Thursday, November 9

What is the most effective way to continuously evangelize?

Join in on this week's Guayas Mestizo team meeting. Our team meetings are always open to any believer who would like to attend, so you are welcome to join in the current dialogue.

Today we are trying to answer the question:

"what is the most effective way to
continuously evangelize our people?"



We are all in agreement that sporadic, half-hearted evangelism is not the way to go. What is needed is to find an effective means to continuously evangelize our people group by the greatest number of existing believers.

Several minutes are spent differentiating between one of the CPM pillars, "abundant gospel sowing" and what we are calling "continuous evangelism."

In AGS the seed of the Gospel is abundantly shared through any and all available means to get the message out continuously to as many people as possible (literature distribution, radio, TV, mass media, tracts, telephone, Jesus film, any/all seed sowing type efforts). A decision for Christ is not necessarily expected of AGS. It is more understood as an effort to "prepare hearts" for the Gospel message to follow later--sort of what John the Baptist did prior to Jesus' coming.

In evangelism we are seeking to present the message in such a way that the individual is personally confronted with the Gospel message and is given an opportunity to either accept or reject what is shared.

Once this is clarified, several mention the more common methods usually used to evangelize: door-to-door witnessing, open air preaching, gospel films, evangelistic pulpit preaching, home Bible studies, evangelistic crusades...

The question is asked, "are we getting the desired results from these methods?" The answer is, "not really". We believe many more people are open to the Gospel than are currently responding. They are not rejecting the Gospel, they are rejecting our methods!

We begin to explore several ideas gleaned from a book one of our national team members has read that discusses "open" and "closed" groups. We determine that "open" groups would be a more effective way to collectively win groups of people, rather than winning individuals and then attempting the nearly impossible task of gathering them into groups. "Open" groups would be good for evangelism, "closed" groups would be better for discipleship.

More discussion takes place questioning the effectiveness of this and that evangelism method. Finally, in the midst of several of us talking at once, Geovanny quietly walks to the white board and writes...
1. Buscar la dirección de Dios (orando) para evangelizar continuamente.
Seek God's direction (praying) to continuously evangelize.

2. [for now blank] - depends on what is heard from the Lord on #1

3. [for now blank] - do it.

Does the Holy Spirit have the answer to our evangelism question? Yes.

Are we willing to wait upon Him in prayer until He makes clear how to best carry this out? Answer: to be seen in the coming days/weeks....stay tuned.

Be part of our team this week. Help us win our city/province to Christ. What would you add to the dialogue? What are your thoughts? Observations? Insights? How would YOU go about doing things?

6 comments:

antonio said...

Guy, I have to ask my same thing on the Gospel Saturation part and have asked those at home. Are we seeing results like we desire? The long term answer is no. There is something missing in the loop. The main part is obviously prayer and time sitting around having sessions like you describe you are having, not amoung our team but amoung all of those in Mexico. Of course for me, now my job is transforming away from "full-time" Gospel Saturation" but I am glad to have spent the time doing it so that I could see it function with my own eyes. I look forward to hearing your progress and maybe can apply or use the thinking when I come back next year.

Dave said...

Guy,

What a blessing that you are asking the very same questions that we are asking in my new class on evangelism among first-year Bible school students here in Merida. We are right now developing an intentional personal evangelization plan that includes in its very foundation prayer. We'll be keeping an eye on the path that the Holy Spirit takes your group, and we'll be hoping to glean principles that we can add to the effort here.

GuyMuse said...

Antonio,

I too spent many years in the Gospel Saturation end of things as a mass media missionary for more than ten years. Today we are more involved in church planting end of things.

My take on the subject is that Gospel Saturation is something that has to be going on "behind the scenes" if we are ever going to see a church planting movement. All CPM have the characteristic that there is abundant gospel sowing going on. This is not to be confused with evangelism and church planting. The former "prepares the soil" for the latter which is the actual Gospel seed. Both go hand in hand and are complementary.

As a church planter, I now rely on others ministries and work (such as Teleamigo, radio, TV) to help us. I need to be doing a lot more networking with these folks to be able to take advantage of the work they are doing in preparing hearts to find those "people of peace" that gospel saturation tends to help us identify.

GuyMuse said...

Dave,

Likewise, please share with us what you guys come up with there in Merida. I would be very interested in a personal evangelization plan that includes as a foundation prayer. May the Lord lead us all to discover the most effective means of implementing continous evangelism amongst our people groups.

Strider said...

Well Guy, you have read my blog so you know what I think. There are three things that are essential for our team in addition to prayer that you have mentioned. One is that once we have prayed we must be ready to move in obedience to whatever the Lord is doing. Many times we have entered a new village and then looked back at the end of the day to see that we passed up an opportunity to pray for a sick child or serve someone in some way. We need to be expecting the Lord to provide a way into people's lives and then jump on it when it appears. Second, we find ways to minister to whole communities of people. In the small villages that we work in that is easier to get a hold of than for you in the big city but I still think the point is that you should be serving large groups of people some way and not just individuals. Serving individuals leads to extraction evangelism which in our view is counter productive for house churches. You can't have a house church unless you have a house hold. Third, we find ways to live the Gospel in front of people. Have you ever noticed that on a day to day basis we pull out our big Bibles when we talk to non-believers but never when we talk to each other? On our team we do 'Bible studies' with each other in front of people as a regular part of our lives. The same with prayer and worship. We sing together, read the Word together, and pray together in front of the people we are serving. In our Muslim context this keeps us from being seen as confrontational while being quite open.
I am aware that so much of what we do is localized but I think that many of these principles have relevent meaning in many of our contexts.
Keep striving for His best.

GuyMuse said...

STRIDER,

We could all take lessons from you. Your blog is a gold mine of the "real thing." You write from experience and not from what some book says. You are exactly right that we could certainly learn from the three principles that you share. They are indeed applicable to most of our circumstances. I especially like what you say about focusing on whole communities (#2) rather than individuals. We have a lot to learn from this and correct in our manner of working.

We are better at expecting the Lord to provide a way into people's lives. Many of our people have gone through at least part of "Experiencing God" and this concept has taken root in the lives of many of our people.

Thanks for these words that benefit us all.