Ten Things Learned:
- Evangelism is both an event and a process. That is, the “event” of evangelism is only a meager yet necessary seed to be planted in the process of evangelism.
- Three strand evangelism seems like a more holistic way: a) Building relationships; b) Sharing the Gospel; c) Introducing people to community.
- One of the greatest apologetics for the Gospel of Christ, is “a community that embodies the gospel in missional form, a church that invites unbelievers and skeptics into an unpretentious community of imperfect, winsome believers who are laboring to renew their communities and cities socially and spiritually in and through the gospel of Christ.” (Also, see Jn 13.35)
- The gospel must address not only the spiritual needs of a person, it must also include its own relevance for the psychological, emotional, and bodily needs of the whole person and the whole community in which the recipient inhabits.
- Being a witness for Christ and the Gospel is not (merely) my assignment; it is my identity. That is, by the Spirit, I have been and continue to be transformed into a witness for Christ, so that my proclamation and incarnation of the Gospel to unbelievers around me, should naturally flow from my relatedness to the triune God who is himself missional in his very being.
- The Gospel of the Triune God is a missional Gospel. As the Father sent the Son into our world to redeem sinners, so also, the Son sent us in this world to embody and proclaim the good news with the help of the Spirit to fellow sinners.
- Every Christ follower who is serious about the practice of evangelism must also seriously engage and reflect on the study of evangelism from a solid biblical-theological and culturally contextual foundation.
- When believers aim to prize Christ as precious over all things, they are more likely to proclaim him in evangelism. When Christ is treasured above all things in one’s life, the unbeliever will then have ample reason to ask what (or, who) that person has placed his or her hope in (1 Pet 3.15).
- In order for believers to be effective in evangelism, they need to be continually renewed day in and day out, by the Spirit of God and the Word of God, through the community of faith, hope, and love (Rom 12.1-2).
- “What is required in good evangelism and theology is creative repetition” (Stephen Pickard). This means that as consistently as contexts change in which evangelistic dialogue is being engaged with someone, the believer needs to be just as creatively discerning in changing up his or her own method and language of the gospel presentation (e.g., Acts 17).
As especially reflective of # 8 above, I am daily aiming (though imperfectly) to be more intentional of my own prizing and praising of Jesus. I once heard someone say, “Do not be ashamed to tell others of Christ. He will handle his being seen.” This statement, as well, has continued to help me trust Jesus more in my dialogues and relationships with others. I cannot open blind eyes. Jesus opens blind eyes. And, along with acknowledging Jesus and in all my ways, I aim for more intentionality in communing with the triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. After all, the Gospel is the Gospel of God, a Trinitarian God. And so, my relationship with the Holy Spirit has also changed, in that I am consistently learning more about him, and asking him for his continual filling and guidance.
In light of the above continual changes in my relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, I hope that my character has been and continues to be transformed, as well. I hope to have grown into a more confident, dependent, and humble man than I used to be. The Lord is teaching me I do not have to have all the answers, but to be faithfully and joyfully obedient with all that he has taught me. Overall, as a more dependent person, I have definitely been more prayerful, too. I hope that others will more clearly see some aspects of Jesus in me more and more each year.