Definition: Right Handed Evangelism

There are two streams of disciple making which could be described as “right hand” and left hand” evangelism; we need both hands to accomplish the work of God.

Right hand evangelism is church driven evangelism, involving the familiar pattern of churches, worship, evangelists, revivals, altar calls, enthusiasm, follow up, Sunday School, invitation, hospitality, etc. Right hand evangelism organizes events and programs, like worship and Sunday School, to make disciples. Evangelism is two-step in a right handed understanding: it is necessary to get the unchurched into the building where they will find Christ within the community of faith.

In the body of Christ, this is the temple system; it provides worship and most of the systemic structures which maintain the activities of the traditional church. The temple is an attractional, “come” structure that desires stability in all things. It is Troeltsch’s church, Hegel’s thesis, Senge’s balancing loop, Rogers’ pragmatic majority and Schwarz’ static pole of bipolarity. It is logical, objective, left-brained, centralized, co-dependent, homogenous and tends toward scholasticism and conformity. It is visible where it operates in cycles within characteristic structures: temples, worship, priests, liturgy, logic, dogma, ethics, events, activities, programs, and governance by committee (boards, finance, personnel, property).

It is the flower pot that supports the flower. Just as Jesus made us of the Jerusalem Temple, disciple makers today can do their work in and through the institutional church. But the institution isn’t alive; it’s the structure that supports the living body of Christ, just as a flower pot provides opportunities for the flower.

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