preacherman

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Where Would You Start?

In sharing your faith with someone, sharing your testimony, telling someone about God, Jesus, how to be become a Christian, where would you start? why?

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.

44 Comments:

Blogger Ancient Wanderer said...

Bible as/is the Word of God. Without a point of authority there is no point.

Don

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:34 AM  
Blogger Alan said...

I think the topic depends on the person. A Hindu or Buddist requires a different approach than your average Bible belt southerner.

But in all cases I think establishing a relationship is key. Few people will immediately trust a stranger (for excellent reason). Share not only the gospel but your life as well.

7:39 AM  
Blogger Paula Harrington said...

I agree with Alan here. Always start with a relationship. You wouldn't walk up to someone on the street and ask them to marry you. I build relationships first and as I'm doing that I always make sure I have mentioned Jesus to them. This lets them know who I am (a Christian. We need to meet people where they are.

Also, I want to make the point that we need to bring people to Christ not bring people to church.

7:48 AM  
Blogger Benjamin Potter said...

Hear, hear! Alan and Paula. One thing to add would be to ask how we share. Most of us who have known the Savior for any length of time have developed the "vocabulary". I think it sometimes hinders our ability to share because we use the words of religion rather than meaningful language to our friends.

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Tim Archer said...

Seems like you have to tell what God has done for you. Many times that telling happens in an incidental way, flowing out of the relationship that Alan and others talk about. Someone pointed out that in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul not only talks about the death, burial and resurrection, but also his personal knowledge of Christ. I think we have to be able to do the same.

Grace and peace,
Tim

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Darin said...

Find out where they are and go from there.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous laymond said...

Face to face and go from there. listen and answer questions on first encounter. I hate to tell you but you won't convince many people with only one meeting.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Ancient Wanderer said...

I understand the need for a relationship. But how much relationship and for how long? I personally know brethren who are still "waiting for the right moment" after 5 - 10 - 15 - 20 years. And some a lifetime and still counting. To many Christians are more afraid of loosing their "relationships" by bringing up religion than they are developing relationships in order to bring up religion.

I know to some extent it depends on who you are and that in many cases takes care of the "relationship aspect". For example: a preacher or Bible class teacher or elder has an almost immediate "relationship" to move on. I do door-to-door work all the time. I don't know a soul behind that door before I knocked. I think "relationship first" can be a bit of an excuse. I mean unless you're a hermit living in a cave YOU GOTS RELATIONSHIPS.

That's why I said the "Bible" because even that Hindu fishing buddy of yours living next door to you in Alabama or North Carolina or Ohio isn't going to get too far with this "Jesus" concept without first understanding the Bible to be the Word of God.

That's All ... thank you...
Hi Preacherman... I'm being nice:)

AW

5:04 PM  
Blogger Messianic Gentile said...

I think the “relationship” thing is overrated. I am NOT saying it is useless, but way overrated all the same. The relationship thing is a response to the fact that most people already have deep allegiances to the Western Economic Empire that will need to change as they come to Jesus, and the fact that most of us “Christians” also have those allegiances, which needs to change. Basically, we don’t want to offend others’ social sensitivities (as in being politically correct). Nevertheless, I see how that you might well blow your hearing with a new acquaintance if you ignore those sensitivities.

However, I still say the “relationship” thing is overrated because we lock ourselves into that mentality. I evangelize street hookers and drug pushers and other imperial rejects who have none of the afore mentioned sensitivities. What kind of “relationship” should I have with a hooker before I get around to talking about Jesus with her?

I have on many occasions walked right into the middle of a dope and alcohol party down in the hood and asked who there needs prayer. I have only been to one such party where I did not find a taker. You can’t do that in the middle of IHOP, but you can in the hood. And someone almost always takes to crying and sobbing over their brokenness.

This leads to questions about where to finish evangelism. Most do not go to church with me next Sunday. But some do. And all are effected by his name. But as far as starting is concerned, I suggest we think in terms of reaching out to societal rejects as a start. We sooooooo often look right past them as if they are invisible, or fear them, because we have no love for them. And then we bang our heads and heart against the walls of social graces with our peers, or more commonly complain about it as if we do when most often we don’t really do even that.

Many blessings

6:02 PM  
Blogger Messianic Gentile said...

O, Yeah. Preacherman,

I recently posted my thoughts on pretty much just this subject recently. If my thoughts are taken as valuable to you or your readers you can find them at

http://alleyjesus.blogspot.com/2007/01/calling-our-bluff-on-comfort-zones.html

Sorry, I dont know how to link these things.

Many blessings...

6:21 PM  
Blogger Trey Morgan said...

It's got to start with Jesus. To many times in the past we've had Bible studies that spent weeks on OT history, books of the Bible, and other things long before it got to Jesus. It's all about Jesus.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

Even as the Living Word, Jesus did not always start with the "Bible." The Bible is our "authority" as Don rightly points out. Yet it is not an agreed upon "authority." And Paul did not begin with a discourse on biblical authority in Acts 17. He began with a pagan idol.

I think just about anything can be used to begin a conversation even one that sounds very secular to point folks to the One above.

Stories often provide a way of talking with folks in our postmodern culture. The story could be Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia ... and many stories already have a spiritual component. It is a beginning point ... not an ending point.

I would also point to the role of prayer and the Spirit. We need to cultivate these in our way of talking to those around us.

Shalom,
Bobby Valentine
Formerly of Milwaukee, now of Tucson
http://stoned-campbelldisciple.blogspot.com

7:21 PM  
Anonymous laymond said...

AW- am I wrong when I say the whole of the bible is about the creator wanting a relationship with the created. and how He and we go about creating that relationship.(showing our love one for the other) I believe creating a relationship especially one of love and communication is the one and only way to bring others to Christ. or am I wrong about that love thing also.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe door to door is a huge way to share your faith. I believe we can learn something from Mormons and others who door knock.

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:01 PM  
Blogger Ancient Wanderer said...

le.m.-
Howdy,

Nah, and nothing I said contradicts either of those. I just know that "relationships" are a crutch for many brethren to remain quiet. They don't "talk" to people they don't know and they don't "talk" to their friends because they don't want to turn them off!

"Messianic Gentile" gives a perfect example of the non need for "relationships".

As a preacher why do I need to spend a great deal of the Lord's time developing a relationship with YOUR BUDDIES to convert them to Christ?

Query- how many of you have "best" friends who aren't Christians?
Why are they your "best" friends?
Why aren't your "best" friends Christians?

AW

12:35 AM  
Anonymous laymond said...

AW- I don't say we will always create a relationship, But I can say we will never bring anyone to Christ without a relationship of some kind between us and them, and them and Christ It just can't happen. About our personal friends, I don't believe we are restricted to friendship within the membership. and I don't believe we should continualy hound our friends who are outside this brotherhood.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Wade Tannehill said...

While Preacherman's original question was about where to start evangelism, I think Messianic Gentile raises a good point about where to finish it.

IMO we have such a commercial, consumer (whatever you want to call it) approach to evangelism. If someone doesn't get baptized we feel that we haven't "closed the sale."

Just some very random thoughts.

3:05 PM  
Anonymous laymond said...

messianic gentile- I aplaud you for your work with the broken and less fortunant.

you said;"And someone almost always takes to crying and sobbing over their brokenness."

evidently there had once been a relationship already established between this child of God and their savior Jesus Christ. You are not creating a relationship, you are renewing one. (just my opinion, I see this as the most gratifing work God gives one, bringing back the prodical child) God Bless you and your work.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Messianic Gentile said...

It occurs to me that I should make plain that I think relationship is important. I develop relationship with those I evangelize. Some are deep relationships. And to avoid relationship would be wrong.

I just think that it can and often should start with Jesus, prayer, service etc. But you should be real with people about it and cultivate relations too.

It is something Agent B promotes regularly on his blog.

Many blessings...

8:47 PM  
Blogger Royce Ogle said...

I'm with Don on this one. Before I continue I want to make clear that I think we should be friendly with sinners. We have taught folks that when they come to Christ they should cut off all their old relationships and that is wrong. They should cut out the old way of life but not the people who need Jesus. Light is only effective in a dark place.

Now, The Holy Spirit did not send Phillip to build a relationship with the Ethiopian eunuch, but to preach Christ to him. I don't remember any Bible mandate to build relationships with lost people but many to preach Christ.

I will promise you this. Before you leave your house tomorrow morning for the workplace, ask God to give you and open door, an opportunity to talk to someone about Christ, and if you are sincerely seeking to please Him, I believe you will find that prayer answered.

We have unintentionally made sharing our faith much more complicated than it should be. One of the most effective ways for me to open the way for the gospel is simply to tell my story. Then it is very natural and easy to ask "How is your relationship with Christ?" The answer is a springboard for telling about Christ and His love.

Grace and Peace,
Royce Ogle

10:49 PM  
Anonymous laymond said...

Do we even know what a relationship is? Would the word “CONNECTION” reconcile the differences here? Are we so suspect of this word that we think 3b. Below is the only definition.

Main Entry: re·la·tion·ship
Pronunciation: -sh&n-"ship
Function: noun
1 : the state of being related or interrelated
2 : the relation connecting or binding participants in a relationship: as a : KINSHIP b : a specific instance or type of kinship
3 a : a state of affairs existing between those having relations or dealings b : a romantic or passionate attachment

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Danny said...

Are Invitations that we offer on Sundays effective? How many new converts do churches have becuase of invitations? I know our church doesn't. We are thinking about getting rid of the invitation all together.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Josh said...

I would start by finding a way to develop a relationship with that person.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Ancient Wanderer said...

Royce-
You old dog you.
:) Don :)

____ ____ ____
Invitations? I think as long as they are used as part of the service. But the real problem with invitations isn't the non-Christian it's the brethren who don't think they need the prayers of the church or who "don't sin" or who have lost the concept of "fellowship" both in service and in Worship.

AW

2:38 PM  
Blogger Bryan Tarpley said...

"friendship evangelism" is an awful phrase. in the white middle-class cultural environment, you are not able to broach the topic of "do you know Jesus" without becoming a salesman unless you already have a relationship with that person. at the same time, friendships must be genuine and fueled solely by Christ's command to love your neighbor. once that relationship is there, you can have honest conversations about your faith. i personally have had success sparking some of the most in depth conversations about God with friends who aren't "churched."

in other words, friendship for the sake of friendship, not evangelism. evangelism stems from being honest about who (whose) you are. but friendship for the sake of evangelism is an abomination, a manipulative dehumanization of the person you have the honor to fellowship with.

what follows, however, is that if evangelism happens among genuine friends, and christians don't try hard to form genuine friendships with those outside the church, it's not going to work. we are to be incarnations of Immanuel, not used car salesmen who prowl their lots waiting to pounce on some unsuspecting passerby.

as Mother Teresa said, "i am merely the pencil with which God is writing a love letter to the world." love letters are written between two people in love, not strangers bombing each other with advertising.

that being said, i know of people who have had success with the bombing method. three things about that:
1) this takes a special kind of person to pull it off without being rude. their are good car salesmen and bad car salesmen.
2) for every success story, how many people were pushed further from the church by associating it with an advertiser?
3) you have to know who your audience is. if you're a white dude in certain parts of africa you'll have instant respect and a captive audience. if you're on a college campus on the east coast, you've got a MUCH different dynamic. if you respect your audience, you will respect the rules they play by.

4:00 PM  
Blogger Son of Adam said...

I actually start with my own story. Being a Christian is about relationships.

If I can get a friend to relate to my story, then I can describe how I believe my story is related to the scriptures. Then if they are willing to share their story we can study together to find thier own connection to them.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Neva said...

Jesus told the demoniac to "go home and tell them what the Lord has done for you." Thus begins a relationship with you and the Lord. Kinda simplistic but when our faith is "audible" others listen. And then we answer their questions guided by the Spirit and finding answers in the Word.

Neva

11:12 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

In the past I allowed anonymous comments. Recently the anonymous comments that I have been receiving on this blog have been rude and unchristian in nature. This blog will no longer allow anonymous comments. Thanks for your understanding.

10:37 AM  
Blogger Laymond said...

PM We live in a world full of "nuts" I even get threats from some who disagree. but we have to live in the world we have, for now.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Paula Harrington said...

I actually got blogged about by some nut (I mean that in the Christian way :) He said some pretty nasty things and pretty bad words. I'm close to not allowing anons too. How do we go about that?

4:16 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Great comments everyone.
I apppreciate all the dirrections one where to start. Great.
I think there is no secret formula. I believe we must start with where they are and begin with our reglationship with God and go from there...just my opinion.
Again thank everyone.

Paula just go to your setups and choose who you want on your blog it should give you three choices. Take it off anyone.

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