12 Ways Evangelism Is Changing
You’ve heard it said the twenty-first century is markedly different from the twentieth. It’s not only because we have terrorism scares, self-driving cars, and Facebook. Church attendance is decreasing, religious Nones are increasing, and the way people view and interact with truth has changed.
Yet many Christians and churches are evangelizing as if we are still living in the twentieth century—and failing to make the unbelievable news about Jesus more believable.
Although the essence of evangelism is the gospel—the message that Jesus Christ is Lord—the task of evangelism is our human effort of proclaiming this message. This task used to primarily mean quoting Scripture, or explaining the believability of the Christian faith through clever arguments.
10 Reasons Why People Reject the Gospel
If the gospel is the “good news about Jesus,” then why do so many people reject it? If Christians bear this “good news,” how can they better share it using methods that are effective in today’s post-Christian world?
Evangelism in a Skeptical World offers actionable advice for making the unbelievable news about Jesus more believable. It also explains why people often reject this news in the first place, equipping Christians to make it more enticing to non-Christians they know.
Here are at least ten reasons why people often reject the gospel, and what you can do about it.
1) The gospel doesn’t fit their plausibility structure
Plausibility structures “are accepted beliefs, convictions, and understandings that either green-light truth claims…
What Is Evangelism?
For example, is the stay-at-home mom who helps run the play group at her church doing evangelism if she incorporates Bible stories into the craft activities? Can a play group become an evangelistic play group?
Or does evangelism only occur in more “conventional” tactics: witnessing on the street, leading large crusades? Are those the only ways the gospel of Jesus Christ can be communicated, the only way people can evangelize?
In other words: What counts as evangelism? What is evangelism?
This word evangelism carries a lot of baggage, tradition, and emotion. Furthermore, most people have been poorly equipped with evangelism methods that are no…
New Releases Today: NIV Exhaustive Bible Concordance, Talking with Catholics About the Gospel, & The Pastor’s Ministry
Today we are pleased to release several new resources that will inform and enhance your teaching or pastoral ministry. Here is a quick overview:
The NIV Exhaustive Bible Concordance, Third Edition
Only one concordance provides an exhaustive indexing of every appearance of every word in the NIV Bible: The NIV Exhaustive Bible Concordance, Third Edition. For those who don’t read biblical Greek or Hebrew, this tool unlocks the meaning of the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek words from which the NIV was translated. This feature-rich NIV concordance offers: a complete alphabetical listings for every word in the NIV; thorough dictionary-indexes that define every Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek word in the Bible; a frequency count for each original-language word and each of its English translations as they appear in the NIV Bible; a special index of articles, conjunctions, particles, prepositions, and pronouns; and the…
How Can We Share the Gospel with Catholics and Not Sound Irritating? — An Excerpt from “Talking with Catholics About the Gospel”
We have the best of intentions when sharing the good news of Jesus with someone, yet the result is a sour mixture of offense, anger, and hurt.
In Talking with Catholics about the Gospel, author Chris Castaldo shares an evangelism experience he had where he realized “I still hadn’t learned that there is a quality of communication that goes deeper than mere information — a way of speaking that conveys gentleness, even in the face of disagreement.”
Castaldo is deeply burdened to equip Evangelicals for more fruitful spiritual conversations with Catholics. His story below gets at one of the book’s central questions:
How can we preach the realities of life and death with passion and urgency, and yet not sound irritating?
Make This “The Year of Evangelism” by Rethinking and Redefining It — An Excerpt from “The Unbelievable Gospel”
In his new book The Unbelievable Gospel, Jonathan Dodson throws down a challenge for us this year:
Rethink and redefine what it means to evangelize.
His aim “is to recover a believable evangelism, one that moves beyond the cultural and personal barriers we have erected in contemporary evangelism to rediscover the power of the biblical gospel.” (14)
In order to recover a believable evangelism to share the unbelievable gospel, we need a new definition of what it means to share in the first place. In the excerpt below Dodson looks to missiologist David Bosch for help and urges us to think about and define evangelism in this way:
“Evangelism: (1) is gospel-centered, (2) is proclamation oriented, (3) calls for a response, (4) includes the church, and (5) points to…
Christianity Today’s 2015 Book Awards: The Unbelievable Gospel & The Crucified King
Each year Christianity Today announces a selection of books they feel are most likely to shape evangelical life, thought, and culture. We are pleased the editors have selected two Zondervan Academic titles for inclusion in their 2015 list.
The Unbelievable Gospel, by Jonathan Dodson, was selected as the winner of the Apologetics/Evangelism category. The Crucified King, by Jeremy Treat, received an Award of Merit for its important contribution to Theology/Ethics.
Both books represent the crop of important resources released this year by Zondervan Academic authors touching on the Bible, the church, and other perennial matters of faith. Get more information on these books below, and engage them yourself to understand why CT Magazine believes these books will impact the life of the Church next year, and in the years to come.
Apologetics/Evangelism: The Unbelievable Gospel
Jonathan Dodson’s aim in The…
Evangelicals Have Huge Problems. “Real Christian” Will Help.
(Cant’s see the video? Watch it here)
Todd Wilson, author of the new book Real Christian, believes Evangelicals face huge problems: radical secularism, revisionist sexual ethics, pluralism, skepticism of organized religion.
These are big problems, no doubt.
The biggest problem, however, is one of our own making:
We have an image problem.
“For those outside the church, Evangelicals are viewed as unChristian in their attitudes and actions.”
This underscores the Church’s need to get real. Because as Wilson says, “when the Church lacks clarity about what a real Christian is…the spiritual decline of the Church is going to follow from that.”
This book helps Evangelicals:
understand what it means to be a real Christian; know they are right with God; discern how God…
4 Reasons Not to Share Your Faith
The story below comes to us from Jonathan Dodson, who recently adapted a free eBook,”Four Reasons Not to Share Your Faith,” from his new book The Unbelievable Gospel (released 9/23/14).
Find this story and more in Dodson’s free eBook (PDF download), which you can download today at unbelievablegospel.com.
It was a typical night at the Gingerman, a low-lit, wood-paneled, leather-chaired pub in the heart of the city. I often meet here with people to talk and enjoy their company. Dave and I were there on a cool, autumn evening. We passed the crowds of people, walking the length of the bar and heading outside to the open-air beer garden. There we found a perfect spot — remote and unoccupied in the midst of a maze of communal wooden tables. Dave…
What’s Wrong with Pressure Evangelism? Everything! — An Excerpt from Jonathan Dodson’s “The Unbelievable Gospel”
After graduating college and before heading to Washington D.C. to start a new life, I worked for Cutco Cutlery.
Yes, I pressured people into buying a $1000 set of kitchen knives!
It was a miserable three months, yet it opened my eyes to an aspect of Christianity we’re often blind to: pressure evangelism.
In his new book The Unbelievable Gospel, Jonathan Dodson says my pressure sale experience is exactly how many people feel when we begin sharing our faith with them:
The pressure we feel to share the gospel doesn’t translate into the loving concern we may genuinely have for them. Instead, our compulsion bleeds through, coming across as a pressure sale, and people feel like a means to an end, a project. Even when what we say is true and we have good…
4 Reasons Why People Don’t Evangelize: Impersonal, Preachy, Intolerant, Uninformed Witness
Several years ago atheist Penn Jillette, of illusionist duo Penn and Teller, shared a sermonette with Christians about proselytizing:
If you believe that there is a heaven or hell, or that people could be going to hell, or not get eternal life, and you think it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward…how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?
Did you catch how Jillette equated not sharing the gospel with hating someone?
And yet it’s no secret evangelism has fallen on hard times. It’s a bygone word that stirs up images of forced conversations and awkward door-to-door witnessing.
Jonathan Dodson aims to change this perception…
“Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus”: The Book I Wish I Had 8 Years Ago
For a few months I worked for an upscale department store in D.C. before beginning my M.Div. program. It was a memorable work experience because it was the first time I had encountered Muslims.
There was the woman from Morocco. Ahmad, a half-Pakistani and half-Japanese young man more agnostic than devoted. And Olam, a second-generation twentysomething from Saudi Arabia whom I engaged in a handful of spiritual conversations over lunch.
I thoroughly enjoyed these friendships and interactions, yet I felt ill-prepared when it came to issues of faith. I didn’t understand Islam itself, let alone the Muslim experience, and there were few resources to equip me enter into that experience and help them find Jesus.
Nabeel Qureshi has solved this problem by writing the resource I needed. In Seeking Allah Finding Jesus, Qureshi uses his own dramatic journey from Islam to Christianity to equip us and our people to engage Muslims, walk with them through their spiritual journey, help them encounter Christianity, and find Jesus along the way.
This is the book I wish I had 8 years ago, because this book’s power lies in Qureshi’s own story. It transforms the grey-scale interfaith dialogue conversation into a full-color high-definition experience. To help us he uses his own story to share three vital elements we need to understand to help Muslims find Jesus: