Tag Archives: evangelism

Adopt a Bible!

Disappointingly, our plea for Bibles for Africa recently yielded no results despite the knowledge that most Africans have no Bible (including most Christian teachers and leaders!).

How can the people learn about God or become disciples effectively with no guide?

How can we who are wealthy by comparison and have an abundance of Bibles and Christian literature be obedient to Jesus’ commandment to ‘tell’ and ‘make disciples’ without doing our part to rectify this incredible disparity?

So, I thought I’d take a different approach by asking everyone to ‘adopt a Bible’. A donation of only $10 will buy one Swahili Bible. Obviously, Africa needs more than one Bible but if everyone buys at least one, we win in our obedience and Africa wins by being able to learn and teach their Faith.

Will you adopt a Bible for Africa by donating here? http://findingrevelation.com/FindingDiscipleship/Africa%20Bibles.htm

Blessings!

Ron Braley, findingdiscipleship.org & ronbraley.com

 

Evangelism: When enough is enough . . .

I’ve often witnessed someone focusing on trying to maintain what ends up being a tumultuous and unhealthy relationship because they believe they’ll eventually ‘lead the other person to Christ’. In business, this could be considered a bad ROI – Return on Investment – of the resources spent trying to ‘save’ someone.
We’re not responsible for saving people, only for passing on the good news of salvation from God’s wrath to come. The receiver must choose what to do with the information and any prompting by the Spirit of God. Granted, evangelizing that good news will benefit from relationships; however, you may reach a point when ‘enough is enough’ – especially if the relationship is emotionally or spiritually harmful to you. And, your time may be better spent in moving forward in telling others the good news and discipling those who become willing participants in a covenant with God through the Christ.

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” —Matthew 9:37-38.

“Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.” —Matthew 10:14.

“Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” —Matthew 7:6.

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!
And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from http://www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

Evangelism: Playing the Detective

As we’ve already learned, evangelism is absolutely critical to our salvation and that of others we witness to . . . or don’t.

“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” —Matthew 10:32-33.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” —Matthew 28:19-20.

One great way (but not the only way!) to evangelize the Gospel message is to build a relationship between yourself and those you to whom you express the good news. This will build trust and present opportunities to share and teach. Building that trust and seeking those golden opportunities will require you to get to know the other person. What is their background? What are their fears – especially regarding God or Christianity? What are their perceptions around religion? What physical, financial, emotional, or spiritual needs do they have? ‘Playing the detective’ will help you learn the answers to these questions and more in your relationship-building exercise.
Playing the detective requires that you ask open-ended questions, listen carefully to the responses, and then respond with additional questions as you ‘build their story’ and then relate your experiences and the Gospel to it. For instance:
“What do you think about God?”
“I don’t know. I’ve heard a lot of stuff and think he’s probably some higher power somewhere.”
“I know what you mean. The concept of God can be confusing – especially when so many people seem to have personal opinions about Him or be involved in different manmade religions. Tell me more about what you’ve heard.”

Well, I think you get the idea . . . Additional help in playing the detective can be found this highly-effective habit expressed by Dr. Stephen Covey: “Seek first to understand, and then to be understood”.
The following biblical advice can also help you treat your fellow man appropriately as you build evangelistic relationships:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus —Philippians 2:4-5.

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!
And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from http://www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

Back from mission ‘Disciple Africa’

Back from mission ‘Disciple Africa’ and, as Joanne says, “Our eyes have seen things our minds can’t comprehend“.

Please check out a summary of the trip and some photos at

http://findingrevelation.com/FindingDiscipleship/Africa%202015.htm

Remember: We’re ALL called to preach the good news of salvation, and some are called to teach. Those who don’t/can’t travel to evangelize or teach can still be obedient to the commandment for the Church to do so by funding those who can!  Will you consider partnering with us to return to Kenya and Uganda in 2016 to ‘train the trainer’ as we’ll teach nearly 300 pastors to train their villagers in discipleship and evangelism?

Blessings,

Ron Braley

Evangelism 101

What is evangelism? It’s proclaiming what we know about God and our Christ . . . out loud (i.e. Psalm 96 and 1John 1:1-5). Who has been called to evangelize? Everyone!

but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence — 1Peter 3:15.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you —Matthew 28:19-20.

Why is evangelism necessary?
•To enable mankind to be reconciled to God (2Corinthians 5:18-20).
• No one will hear if no one tells . . . (Romans 10:12-15).
• To help build faith (Romans 10:17; 2 Timothy 3:14-17).
• For our relationship with God & Christ (i.e. Matthew 10:32).
• Jesus commanded it (Matthew 28:19-20)!

How do we evangelize?
• Prepare – be convinced (2 Timothy 3:14-17 and 1Peter 3:15-16). We can’t tell what we don’t know or believe. That ‘convincing’ is rooted in discipleship, mentoring, Bible study, fellowship, etc.
• Build relationships. Those you tell the Gospel message to must trust you. Remember, blind faith is useless. And, discipleship, which requires trust too, will only be possible through relationship.
• Live the life – walk the talk and be consistent! However, just being a ‘good person’ and hoping people will somehow know Jesus as a result doesn’t work. We MUST tell about the hope within us and the ‘why’ . . .
• Use what you know. Take advantage of your experiences. “Dude! I was a drunk and lost until I heard about our creator and how He wants us back even though we walked away from a relationship with Him thousands of years ago. I’ve given my life back to Him and have promised to walk in His ways. My life has changed as a result – I am definitely a new person with a renewed hope! Want to hear more?” Everyone has a story, and we can all give a basic salvation elevator pitch . . .
• Look for opportunities to share God’s message of salvation and hope.

Summary: We are all called to proclaim God’s glory and spread the news of eternal life through Jesus. So, we learn and tell others what we know. We can also support evangelists (3John 1:7-8; Philippians 4:14-19; 1Corinthians 9:1-14). Those who tell others about God’s just nature and salvation from His wrath will enjoy a relationship with Him and all it brings including the Spirit and salvation from that wrath.

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!
And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from http://www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

Who Needs the Church?

There’s the Church, which is the entire assembly of Jesus’ followers, and there are churches (lower case), which can represent local collections of Christian believers or followers (there is a difference!).

The Church as a whole is responsible for being obedient to our covenant with the Christ. We are to do these things in particular:

  • Evangelize: How will people hear the good news of salvation if we don’t tell them?? (Matthew 28:19-20; Romans 1:16 and 10:14-15; 2Corinthians 5:18-20)
  • Be Charitable: The collecting of funds and other resources in the first-century Church was for the care of others including those who traveled to spread the Gospel message.
    • Care for brothers & sisters in Christ (Matthew 25:41-43; James 2:13-17; Acts 4:32-35; Acts 6:1-5)
    • Care for traveling evangelists (3John 1:7-8; Philippians 4:14-19)
    • Worship: Although we worship God and our Christ through our speech and actions, we can also do this in song and dance. (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16)
    • Governance: No one should be more important than another or ‘lord it over’ others, but fill roles as the Holy Spirit enables them.
      • Elders – overseers within the churches (Acts 14:23; 1Timothy 5:17)
      • Deacons – servants in the churches (1Timothy 3:8-13)
      • Bishops – overseers among the churches (1Timothy 3:1-7)
      • Discipleship: This is a very necessary step after evangelizing the Gospel message! We must share spiritual gifts, teach, mentor, and disciple to help others increase in their faith and stand firm against all kinds of wickedness and false teaching (Matthew 28:19-20; Romans 6:17 and 10:17; Colossians 1:28 and 3:16; 2Timothy 3:16; Titus 1:9 and 2:3; Hebrews 5:12-14)

In summary, the Church at large is composed of true followers of Jesus who are obedient out of their faith by honoring God and treating their fellow humankind appropriately. This includes caring for them.  Additionally, Jesus commanded us to spread the good news of salvation and make disciples. Everything we do as the corporate Church should work together for these purposes.

So . . . do you belong to the Church, a church, or both?

The Church: Then and Now

People have asked me several times to explain how today’s churches compare to the first-century Church. Good things can come from the Christian culture and church business model we experience today (some missions, some training, some benevolence, and governance).  However, they’re limited in scope and pale in comparison to the overshadowing abuse of Scripture, lack of discipleship training, and overarching concern about supporting the business of church.

Jesus intended for us to do three things per His commandments: treat God the Father appropriately, treat our fellow humans charitably, and spread the good news of salvation. This is what the early Church did despite great persecution and poverty, and they succeeded by sharing resources and using spiritual gifts. Everyone was on the same functional level and they filled roles as the Spirit of God enabled them. Today, churches are segregated business units with paid professionals, organizational charts, and exorbitant capital and operational expenses. The focus has, therefore, shifted from evangelism and charity to managing the business, and attracting and appeasing consumers of religious and emotional experiences.

A picture is certainly worth a thousand words, so you’ll find below a table that summarizes Church roles and responsibilities. It includes a comparison of the ancient and modern Churches and related Scripture references.

 

Function or Role

1st-Century Church

Today’s Church

Related Scripture

       
Evangelism One of three critical functions; To be done by all Not a priority or typically nurtured; Related to a lack of discipleship and training efforts Psalms 96

Matthew 28:19-20

Mark 16:15

Luke 24:47

Acts 1:8

Romans 1:16 and 10:12-15

2Corinthians 5:18-20

Benevolence: Brothers & Sisters in Christ Critical for survival; benevolence is one of three critical functions of the Church; we’ll be judged by Jesus for our involvement;  To be done by all Not a focus for resources or activities (only about 1% of funds collected) Matthew 25:41-43

Acts 2:45, 4:32-35, and 6:1-5

Romans 12:5-13

1Corinthians 16:1-5

2Corinthians 8:10-20 and 9:1-5

Ephesians 4:28

James 2:13-17

1John 3:14-18

Benevolence: Traveling Evangelists Critical for survival; benevolence is one of three critical functions of the Church Some missionary support; most care of missionaries/traveling evangelists comes from individual followers of Jesus outside normal ‘tithes’ Acts 20:34-35

Romans 16:1-2

1Corinthians 9:1-14

2Corinthians 11:7-9

Philippians 4:14-19

Titus 3:13-14

3John 1:7-8

Discipleship One of three important functions of the Church (the other two: benevolence and evangelism); done by those more mature in their faith Not generally a priority as evidenced by Scriptural illiteracy and lack of programs (95% or more of those who say they believe in Jesus don’t read the Bible or regularly engage in study) Matthew 28:19-20

Romans 6:17 and 10:17

Colossians 1:28 and 3:16

2Timothy 3:16

Titus 1:9 and 2:3

Hebrews 5:12-14

Governance Oversight through mature Christians and Bishops (overseers) Multiple levels of responsibilities; incumbents are usually paid Acts 14:23;

1Corinthians 12:27-29

1Timothy 3:1-13 and 5:17

Fund Raising Done for benevolence without mandate or limit Done through threats of robbing God (OT Scriptural misuse) or promises of prosperity; Funds are used primarily for salaries, real-estate, or related business expenses See ‘Benevolence’ scriptures above
Worship Outward; participatory More inward; audience and performance-based Ephesians 5:19

Colossians 3:16

 

Which ‘Church’ do you belong to?