t have to be an expert to evangelize. You just have to try.

Second, what I have also come to realize is that the power in evangelism is in the word of God and not in my ability to persuade or catch people in a trap. I need to get the Word of God before people who don’t believe in Jesus as the Son of God. If they can be exposed to the scriptures, then they have something to latch on to but more than that – they are being exposed to the words that have far more power than my words do.

Last, we need to start with new converts and begin teaching it as normal to reach others when you have been reached. Disciples make disciples. The message is simple. You just have to do it.

It really isn’t that complicated and most of us have studied enough to do what we have been told to do. You aren’t one more book away from reaching a lost person with the latest strategy. You are one conversation away.

Your Heart is Only Functioning at 50% – Bad news or Good news?

That is bad news in a doctor’s appointment but for many churches, if half the members were involved in ministry it would be a miracle. The church is a body and bodies are made to work. They are made to move and function in an integrated and self-dependent way. Bodies are autonomous to others bodesContinue Reading

Illustrating Why Verses Dropped Out of Newer Translations

A few years ago I did a number of posts on translations and manuscripts that generated a lengthy discussion. Occassionally I still get comments on a number of those posts. One recent comment came from Chris who wrote this, “Plus the NIV comes from Textus sinaiticus….And the KJV comes from Textus Receptus So I poseContinue Reading

Wineskins Church of Christ Ministers’ Health Survey Results

Here are all four posts summarizing the findings from the Church of Christ Ministers’ Health Survey. These results look at physical, mental, ministerial, relational and spiritual health of our ministers. Please pass this along to ministers and elders you know. The results had some bright spots but also some places we need to shore up.Continue Reading

Confusing our Comfort and Our Calling

Throughout scripture the Holy Spirit was at work gifting and empowering people to do the tasks God put before them. Even in the midst of Holy Spirit empowerment and direct divine intervention and calling, there were still people uneasy with their assigned tasks. Gideon was hesitant even though he was directly commissioned by an angelContinue Reading

Discernment and Decision Making Are Two Different Things

There is a lot of talk about discernment these days. Many have come to realize that the traditional filters by which we perceive things have not worked all that well for us. Congregational leadership is not the same as corporate leadership or business leadership and so how we go about looking at things needs toContinue Reading

Why are Biblical Lament and Celebration Extremely Important Today?

They are important because they are rooted in history. When you look at both biblical lament and biblical celebration, especially in the psalms, they are rooted in historical context. They reach back into their history. They remind themselves and their listeners (their co-mourners/co-celebrants) that what they are experiencing has deep roots going back generations. ThereContinue Reading

Operating Out of Conviction

Conviction is a word that I don’t hear very often. I think it is underused. The Bible talks about conviction in a few places including the famous chapter on faith in Hebrews 11, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” If we are to operate out ofContinue Reading

Ministers’ Health in Churches of Christ – Some New Statistics to Consider

I recently ran a survey of Church of Christ ministers to assess their health and self-care. I am going to be presenting a very small portion of that information at the Pepperdine lectures next week. There were a lot of things in the data that were encouraging and some things that scream just how muchContinue Reading

Psalm 118 and the Last Song Jesus Sang Before His Death

As Jesus concluded the Passover meal with his disciples there is a verse that is nearly always left out of the readings when this is read in sermons and at the Lord’s Supper. The verse right after Jesus finishes instituting the Lord’s Supper is this, “When they had sung a hymn, they went out toContinue Reading

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