How Will You Promote Reach and Spiritual Awareness?

dereko@saddleback.com
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How Will You Promote Reach and Spiritual Awareness?

Postby dereko@saddleback.com » Fri May 04, 2018 12:04 pm


kenthall5@gmail.com
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Postby kenthall5@gmail.com » Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:45 pm

The symbolism that Steve gives us in the illustration of the front door in relation to the church’s evangelism is vivid. It presents a new vision for evangelism for me. He is saying that evangelism is simply inviting others into the safety and security of your home, that is, Christianity. If we could find a way to offer this perspective to others, then it would be less threatening to them and they may realize that it is offered in a caring way for them.

On the other hand, since I also work as a sheriff’s chaplain, I realize that opening a front door does not always mean safety and security. When it is a home which you are not familiar with, the “safe place” may be on the outside. Terror may lurk just on the other side of that door. Many non-Christians probably see church from this perspective. Our culture often presents it in this way. As the church, how can we change this perspective so that “outsiders” will want to come in?

I know that part of the answer to this question comes from getting those in the church to understand that the church is not the building. Inviting them to come in the front door does not mean walking in the front door of the church, but to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. For this reason, I would probably not use this metaphor with my church. Being a long-standing traditional church, the walls have become too important to many of them. I believe that is part of the reason that Sunday school Bible study is preferred to them. It is in the safety and security of the walls of the church building.

cas.sufficool@gmail.com
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Postby cas.sufficool@gmail.com » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:29 am

Question thirteen here is a question that instantly stirs the thoughts of intentionality. To reach people and to get other spiritual aware, it takes intentionality. How can we plan to reach people if we are not intentional about putting effort into sharing Jesus? How can we promote spiritual awareness if we are not intentional with speaking about spiritual things?

In the video Steve focuses on this intentionality as well. He says, “we don’t often think of all the ways God has increased our territory,” and I believe he is right. We can often fall into the trap of routine that lulls us into complacency; when we get into this trap of complacency, we stop being intentional about putting our time and energy into reaching others. Without intentionality our desire to reach fades and our consistency in bringing others to a deeper spiritual awareness to their need for God lessens.

Steve mentions 1st Corinthians chapter three as he explains the necessity to be intentional about defining evangelism. As he talks about this, I can reflect on the benefit of making sure the church knows there are different times for everything under the sun. As evangelism is promoted, reminding people that they have to plant and water for the harvest to come forth is a great reminder to be intentional with how to reach others. I appreciate Steve bringing this point into the discussion.

kenthall5@gmail.com
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Re: Rockbridge Student

Postby kenthall5@gmail.com » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:37 pm

cas.sufficool@gmail.com wrote:
> Question thirteen here is a question that instantly stirs the thoughts of
> intentionality. To reach people and to get other spiritual aware, it takes
> intentionality. How can we plan to reach people if we are not intentional
> about putting effort into sharing Jesus? How can we promote spiritual
> awareness if we are not intentional with speaking about spiritual things?
>
> In the video Steve focuses on this intentionality as well. He says, “we
> don’t often think of all the ways God has increased our territory,” and I
> believe he is right. We can often fall into the trap of routine that lulls
> us into complacency; when we get into this trap of complacency, we stop
> being intentional about putting our time and energy into reaching others.
> Without intentionality our desire to reach fades and our consistency in
> bringing others to a deeper spiritual awareness to their need for God
> lessens.
>
> Steve mentions 1st Corinthians chapter three as he explains the necessity
> to be intentional about defining evangelism. As he talks about this, I can
> reflect on the benefit of making sure the church knows there are different
> times for everything under the sun. As evangelism is promoted, reminding
> people that they have to plant and water for the harvest to come forth is a
> great reminder to be intentional with how to reach others. I appreciate
> Steve bringing this point into the discussion.
Chad,
Your question of, “How can we promote spiritual awareness if we are not intentional with speaking about spiritual things?” reminds me of a conversation I had many years ago shortly after becoming a Christian. I was experiencing that “new fire” of the Spirit. I was talking with a lady who was facing difficulties in life one evening outside a friend’s house. The reason I remember it is because of a statement she made to me. “I guess we’ll talk about God since after everything I say, you eventually bring the conversation back to God.” I don’t remember my speech being intentionally spiritual, but when your heart is on fire with the Lord, that’s where conversation goes.

You are correct about complacency. When we lose focus on who we are as Christians, it is easy to fall back into the ways of the world. We lose focus on what it means to be lost. We lose sight of the eternal in exchange for the temporal.

I have done sermons on that passage in 1 Corinthians 3. My last church was small enough that I handed out pots, soil, and seeds and had them take those home and plant and water them as a practical example. God makes it grow. Even further, I see the last part of verse eight, “…each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” God is watching how many seeds we plant and water. That makes me more aware of my actions.

janetporter@sandyplains.org
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Postby janetporter@sandyplains.org » Thu Nov 29, 2018 3:03 am

I love the illustration that Steve shares, "farming to the fence line". I know that I can easily forget about all of the resources that God has given me to reach others with the Gospel. I also know that I do not utilize all of the various talents that are inside our church. I like the idea that Steve gives to have group members list their talents and spend time in prayer asking God to reveal ways that their talents can be used. It seems that this would also help the group members learn more about each other.

In the video Steve asked, "How are we teaching them to reach people in these circles?" and "Are we teaching them about planting and watering?". These are questions that I would love to discuss with staff and leaders in our church, using the circle chart on p.183. Maybe, if more people wrote down names of real people, they would be more aware of the many moments that God gives us to do evangelism. I hear people talking often in church about planting seeds, but I do not think I have heard much teaching about how to do it. I only hear people wanting to know how many souls were saved. Perhaps we would profit more from asking the question, "What did you do to connect or build a relationship?".

Steve also said, "The nonbelievers we're supposed to be reaching aren't spending their time at church, so if Christians spend all their available time at church, how are we going to build relationships with non-Christians?". I have often said that I would love to have some non-Christian friends and encourage others to do the same. Anyone have tools/resources to encourage group members to be intentional about building relationships with non-Christian friends?

kenthall5@gmail.com
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Re: Rockbridge Student

Postby kenthall5@gmail.com » Fri Nov 30, 2018 2:31 pm

janetporter@sandyplains.org wrote:
> I love the illustration that Steve shares, "farming to the fence
> line". I know that I can easily forget about all of the resources that
> God has given me to reach others with the Gospel. I also know that I do not
> utilize all of the various talents that are inside our church. I like the
> idea that Steve gives to have group members list their talents and spend
> time in prayer asking God to reveal ways that their talents can be used. It
> seems that this would also help the group members learn more about each
> other.
>
> In the video Steve asked, "How are we teaching them to reach people in
> these circles?" and "Are we teaching them about planting and
> watering?". These are questions that I would love to discuss with
> staff and leaders in our church, using the circle chart on p.183. Maybe, if
> more people wrote down names of real people, they would be more aware of
> the many moments that God gives us to do evangelism. I hear people talking
> often in church about planting seeds, but I do not think I have heard much
> teaching about how to do it. I only hear people wanting to know how many
> souls were saved. Perhaps we would profit more from asking the question,
> "What did you do to connect or build a relationship?".
>
> Steve also said, "The nonbelievers we're supposed to be reaching
> aren't spending their time at church, so if Christians spend all their
> available time at church, how are we going to build relationships with
> non-Christians?". I have often said that I would love to have some
> non-Christian friends and encourage others to do the same. Anyone have
> tools/resources to encourage group members to be intentional about building
> relationships with non-Christian friends?
Janet,
Steve’s metaphor of “Farming to the fence line” also gave me a vision. It came into my vision of the front door. Once people come to the “front door” of faith in Christ, what is there in our church? Do we really expand to fill the territory that Jesus has given us? In most churches, I would say the answer is no. As a pastor, I have to ask myself why. Do church members not understand God’s kingdom, or do they not care? It is probably a little of both.

Your question about how to encourage group members to cultivate non-Christian friends is very important in evangelism. People tend to gravitate toward others like themselves. It’s where they feel comfortable. However, I find that most people have lives that take them to many varied groups of people and our culture tells them not to talk about religion. Perhaps the answer is to train Christians to ignore our cultural “norms” and obey the Spirit of God when He works around them to bring them into those situations with non-Christians. I find that there are many nonbelievers that are quite similar to me, that is, the “me” before I accepted the Lord. With them I can open up about my testimony.

It is interesting that you mention that there is not much teaching about planting and watering seeds in the church. My guess is that it is because that is not a popular topic. Several times I have done Sunday evenings (and mornings) about the “how to” of evangelism. The interest level was very low. Again, the question arises, “Why?” Are people scared or do they just not care? Perhaps “not my job” would be the answer for some. These are all obstacles we face as leaders.

janetporter@sandyplains.org
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Rockbridge Student

Postby janetporter@sandyplains.org » Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:21 am

Kent,
Again you have shed light on my church without even seeing it! Thanks for your insight into Steve's front door illustration. I agree that not every "home" door promises safety on the other side. Our culture, and us a as Christians, has made the church into an uncomfortable place to enter sometimes. When this is the case, I think we need to meet the people where they are and build a relationship first. It definitely feels more comfortable walking into a friend's home verses a stranger's home. So, if we are making friends then our church's front door becomes more inviting.

As a sheriff's chaplain, do you think that you have a better understanding about how non-Christian feel walking into the church as a stranger's home? This is a helpful analogy and I am curious if you have ever thought about this.

janetporter@sandyplains.org
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Rockbridge Student

Postby janetporter@sandyplains.org » Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:07 am

Chad,
Thanks for pointing out Steve's comment on how God is increasing our territory. I have never thought of it that way. As we move because of jobs and meet new people in the community, God expands our reach. I believe that you are correct when you say we have become complacent about our interactions. We have allowed our lives and things that we have to do get in the way of our first job as Christians, the Great Commission. Intentionality is key. Satan does his job well by keeping us distracted with things that have no eternal effect. It's a real struggle and one that is so hard to instill in others, even Christians.

How do we teach people to intentionally build relationships with others? This requires time and sacrifice and vulnerability. It seems that we are asking them to choose between everyday tasks/jobs that put food on the table or spend extra time pouring into people. Perhaps we should help them focus on their one person to pour into, which would take two of their 168 hours every week. Eventually these meetings of two could turn into a meeting of four people. If each person committed to their one person, our reach would expand greatly.

reidsmith777@gmail.com
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Re: How Will You Promote Reach and Spiritual Awareness?

Postby reidsmith777@gmail.com » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:05 pm

Great dialogue everyone! I've found that without intentionality, things slide toward complacency and one of the first areas compromised is personal evangelism. I think that's why "people self-report that the most deficient area in their lives is evangelism" as Steve notes on p. 180. This, however, presents the greatest opportunity for groups where spiritual friendships help us to "be strong in courageous" in ways that we wouldn't otherwise do without the encouragement of other believers around us. In helping people "to recognize every outreach opportunity God puts in their lives" (cf. p. 181), I've encouraged group leaders to take the following steps:
Turning your group’s attention to lost people during your time of discussion and prayer.
Telling members that you would LOVE for them to invite people they know to your group.
Thinking together about how your group can share God’s grace with spiritually empty people.
Traveling to locations beyond the home where you meet, e.g. hold your study in a public space or go on a mission trip together.
Transitioning your group into new seasons of study by empowering people to look after different aspects of your group’s life together or handing off more responsibility to a person who could co-lead with you. This will prepare your group to multiply so that more people can be impacted by the love and message of Jesus Christ.

kenthall5@gmail.com
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Re: How Will You Promote Reach and Spiritual Awareness?

Postby kenthall5@gmail.com » Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:35 pm

reidsmith777@gmail.com wrote:
> Great dialogue everyone! I've found that without intentionality, things
> slide toward complacency and one of the first areas compromised is personal
> evangelism. I think that's why "people self-report that the most
> deficient area in their lives is evangelism" as Steve notes on p. 180.
> This, however, presents the greatest opportunity for groups where spiritual
> friendships help us to "be strong in courageous" in ways that we
> wouldn't otherwise do without the encouragement of other believers around
> us. In helping people "to recognize every outreach opportunity God
> puts in their lives" (cf. p. 181), I've encouraged group leaders to
> take the following steps:
> Turning your group’s attention to lost people during your time of
> discussion and prayer.
> Telling members that you would LOVE for them to invite people they know to
> your group.
> Thinking together about how your group can share God’s grace with
> spiritually empty people.
> Traveling to locations beyond the home where you meet, e.g. hold your study
> in a public space or go on a mission trip together.
> Transitioning your group into new seasons of study by empowering people to
> look after different aspects of your group’s life together or handing off
> more responsibility to a person who could co-lead with you. This will
> prepare your group to multiply so that more people can be impacted by the
> love and message of Jesus Christ.
Reid,
Thanks for the great ideas for getting the group to reach out! I especially like the third one, holding your study in public places. I suspect there would be some resistance since that is not in the group's comfort zone, but that's all the more reason to do it!

The last one, empowering others, is one that I have tried. It works well when you find someone who is committed enough and able to do so. I might be too much of a perfectionist and get disappointed when they do it poorly or just don't end up doing it at all. I'll have to pray about that.


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