What sort of evangelism actually results in disciples?

Overview: What sort of evangelism actually results in disciples?

HEADS. People hate evangelism. Christians shy away from it. They’re afraid of it, discouraged by it and feel guilty when they fail to drag a seeker across the line of faith. If Christians dread evangelism, non-Christians despise it. They feel pressured, preached at, cornered, judged, condemned and reduced to spiritual projects. “Somewhere along the line, we’ve forgotten what evangelism is really about and we’ve reduced the process to simply inviting people to a weekend service,” says Willow Creek’s Director of Neighborhood Evangelism, Garry Poole . . . When asked to define the activity they disliked so much — evangelism — most responded that it meant reaching out to friends and neighbors by inviting them to a church service. “So, here is a room of church-goers who are evangelizing by inviting neighbors — people they don’t even know, by the way — to church,” explains Poole. “No wonder it wasn’t working.” Naturally, the Christians were frustrated, but what more could they do? They were making attempts to follow the old paradigm of evangelism:

            1. Build a relationship

            2. Share a verbal witness

            3. Invite them to a church service

After skimming past points 1 and 2 to try point 3, only to find it didn’t work, they were finished. Mission accomplished. Whew. They could check evangelism off their “to-do” list and say they’d tried.[1]





[1] The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at www.disciplewalk.com/Resources.html. In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through CreateSpace.com.

[2][3] [4][5] [6][7] [8]

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.

[1]Susan DeLay, “Evangelism in 3-D,” WCA News, Issue 4, 2006, under http://www.willowcreek. com/wcanews/story.asp?id=WN01I42006 (accessed June 15, 2007).

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