The Changing Face of Evangelism

 

Editor’s note: The  following post is written by Beth Seversen. Do you see how it relates to Chicken Evangelism?

Beth Seversen is the denominational leader for evangelism in the Evangelical Covenant Church and a Billy Graham Research Scholar. Beth is currently pursuing a doctorate in Intercultural Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. She is researching emerging adults and the factors that make churches effective reaching them.

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Two critical ways evangelism can adapt to cultural shifts.

This post is part of a series called Amplifying Evangelism. Don’t miss the Amplify Conference on evangelism, June 28-30 at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois.

History recounts numerous missional movements that have sought to reach people far from God through cultural accommodation. The Jesuit mission to China and St. Patrick’s Celtic way of evangelism are two examples of how the missionary church practiced cultural adaptation to further God’s mission.

George Hunter’s 2010 work on the Celtic mission informs us that Patrick and his men engaged the Celtic imagination in presenting the gospel through the creative arts of story and song and drama, adapting their mission to pagan culture to induce Celtic awakening. Similarly, to be effective in the contemporary world, evangelism methodologies in the West are adapting to Western culture shifts. Here are two examples.

Encounter vs. Information

Effective evangelism emphasizes experience over information in an increasingly post-Christian and postmodern context. In previous generations, evangelism methods appealed to reason and then called for a commitment to Christ based on a logical presentation of the gospel.

Some missional communities reverse the order today and find translating the gospel to contemporary cultures is more fruitful when an encounter with God precedes explanation about God. In such contexts, non-Christians are led to experience God before receiving a download of information about God.

Experiencing God may take the form of emotional healing from harm imposed by others or from personal addiction. For instance, Christians ministering at Burning Man (a self-expression and arts festival that annually draws some 60,000 people, many of them millennials) adapt the cultural tools of the festival to reach “Burners” through encounter.

Burning Man is an experimental society and participants dabble in everything from drug-induced altered states of consciousness—often associated with artistic creativity—to consciousness-raising projects. Personal and global transformation are explicit goals of Burning Man, as is taking responsibility in working toward a greater future.

Christian groups at Burning Man provide a “menu” of spiritual experiences to festival participants who show up at their camps. Dream interpretation and heart “massage” are popular among young adult Burners who encounter God through healing and listening prayer while believers help them identify their spiritual blockages, unresolved wounds, brokenness and addictions.

Scripts vs. Spiritual Conversations

Similar to the previous generation’s evangelism methodology of information download, in the past people often relied on formulaic presentations of the gospel. Evangelistic scripts like “The Four Spiritual Laws” and “Steps to Peace with God” were found to be evangelistically fruitful.

The previous Christian generation might assume that their non-Christian audience shared their belief and trust in absolute facts, observations and logic, and therefore tended to approach evangelism with argumentation, evidence and reason. Those assumptions are not always accurate today.

Cultural observers note that as culture shifts to more postmodern ways of thinking, non-Christian audiences no longer assume there is absolute truth, but that truth is biased and facts are socially constructed based on assumption.

What’s more, people today are less interested in being “taught” when they can become “experts” by educating themselves through the Internet. Popular culture emphasizes discovery, journey and narrative over apologetics, debate and persuasion. Today, fruitful evangelism looks more like story than propositional truth, telling God’s story and explaining how our own story fits in with God’s larger mission.

Significantly, younger generations don’t want a script or even a verse—but they do want to converse! Recent studies by Pew Research Center and the American Religious Identification Survey on the “Rise of the Nones” assure us that even those who are religiously unaffiliated generally still believe in God, pray frequently, enjoy community and often care about significant causes like human trafficking—providing plenty of opportunities for relational evangelism and spiritual conversations.

Encounter and story are two ways evangelism is effectively adapting to contemporary culture.

 

6 Most Influential Evangelism Sites

Influential Evangelism Sites

Influential Evangelism Sites

What are the Top 6 Most Influential Evangelism Sites in My Life? Most of us need help with personal evangelism. If you are like “most of us,” try one or more of these sites. If you’re stuck in regard to personal evangelism, I especially recommend the first or the last of the six.

Evantell.org

Alongside the giants in this list, most people have never heard of Evantell. Yet they highly impacted my life and understanding of evangelism. First, they defined the gospel for me like no one else. Based on 1 Corinthians 15:1-6:  “Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead.” Second, Evantell taught me how to biblically pray for the lost.

 

 

Campus Crusade

Thank God for Bill Bright. In the 1960’s the hottest training team around was Campus Crusade for Christ. I gained from the training and led numbers of students to Christ. Campus Crusade has expended and adapted to change over the years. Some people may try to tell us, the “old” approach doesn’t work anymore, but don’t let that throw you off. The Four Spiritual Laws still work. The online presence is now called “cru,’ and can be located at cru.org.

 

Luis Palau

Luis Palau led an area wide evangelistic campaign in the Quad Cities (Moline, Davenport, Rock island and Bettendorf) some years ago. One line from Dr. Palau’s training  may have wavered, but never left me. “Lord, stamp eternity on my eyelids.” Go to luispalau.org

 

Billy Graham

Influential because it’s always been there as long as I can remember.  Yet,  I’m including Billy Graham on this list of influential evangelism sites for a peculiar and very current reason. Their follow-up tracts (which appear to be a knock-off of the Four Spiritual Laws) fit into my wallet better than any other. How often I have witnessed with a man and then had no tract to leave in his hand. If you want a good wallet-sized tract, Go to BillyGraham.org.

 

Outreach Magazine

This is a newcomer to my list. I include it primarily because of the articles by Thom Rainier. Well worth listening to. This author is one of the foremost evangelism and church growth thinkers today. You can access them at Outreachmagazine.com

 

 

Chicken Evangelism

Do you think I’m joking? Not on your life! Stories impact. This is an influential evangelism site because it tells simple stories of personal evangelism. Where else can you find so many stories of personal evangelism? Or any stories for that matter? I did a search of the top 100 evangelism sites on google. I was trying to find examples – stories, if you will – of personal evangelism. I found only one site in the top 100 with an example of personal evangelism. Many sites talk about evangelism and tell how to do it, but ChickenEvangelism.com  inspires by example.

 

Have you got a site that is actually helping lead people to salvation in personal evangelism? Pass it on in the comment section.

 

If you have led someone to salvation by means of personal evangelism, let the world know. Inspire others by telling your story.

 

 

Fun to Witness 1

Fun to Witness

Fun to Witness

In Seattle I was trying to buy gas at a Costco store.  Unfortunately, my card didn’t work.  An attendant came over and offered to help.  With his instructions, the gas began to flow and I was left for the 3 minute fill with a helpful attendant.

“Have you received Jesus Christ into your life?” I queried.  “Yes, I have!” came his cheery response.  “And this job is a result of my faith.  I was out of work and needed a job.  God answered my prayers and this job suddenly popped open.  They selected me and I really enjoy what I’m doing.  I get to help people like you all day long.”

“That’s great,” I remarked.  ”Your faith really shows.”  He helped me in my moment of need and I was able to encourage him.  We parted with the happy satisfaction of being friends and brothers.

Chicken evangelism is just plain fun!

Workers in the Harvest

image of gloucester docks

Workers in the Harvest

Editors Note: Brian from England is one of the workers in the harvest who will have his reward in heaven. I greatly respect Brian for his faithfulness. He volunteers regularly to bring the gospel, including healing to street people. You can learn more about him at his website. I am publishing Brian’s post here for a good reason: Many, many people are ready to receive Jesus Christ as Savior when they hear the gospel from someone who cares about them. Jesus said, “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.”

I was at the local docks area (pictured above) where we had a team offering to pray for people – for healing or whatever their need was. We serve together as part of a team of workers in the harvest. One woman went for prayer, so I was directed to chat to her husband who was waiting a few yards away. He told me he was into “Mindfulness”, which is all the current rage here in the UK. Sadly, it leaves God out of the equation, as I indicated to him.

He was obviously reviewing his life, as he admitted to me. I was able to share the gospel in some detail, plus share a lot of my personal testimony, including the time Jesus appeared in my bedroom. He was quite keen to hear what I had to say, and thanked me for sharing. As his wife came over to join him I gave him my card and encouraged him to check out my website New Christian UK.

After they left one of our team said that the wife had given her life to Christ during the 10 minute period she was there. Praise God! Great example of chicken evangelism! Bring up Christ before you chicken out.

 

Chicken Evangelism Breakthrough

Tom Lee recently experienced a chicken evangelism breakthrough. He led a man to salvation through Christ Jesus!

Who’s tom Lee? He serves as an elder in The Church of the Living Water in Muscatine. He also teaches music in the Durant Public School system. Perhaps there’s never been a more faithful servant of God than Tom. An exaggeration? Perhaps, but not by much.  Tom is an example of one who loves God and loves people. He spends time with the Lord, prays regularly, and sacrificially serves old and young.

In spite of all of Tom’s virtues, one quality has eluded him in his life and ministry — soul-winning. He has had a strong hand in discipling, training and helping many find their destiny in Christ. Yet, like many mature believers, this matter of reaping souls for the Kingdom of God has eluded him. I have heard Tom pray aloud many times that God would open his mouth, that he would speak boldly, and that he would make the gospel clear, as he ought (Ephesians 6:19 and 20).

Despite Tom’s hopes and prayers, the requests for souls continued to go unanswered. Tom stated, “I saw no fruit at all” from those prayers. Perhaps the same experience may be true for many believers.

But now things have changed! Tom found a chicken evangelism breakthrough! Watch the video to hear his story. It begins as Tom tells his concern for a man named Ryan.

 

 

 

 

God is faithful to answer prayer!

 

 

Benjamin’s Story

Flag of Benjamin

Flag of the Czech Republic

 

Benjamin is a young man from the Czech Republic. He’s strong, vibrant, a real go-getter. My wife met him in his home country and invited him to come to the States to visit us. He came sporting a mohawk haircut and wearing a black leather jacket complete with silver spikes.

We enjoyed each other and Benjamin helped around the house and on the farm.

After about one week Benjamin and our son Matthew met. They are about the same age so they hit it off well. Benjamin and some people from church conversed. It seems a couple of the church people asked Benjamin, “Have you received Jesus Christ into your life?” I don’t know what he answered, but he came home and asked, “What does it mean to receive Jesus Christ?”

I did my best to explain, but limited my answer to let him muse over the question.

On their second visit together our son Matthew must have given a clear explanation of the gospel.  Here’s how I know.

I will never forget the moment. I was standing by the gate in front of our barn. Benjamin walked directly to me and said, “I just want you to know I received Jesus Christ into my life.”

I was so happy for him — saved for all eternity! (I was also happy for our son Matthew.)

Benjamin stayed in our home for about 8 weeks before returning to the Czech Republic. What follows is Benjamin’s first email letter after spending time at his home. Note: Benjamin feels strong in Christ and likes to be called “Samson!”

Does Chicken Evangelism work? Read the letter and judge for yourself.

Hello Mark,

Today I would like to send greetings to You, Kari and rest of your family.

God is good and whoever believes is becoming good too.

Life is getting nice here at house of my family, Me and my Mother, we have spoke about Christ few times. Siblings are getting more tolerant, helpful and lovely at all. Yesterday Rachel [sister] told Me about my faith that it’s really beautiful. – Amen.

My belief is strong and getting stronger new projects are coming even without hunting them, God is opening doors everywhere.

There is still only one lord over my life. 🙂 Jesus is showing right way even when it’s getting harder so I am quite sure that eternal life is working out. 🙂

Love in Christ, Samson.

Denver Broncos Kicker Jason Elam (Retired) Endorses One For Israel

Interested in Israel?

Have you ever thought, “How can I genuinely bless Israel?” Consider this short video from Jason Elam.

How Chicken Evangelism Works

How Chicken Evangelism Works

How Chicken Evangelism Works

How chicken evangelism works may be different every time. What it means is share Christ before you chicken out. Here’s one experience.

I dropped my mouse. (Not a pet mouse, you know, but the computer kind.) Anyway, my mouse broke and I needed a new one.

Radio Shack summoned. While there I bought a replacement, paid for it, and walked toward the door. The clerk who helped me choose the new Logitech mouse was sitting at his desk near the door.

“Have a nice day,” he volunteered as I neared the exit.

“Thanks, you too. And thanks for helping me with the mouse.”

“No problem.”

Then it gently hit me. I don’t exactly know what hit me, but without thinking, I asked his name.

“Lucas*.” He returned.

“Oh, that’s a Bible name. Have you received Jesus Christ into your life?”

“No. I have not.” He spoke with a definite tone giving me the impression he had considered the matter and decided against it. Nevertheless, he continued matter-of-factly, “I was raised a Lutheran, went to a Lutheran school. I had too many questions they couldn’t answer.”

“I too was raised a Lutheran,” I said quietly. “ I learned a few things.” At the mention of a “few things,” he gave a faint smile. I didn’t feel it necessary to tell him I am a graduate of Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul and own a Master’s Degree from that institution.

“I’ll be leaving in less than a minute, but I have something meaningful to pass on before I go.” Lucas looked interested.

“Jesus Christ died for our sins — I probably have more of those than you. He died for our sins, and He rose again from the dead. He is offering a free gift. We can receive Him and His free gift of salvation like a child receives a gift from his father. “

“Would you be willing to receive the gift in child-like faith?’ I was moved as I asked. I sensed an anointing. God was letting me see how chicken evangelism works.

I was a little surprised when he responded, “Yes, I would.” Only 30 seconds earlier his defenses were up. Now, after hearing the gospel, his defenses were non-existent. The gospel has it’s own power!

“Ask Jesus Christ into your life like a little child. When He comes inside, He works from the inside out.”

“I will,” he repeated and gave another faint smile.

“I hope to see you again, Lucas*. If I do, I’ll ask what happened and how’s it going. Bye for now.”

Just think. If Lucas* does just what he said he’d do, his name will be indelibly engraved in heaven, and his sin will be forgiven. Jesus will come inside and guide him. Eternity and earth will both be different.

Some people think it can’t happen like this. But I know it can and does. Read some stories. Furthermore, I didn’t change right away after I received Christ. I was still a case to make heaven and earth fall to their knees and weep. (Oh, my poor mother and brother and sister!)

The gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith. If there is anything I’ve learned, it’s this. Make the gospel clear.

If you have a story of how chicken evangelism works, post it in the comment box. If I can lead someone to Christ, so can you. Just ask, “Have you received Jesus Christ into your life?” And for God’s sake, give ‘em the gospel!

Chicken Evangelism at Its Finest

Personal Evangelism

Chicken Evangelism–Bring Up Christ before You Chicken Out

Today we made a man cry. Not in sorrow, not in joy, but because God moved on his heart.

My wife and I were Christmas shopping at the mall in Iowa City. (Yes, I know it’s January, but Kari is a great bargain hunter. We were buying presents – pajamas for the whole family — for next Christmas while they’re on sale now. While checking out at the counter, we fell into conversation with the young man who seemed to be the store manager.

“What’s your name?”

“My name is Jason*, but I have a nickname too.”

“OK, what’s your nickname?”

“They’ve called me ‘Ironman’ for the past 6 years. I dress up as Ironman and do fundraisers. My favorite fundraiser is ‘Save the Children.’”

“Like pro-life?” my wife asked.

“Yup, that’s my favorite.”

“You sound like you’re a believer. Have you received Jesus Christ into your life?” I asked.

“Yes, I did. But I’ll be honest with you. I’ve given up on Him.”

“Oh, how’s that? Tell us more.”

“Too many bad things happened. The last time I prayed, my grandmother died. I didn’t want to pray anymore, cuz I didn’t want any more people to die.”

“I really appreciate your honesty. I can tell you’ve really been tested.”

“Yeah.”

We talked on a bit more as he was folding our pajamas. After listening, I wanted to give him hope and encouragement.

“Are you reading your Bible?”

“No, I don’t read it at all right now. I just can’t. I want to get back. I’m trying. I’m doing everything in my power to get back, but I just can’t do it right now.”

After listening for awhile, I wanted to encourage him.

“Here’s what helps me. Reading the Bible, going to church, and getting filled with the Holy Spirit including talking in tongues.”

Kari interjected, “We know a really good pastor here in town. He’s Brad Sherman and the church is called Solid Rock Church.”

“After we go, my wife and I will pray for you,” I said as we picked up our purchases and nodded toward the door.
At this the man started wiping his face. His tears flowed freely and His voice was cracking.

“You are the second people who have made me cry today,” he said. He stopped everything and was unashamedly pouring out his soul to us, total strangers moments before, but now heart-felt confidants.

“Thank you so much for talking with me,” he said as he stuck out his hand for us to grasp.

We left. Shortly outside the store, we stopped in the mall corridor and prayed for this tender-hearted man. With such a gentle spirit, we suspect he’s called into ministry.

I’m so glad for Chicken Evangelism. Chicken Evangelism simply means to share Christ before you chicken out. We continually marvel at how open people are. People want to talk about their faith.

Chicken Evangelism — It’s the call to adventure!

Have you got a personal evangelism story? Share it in the contact box. Thanks.

Chicken Evangelism — Brian Leads a Carryout Worker to Christ

Here’s an example of Chicken Evangelism. Brian Dobony tells the story of how he went to the grocery store for food. The carryout worker ends up taking the Bread of Life.

 

Way to go, Brian!

Some people — more than we know — are prepared by the Holy Spirit to receive Christ as Savior. Jesus brought many into the kingdom on His first encounter with them. Let’s take faith and do what Jesus did. A revival of personal evangelism is already going on!