Re-evangelizing with new eyes
Intro: The idea of re-anything is to look at it with new eyes. You can make re-visions, you can re-bound and you can re-focus, re-establish and practice great restoration, re-generation, that reaches a peak with revival. These are exciting times for us, we have the opportunity to re-evangelize tired old models that have reached redundancy (yes there are negative consequences to looking at things with new eyes)! If you haven’t received the invitation, I hope you read this as a resending, a recalling, a reinventing of the statement: “Love the Lord God with all your heart, soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself.” Go out into your community and re-evangelize, tell the Gospel in fresh ways by living it out.
Evangelism has gotten a bad rap in recent years for many reasons including self-destruction, hypocritical behavior and being more tell than show in the approach to working out the flow of the message, the music and the mission. “The importance of being earnest” sometimes gets ahead of the importance of cherishing relationships and that has been many a ministry downfall. There is a new tone, however, coming from leading evangelical churches, para-church ministries and even Evangelical media in recent years and it is worth noting.
From Compassion International, Habitat for Humanity and other successful ministries, there has been more of a tone of outreach than found in recent years, less personality and even less political maneuvering. Compassion and Habitat have been the leaders in reaching children and families around the world providing essential ingredients like food, shelter, health care, and meeting educational needs for children and families. “It is said,” said one ministry leader, “that when you concentrate on the basics, the other issues become redundant.” While that sounds so basic and decent it is a tone that in recent years has eluded many evangelicals.
Mega to Micro Churches in the community
When the church was beginning there were few temples that would share space and persecution of Christ followers was high. While the church itself was growing, the meeting spaces were shrinking and so many of the members met in homes. The House Church movement and the Coffee House movement comes out of the mega-church movement that brought home groups, cell groups, and life groups into helping the mega-church become more relational and community minded. “There are so many different lifestyles and complexions to 200 life groups in any given church that equip believers in studies, relationship building and outreach, that this has become the life blood of the evangelical church in the community,” a small group pastor from a large Denver church explains.
Less personality driven
In the past personalities drove evangelism and to some extent that was important for a time. Billy Graham, Promise Keepers, Dr. James Dobson and to some extent even Willow Creek’s Bill Hybels were such strong personalities that drove a breed of Christian Celebrity and Brand statements. Christian Media was a combination of air-time for pay; and Televangelists that damaged the credibility of the true message of the gospel and it’s spread to all creation in every corner of the world. “There are great teachers,” a church goer in Denver tells us, “but humility and civility are the key ingredients to Biblical, Systematic, and Evangelical Theology.” Christianity Today recently published “50 evangelical women to watch,” in an annual issue. Worship leaders are subject to Top 40 competition that for years has imitated the world industry rather than the world-wide reaching ministry. This prompted one Christian songwriter to confess, “I’m sorry Lord, for the thing I made it, it’s all about you.” Ironically that song “The Heart of Worship” became a top seller on the CCM charts.
Less of you and me and more of Him
In Evangelical Lifestyle we don’t need more preachers, fashion-lines, Top 40 media or anything else that might take the place of real relationships. Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to “Love the Lord with all your heart soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself.” These are the first steps to evangelical impact in Denver, in our nation and in our world. “If we can get those two thing right we begin to open doors of correction, challenge and change,” says a Denver area pastor. The second thing is not to get in the way of real evangelism. “If we could step out of the way of the message, catch the meaning of the song and the music, and if we could show people the mission, then we can re-define the meaning of evangelism in our community.”
A group called Breakthrough 52 which is made up of 52 leaders in industry, ministry, media, theology, education, finance and health care are launching one new idea a week in the areas of evangelism; special needs ministries, media and culture, prayer, and community building. “The message, music and mission of Jesus Christ and His Gospel are the priority,” one CEO in the group explains. “The idea of taking God’s design and applying it to start-ups, support, and sustaining everlasting ideas in the market place is exciting.” And they are doing it anonymously. “We don’t want to get in the way of the work of God the Creator, the Servant-Leadership of Jesus Christ the Son, and the Power of the Holy Spirit in the foundational life-work that these men and married couples are called to. Find out more about the new platforms that will promote and invite people to get involved in this outreach in the Wednesday Denver Media and Culture Examiner.
The Denver Evangelical Examiner writes and publishes every Monday. If you would like more information and an invitation to a meaningful House Church experience please e-mail ancientpathsdenver@juno.