Skip to main content

A Four-Letter Word? Well, more than than...



Feel free to enter the discussion! E-mail Nathan Smith at
restoration@harmonygroveumc.com or come on Monday mornings at 11:00 am 


This week we are talking about evangelism. For many this is a four-letter word. It brings up a tremendous amount of negative connotation because of the intrusiveness of those that have historically claimed to be evangelists. But let’s look at what evangelism really is. It is defined by the Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Theology as the proclamation of the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ with a view to bring about the reconciliation of the sinner to God the father through the work of the Holy Spirit.

That is a mouth full. How do we contextualize this for today’s non-Christian audience without loosing the meaning for the Christian that wants to participate in communicating the hope found in God to those struggling? Let’s begin by looking at the basic components.

Proclamation indicates that we are to tell people about something. This means that we are to share an important story, concept, experience or event with people. It is defined by a clear declaration of something. But if we are going to make a declaration about something we should make sure that the people we are declaring it to are willing and capable of hearing what we are telling them. Does the current cultural context have the willingness and capacity to hear about Christ and salvation? I would say that the answer is no most of the time. People are very interested in having a recovery/restoration conversation that equips them to find greater peace and happiness in life and not very interested in having a sin/salvation conversation. What they do not want is to be talked at about something that they do not feel is relevant or needed. How can we shape the evangelism message to the audience that we are seeking to connect with? Perhaps Paul had it right in his letter to the Corinthian church?

1 Cor. 9:22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.

What is evangelism not? It is not intrusive. Evangelism honors people’s boundaries and their context as Jesus did with the Samaritan woman at the well (see John 4:1-42). It is grounded in loving our neighbor rather than trying to inform them into faith.

So, how do we define evangelism in a way that alleviates the negative connotation attached to it while making it easy for everyone to appropriate? Evangelism is simply the act of sharing the experience, strength and hope that we found in the Gospel message with those that we are in a seeking relationship with and whom are willing so that they can experience the restorative power of faith in God that we have. Evangelism should be based around the idea of attraction rather than promotion. Remember Jesus was not a salesman and an expert at self-promotion. He was an expert at meeting people where they were and facilitating restorative relationship. We do not need to sell Christ and salvation to those that do not want it but simply need to continue to cultivate the relational potential for hope and allow the Holy Spirit to be the results provider.

Nathan

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

ReCapture Blogpost this Week

Monday’s are my favorite day of the week. It is a new beginning to the week and there is limitless potential. It is also the day that Debbie and I get together to wrestle with theology and mission, trying to unpack God’s plan for Harmony Grove and the local community. I love this process. It makes me feel like I am contributing to a solution that is God centered and bigger than myself. Today was particularly exciting, as we really did not end up where we started. We began by looking at how we have historically defined the church, taking our cues from John Wesley and the early Methodist movement and ended up engaging the surveys that the congregation filled out last week during the 9:45 hour.
This led us to, what we feel are, the core components of the church moving forward if it is going to find sustainability and become the thriving, vibrant community that everyone seems to want to be a part of. Most importantly, by beginning with the surveys it gave a voice to the needs and concerns …

What do your relationships look like?

Wednesday, January 23, 2019
This week the missional theology discussion that Debbie and I have every Monday was attended by a whole group of people that wanted to be a part of the movement committed to the restoration of the individual, family and community at Harmony Grove UMC. We discussed the work that we are doing in the new Family Restoration Center and looked at the core principles of Discipleship, Evangelism and Mission that define Christ’s church. It was a perfect example of how discipleship manifests in a community of people that are willing to look at the need for change and embrace the uncertainty that that brings, trusting God to be our guide. 
Discipleship, evangelism and mission will be the topics of the next three weeks sermons, helping us to ReCapture, as a community, what it means to be the church that Christ called us to be. We will be leading with discipleship and the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19-20 this week, looking at what makes Christian discipleship un…

The Goal

restoration@harmonygroveumc.com
We have two children, a 15 year old boy, Miles, and a 5 year old girl, Willow. This last Christmas was the best one that we have ever had. Both kids really caught the Christmas excitement and got involved in making it a fantastic time for our family. They saw the excitement and enthusiasm that my wife, Nicole, and I had and they wanted to be a part of it. By the time Christmas eve rolled around we were all thinking of exciting ways that we could surprise each other and make it special. The point that I am trying to make is that our excitement is contagious. Movements, like Christianity, are built on the excitement of a few that grows into the excitement of many because they were willing to authentically engage and share their excitement about something they believed in.
Monday morning at 11am we had another great group show up to participate in our weekly missional theology discussion. It is so exciting to see people begin to engage a new narrative and tr…