Monday, November 29, 2010
As Christians we are called to be theologians. Every Christian is a theologian if they like it or not. In my witnessing encounters I have often heard people say that "Doctrine Divides" and honestly, I cannot for the life of me figure that out! The Bible is clear on it's doctrine, it is simply that so many of us are ignorant of what the Bible truly says, many fall into that category of assuming the role of the "Folk Theologian" meaning they have been told something about the Scriptures long ago and they will stick to those beliefs until they die and no one, not even the Bible itself will change those preconceived notions of a book they have never truly studied. So until we fulfill our part of this covenant with God and we start to take serious the study of Scriptures than we will fall prey to Folk Theology and to others such as False Teachers and Money Hungry Preachers. We will be better off to study the Scriptures as we are commanded and thus own the ability to discern false teachings from sound teachings and having a clear understanding of what the Bible says instead of what our neighbors say the Bible says!
So for these reasons when we speak of Evangelism we cannot go into it blindly, we must then enter into other areas of understanding such as Apologetics, Polemics and Theology in general. If we fail to have some background understanding going into our witnessing we we fail horribly. All this and we cannot forget that we must also include Prayer and the Holy Spirit in this equation.
That somewhat explains why this blog is the way it is presently and I hope to improve and build upon what has been started here as of now. I would be foolish not to include a major misunderstanding that we have today in the Reformed Church, that being that "Us Reformed Christians do not do Outreach." Sadly, for many Reformed churches and believers, this is true. But that should not be the case, that is a very big mistake and more than being a mistake, it goes against everything the Bible says about sharing the Gospel!
I will save any debate about if a Reformed believer should witness for another posting some other day, I simply want to put in your mind at this time that you can and should be Reformed in doctrine for that is what the Bible clearly teaches and we can and should share the Gospel with everyone! For that is also what the Bible clearly teaches and to go against Scripture is go against Christ!
I have a strong burden and a love to share the Gospel with others, I will tell you that it is great, horrible, wonderful, painful, enjoyable, tiresome, edifying, discouraging, fulfilling, and sometimes "me centered" more than "Christ centered". It is all these things and more! But over the years I have used several methods, gimmicks, tracts, no tracts, anything I could think of to get the message of the Gospel in the hearts and minds of others. Always with differing results and let me say the perfect way does not exist. There is no sure fire way and no one can tell you there is. You will have days of great success and you will have days of great failure. We cannot get caught up in such things as counting conversions or numbers of any type. We cannot go out on our own power, and use our own skills and abilities. We can not do anything on our own.
So before I list Top Ten Ways For Sharing The Gospel, let me first say. This list does not guarantee anything, simply a list to keep in mind when you go out, and that these are things I have picked up over my years of being a witness.
1.) First and foremost, you must seek God's face in prayer prior to leaving your house even prior to preparing your tracts. Pray for guidance, pray for courage, pray most of all that God is with you and will send His Spirit along with you. After praying..... pray some more.
2) Only use good, solid, Biblically correct tracts in your witnessing. Never use tracts that are "racist, inflammatory, or in poor taste. "Chick Tracts" come to mind. They are in poor taste and put forth a Open Theistic` doctrine of self-will and man's choice in salvation. There are dozens of Gospel Tracts out there, many churches are even making tracts, including mine. So when you order tracts, keep your order small at first so as not to waste your hard earned money on tracts you cannot use. Nothing worse than sending a large sum of money to a tract distributor only to get them in the mail and realize they are Arminian or some other garbage that teaches a Man-Centered gospel over a Christ-Centered Gospel. We should have no desire to give out tracts that preach a lie. Stick with sound, doctrines of grace tracts that clearly preach on the Sovereignty of God and His free Grace. I would recommend getting tracts from www.customtractsource.com if you can. They are well made, attractive, eye catching tracts with a good message. Not offensive, they stick to the Biblical examples of sharing the Gospel. Their price is great and they have a huge inventory of tracts. Delivery is fast, they are great to work with and they will even help you design your own custom tracts at great prices. I love this place and mainly because they do not do it for the money! Another great source is Chapel Library out of Pensacola,FL. They can be found at http://www.chapellibrary.org/ They want to help you share the Gospel that is their main goal and they are FREE!
3) Read some books on Evangelism. You will find several books out there on this, but most are simply bad. Over the years I have read several and I can say many of these never should have seen the light of day. Books like "Sharing Christ Without Fear" are useless. These present the "Easy Believism" approach to witnessing and will only lead to the mass production of Apostates! We should have no desire to make false converts. When you look for books, look at the author first and if you do not know much about the author, look for the name of the books Publisher. Some publishers only put out trash while others are solid in their reputation of putting out solid books. Look for publisher names such as "Banner of Truth," "InterVarsity Press," "Reformation Heritage Books" and the like. Please, please stick with solid Reformed publishers.
4) This one might catch you off guard some what. Read the Puritans! Read whatever you can find written by the Puritans. The Puritans, more than anyone, past, present and more than likely, future, had a way of getting to the heart of the Bible and they carried a great burden in sharing the Gospel. We have several books being republished every year so it is getting easier and easier to find and buy books from great Puritan writers. No one has ever had a such complete Christ-centered approach to life as the Puritans. As well as them, we have a few other preachers from centuries past that are in the mold of the Puritans that might be just a tad easier to understand and maybe at times a little more relevant to our times. A.W. Pink, C. H. Spurgeon, J.C Ryle and Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones are all great and all will encourage you to share the Gospel. Two books I want to point out, if you are to read only two books from any of these guys, read "The Soul Winner" by C. H. Spurgeon and read "The Reformed Pastor" by the Puritan Richard Baxter. These books will set your soul on fire for the lost and all these books can be found at affordable prices, normally $6-$10. Both these should be required reading for every evangelists!
5.) Get to know like minded people as yourself. This one might not be so easy. You might very well be the one and only person in your entire church with a passion to witness. I have been in rather large churches, those with over a thousand souls and could not find one single person who wanted to do outreach or witnessing! Including the pastors! This sounds outrageous, and it is. Should not be this way but it is a truism of the state of the Church today. Most feel it is not important or they will make excuses as to why they are not called to witness. Even though we have Scripture that points to each of us being an Theologian and and Witness! If you look, do some searching, you will find others who think like you, they are out there and I bet they are looking for you right now! They are in the same shoes as you, they would love to find a new friend to go witnessing with. So spend the time to look for these people, they might be at another church outside of yours, but as long as they follow sound Biblical doctrine, go for it!
6) You have prayed, you have your solid tracts, you have done your reading and you have looked for others with the same desire as you, now it is time to hit the streets! You will want to rush out to the nearest street in town in begin but you have to do a little leg work first. Get in your car and drive around, look for places where large groups of people gather on a regular basis. People are active at different times of the day and on different days. Look for special events. Almost every town has a yearly festival of sorts and these offer great opportunities in sharing the Gospel. You can easily give out hundreds of tracts when thousands get together to celebrate at these events. They are usually in a good mood and open to taking your tracts and listening to what you have to say. Who isn't happy at a city carnival? Take advantage of other yearly events, Halloween for example, you might not approve of this day but you cannot deny it is a great chance to pass out tracts to the people walking by you on the sidewalks and to the people handing out candy. Also, for the most part, you will be on public sidewalks, the police can say nothing to you when you witness on public property. Halloween is one of my best times for tracting, I hand out hundreds in a few hours.
7) Be cautious when passing out tracts at major chain stores, either inside or in the parking lot. Many stores will call the police on you, they think you are harassing their customers which is bad for business. So if you try, and I have several times, be polite and if asked to leave by the store then just do so and find another spot. There is a time and a place for every battle, but when you are taking on Walmart, you will loose. Try to stick to stores where you know the people, being friends with the manager of the store will help and always ask for permission from the manager before you begin handing out tracts. This will save you some grief and also it is just a polite thing to do and we as disciples of Christ want to be polite always especially when we are representing Him!
8) Don't get discouraged! You will find people who will take your tracts and keep walking and you will find people who will want to stop and talk, listen to what you have to say and ask questions. But you will also find people who will snub you, who will refuse a tract or will get nasty and throw the tract back at your face. This is the time to think, they are not disrespecting you, they are disrespecting God! So if someone says "No Thanks" than simply say, "Okay, thanks for your time." Never try to force a tract or force a witnessing encounter on anyone, just try to be obedient to Christ and offer, if they say no, they say no and move on to the next guy. Do not take the rejection personally either, they are refusing Christ not you! Pray for these people that God will send His Spirit to their lives so their hearts may be changed.
9.) If you can, witness in groups of twos. Never form a mob of people and go after one person, they will be intimidated. Try not to go at it alone but if you have no choice or feel led to, then do it, but remember your safety at all times. Never put yourself in a unsafe position. Listen to that gut feeling you have when your conscience tells you to stay on the left side of the street instead of the right side. You never know what kind of people you will encounter. Women and girls should never go out alone and neither should children. Never! Just do not do it. Wait until you have friends with you, we cannot deny the fact that this world is dangerous, especially for women and children there will always be weirdos out there.
10) Never go out with a predetermined number of souls you wish to encounter. Never try to force a witnessing encounter. Always go out with the attitude that it is Christ who saves and not you! Always be obedient to what He is leading you to do but never try anything on your power, remember to pray and ask for His Spirit in your witnessing. Do not set out to "Save Souls" this is not your job. Let God's Holy Spirit do the heavy lifting, all we are commanded to do is to be obedient, to get up, get out of the house and be A Bold Witness For Christ! Everything else will fall in place, Lord Willing of course.
I know this list is a little long, you may have expected Ten Short and Easy Steps, but it is not that easy brethren! Just like anything else in life, it takes hard work and some tears. But you will never know the joy of being a witness for Christ if you do nothing, so I encourage you, I employ you and I beg you to get out there and serve your King!
Soli Deo Gloria! Shane
Posted by Bold Witness For Christ Labels: Evangelism