Monday, February 20, 2017

State of the Church

Real Friendships as an Evangelistic Tool

Our deep friendships (aka 'fellowship') can be a tremendous means of doing some very powerful evangelism. In saying this I am making an assumption. Because of the rapid shifts in our culture, people's lives are not working well and they are becoming increasingly aware of that. Quite apart from any sociological studies, we know this happens because the further that people move away from living based on some sort of biblical standards the further they move from reality. And lives based on something other than God's reality will not work.

In the days of my youth, our culture was by no means Christian, but there were certain Christian notions about living that were generally accepted. That is no longer the case. Take marriage for one example. People without a shred of Christian belief will still benefit when they have long-term, faithful marriages, something one time commonly enjoyed. Consider the damage that divorce and promiscuity cause these days.

So, how do we do evangelism in this cultural context? It isn't by the old methods of going door to door or by using little booklets. Today, we broadcast the Gospel first by leading lives that work, by becoming increasingly whole people. Over time, as their lives aren't working and they see that ours are, we will draw them to Jesus.

But this way of doing evangelism won't work without our being a community of really good friends. That's true because, first of all, we cannot develop into whole people without the aid of the group. That's one reason Jesus has a Church. And second, we need to invite those people who will become interested in the Gospel into a group of people who are really there for each other. Our witness is not just individual but also corporate. Being really good friends ('fellowship') is an evangelistic tool.

Next time: Changing the world?

This is from a series of bulletin inserts that I wrote for my church.

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