Monday, March 8, 2010

Who do we aim to evangelise for fruitful evangelism?

Hi Friends,

Just last night I saw an intriguing video on evangelism. It was well done and did its job in provoking me to think and consider all those who don't know about Jesus, have not been challenged about Who Jesus is and their relationship to Him, and indeed some of the planet who haven't even heard his name.

On that level it challenged me. But also at another level it challenged me to rethink some evangelistic attitudes that I have held for quite a while, attitudes which I freely admit I have held due to my culture.

Here in our Australian culture the men are notoriously slack and have to a large extent abandoned their responsibilities as leaders in the family. Not the least when it comes to any sort of spiritual matter. This is seen reflected in our churches where it is mainly women and young children who are coming to church Sunday by Sunday.

One way I was challenged in ministry to change this was to specifically aim my evangelisitic efforts at men. The thinking was that if you got the men, then you would "get" the wife and the children.

Now I am being challenged to aim instead specifically at the children. The statistics given last night if my memory is sound were that 50% - 60% of people become Christians as a child. Now this statistic in itself is a debateable thing. These children may make a decision about Jesus at that age, but my experience tells me that very few of them continue to live as disciples of Jesus onwards through their adult years. There seems to be a major dropping out in the late teenage years. Perhaps that just reflects how poorly we have been doing discipleship and addressing their questions and preaching meaty sermons.

Not only that, but we can wonder how much worldly philosophies are at the back of desires to "market" our evangelistic efforts to a certain age set. Certainly Communism has shown that if you indoctrinate a child, you are likely to have a devoted follower as an adult. I believe it was Marx or somebody who said "give me a child till they are 5 and I will have a committed communist for life" - or something like that.

Now I can understand the frustration that can lead many to aim at children in their evangelistic efforts. So many adults have warped ideas about Christianity and Jesus' teachings that you seem you are hitting your head against a brick wall.

It's so much easier to get young children and teach them what the bible really says and watch the Holy Spirit work in their lives.

However we need to be careful about these worldly philosophies. We are certainly not about indoctrination! We are about people hearing who Jesus is - and challenging them about being his disciples.

But what about this method of targeting children? Is it biblical? Are we trying to build the Kingdom of God or recognizing that God is building the KOG and calls us to proclaim the good news?

Is evangelistic method a non-truth issue and are we free to improvise in who we are reaching?

Perhaps in some situations it's just a matter of what seems at present to be the emphasis. We have a lot of children in our area and we need to reach them with the gospel, I would just crucially add and be open to talking that same gospel message to their parents, and to talk that same gosple message to all we encounter.

As Matt 28 says as you are going about your life, make disciples....

Remember it's God's business to convict and change, but we need to realise God calls us to make disciples, those that follow Jesus.

What do you guys think on this?

In Christ,


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