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Going Public with Your Faith Participant's GuideBecoming a Spiritual Influence at Work
By William Carr Peel Walt Larimore Stephen Sorenson Amanda Sorenson
ZondervanCopyright © 2004 William Carr Peel and Walt Larimore
All right reserved.
Evangelism is not an event but a relational process, and God has gifted each of us to play a critical role in drawing men and women to himself.
1. When you hear the word evangelism, what thoughts, feelings, or personal experiences come to mind?
2. What is your definition of evangelism?
3. What do you think makes evangelism successful or unsuccessful?
4. What role do you believe the local church should play in evangelism? How effective is it in that role?
We want our lives to count
God's distribution plan
The process of evangelism versus the event of conversion
Discovering God's job for us in the evangelism process
1. What did you think about when Bill and Walt mentioned at the beginning of the video that we shouldn't expect non-Christians to come to us, that Scripture teaches us to bring Christ to people?
2. As you watched the water cooler scenes, what did you learn about yourself and the way you go about the process of evangelism?
3. Walt Larimore made a clear distinction between the process of evangelism and the event of conversion when someone "prays the prayer." Why is this distinction important for us to understand?
4. Why are relationships such an important part of the evangelism process?
Evangelism: God's Distribution Method
Of all the methods the Creator of the universe could have used to spread the gospel throughout the world, he chose to use ordinary Christians from all walks of life-the kind of men and women we meet as we go about daily life. God didn't handpick superstars to take his message to the world. Instead, he chose you and me to have a vital role in drawing spiritually needy people to himself. But how does God want us to distribute his message? What exactly is our role and what does the process look like? Let's see what the Bible says.
1. How do we know God wants those of us who are his followers to share his message with the world around us? (Read Acts 1:1-8, particularly verse 8.)
2. Why is it so important for other people that we be witnesses of God's message of salvation? (See Revelation 20:11-15.)
3. What role does sharing our faith play in our spiritual health? (See Philemon 6.)
4. The Bible provides plenty of instruction in how we are to go about being the witnesses God wants us to be in our world. Let's consider a few key Scripture passages that will help us better understand our role as God's witnesses.
a. One day Jesus told a parable about a farmer sowing seed in different types of soil and later explained the parable to his disciples. It turns out that the parable was about evangelism-how people receive the message of his kingdom! Read Matthew 13:1-8, 18-23 and notice the emphasis Jesus places on the whole process of evangelism, not just an abundant harvest. What does Jesus' teaching reveal about people's responses to the "seed" of his Word?
b. Just as Jesus did, the apostle Paul often used an agrarian model to illustrate his teaching about evangelism. What key points do we learn about our role in the evangelism process from Paul's instruction in 1 Corinthians 3:5-9?
c. What did Jesus say to his disciples about the tasks of preparing for and reaping a spiritual harvest? (See John 4:35-38.)
5. Now that we have highlighted the scriptural teaching on evangelism, let's take a look at event-oriented evangelism (the method with which we may be most familiar) and consider how it differs from process-oriented evangelism.
The greatest privilege in the world-being part of someone's journey to Jesus-can begin with something as simple as having a cup of coffee with a colleague, listening compassionately when a customer shares why she has had a rough week, or doing something beyond the call of duty for a boss or employee who's under stress.
Evangelism as an Event
Views evangelism as a point in time when a person recites the gospel message and encourages non-Christians to "pray the prayer" and place their faith in Jesus.
Tends to focus on the actions of the person who is "witnessing." May employ standardized, assertive, and sometimes intrusive methods of evangelism.
Can make people apprehensive about telling others about Jesus due to fear of failure or guilt feelings if the results are minimal.
Evangelism as a Process
Views evangelism as a process, much like farming, that cultivates hearts, plants spiritual seeds, and nurtures their growth.
Recognizes that God typically uses a number of people to draw a person toward a relationship with Jesus. Each witness in the process seeks to discover what God is doing in a person's life, then employs his or her natural gifts and abilities to join in that effort.
Creates joy and enthusiasm as people realize how God can use them as one link in a chain of people who help non-Christians discover Jesus and take incremental steps toward faith in him.
Excerpted from Going Public with Your Faith Participant's Guide by William Carr Peel Walt Larimore Stephen Sorenson Amanda Sorenson Copyright © 2004 by William Carr Peel and Walt Larimore. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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