It’s Not Fair! by Paul Eshleman about Unreached, Unengaged People Groups

pauleshlemanI had the privilege to interview Paul Eshleman, director of Finishing The Task last week.  I got to ask him when God grabbed his heart about Unreached, Unengaged People Groups…you should listen int to what he says:

Podcast: This is Not Fair by PaulEshleman-Encompass (click link to open and play)

MP3: This is Not Fair by PaulEshleman-Encompass (click link to open and play)

 

(See also  Paul’s Article on the Unreached)

You’re Going Too Fast! by General William Booth

General William BoothFrom 1886 by Salvation Army founder William Booth

They say we go too fast! This accusation comes from all directions. Our enemies do not like our speed and our friends are afraid of it. What do they mean? If they had complained that we did not go fast enough, I could understand them. If our enemies had argued that after all we say about the evils of sin, the terrors of the Judgment Day, and the damnation of hell, we do not believe in these things ourselves, I could understand that, and feel humbled under their indictment.Blazing Speed

If our friends came together and said, “Why don’t you increase the speed? Look at the dying millions at home and abroad. You have evidently got a wonderful way of reaching the masses. You have accomplished what no other organization has. You can adapt yourselves to all peoples and countries and climates. Why don’t you push on faster? Why don’t you train more cadets-send out more officers-hunt up more criminals, drunkards and fallen women? Go faster; get up more steam!” Now, this seems to me would be the natural way of talking for both foes and friends. But no! The cry is not “Go faster” but “You go too fast!” What do they mean?

Speed is a good thing…   Read the rest here

The Truth, Adventure & Mystery of Evangelism by Ed Waken

For too long the truth, adventure, mystery and joy that comes with giving away the life of Jesus has been stolen from the ordinary believer.  We have been taught methods of sharing Jesus that feel more cold, distant and dutiful than life giving.  We have heard that just a few gifted ones will really be successful at evangelism.  This is yet another blow designed to sideline the ordinary person from engaging in the supernatural work of sharing the life of Jesus with those thirsty to taste the goodness of God.

Truth

The Truth
The great commission is often seen as Jesus’ marching orders to make disciples, which must include ongoing sharing of Jesus’ good news with those who have not yet heard.  The great commission and Jesus’ similar instructions to the twelve in Acts 1:8 were delivered directly to His twelve Apostles.  This has caused some to believe that not every follower of Jesus is responsible to engage in giving away the life of Christ; it simply is not their gift.  This is not the truth.  An often overlooked statement in the great commission instructs the Twelve to be teaching their disciples “to obey everything I have commanded you.”  The Twelve were to teach the ordinary believer to obey everything Jesus taught them including the making of disciples or being a witness to all the world.  Everyone is responsible to be intentionally sharing the life of Jesus with the world.

The truth is that the ordinary person is a competent minister of the good news (2 Cor. 3:6).  The truth is that success in evangelism should be measured by conversations about Jesus not conversions to Jesus.  Ordinary people are only responsible to tell about and demonstrate the love of Jesus.  Only Supernatural beings are responsible for the results, “I planted, Apollos watered but God was causing the growth.” (1 Cor. 3:6-7).  Everyone is an evangelizer and success is measured by obedience to share.

Adventure

The Adventure
The church needs to rediscover what has been stolen from her.  We need to give back the cold, distant and dutiful methodologies* of evangelism for the more adventurous, risky and romantic renditions that only Jesus can create and place in our souls.  The church needs some fresh adventures in understanding how Jesus is getting the message into the souls of people.  When we think about engaging people with the truth, we should capture the understanding that Jesus is a customizer of methods, not a cookie cutter.

Jesus will take a believer, with all their experiences and fears, and have them cross the paths of not-yet-believing people who are a perfect fit for the customized approach Jesus gives the believer.  This requires trust and obedience, but it is exactly what Jesus promised.  Jesus said He will give us the right words at the right time, every time (Luke 21:13-15).  This takes our faith and evangelism to a whole new level of adventure.

Mystery

The Mystery
I can count fifteen people who shared Jesus with me in some form or fashion before Ralph shared the same truth with me and my life was transformed.  Who was more important in my choosing to follow Jesus, the fifteen or Ralph?  Was Ralph more gifted or skilled or persuasive than the others?  Did Ralph ‘close the deal‘ because he has an anointing?  I believe that all sixteen who told me about Jesus were equally vital to my process of turning to Jesus.  All salvation experiences are mysterious.  Some are dramatic, some are mundane, others cannot be marked by an event.  Salvation is always a supernatural event where the God of the universe enters the life of a human being permanently.  When the rich young ruler heard what was required by Jesus to gain eternal life, he became very sad.  Jesus’ disciples asked him if a rich man can’t be saved “…then who can be saved?”.  Jesus answered, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” (Luke 18:18-27).

Enjoy the freedom of not knowing what God is doing in another soul. Enjoy that it is a mystery.  Be assured, however, that God is doing something in the souls of those with whom you share His truth.  Trust in His perfect and powerful ability to draw people to repentance in the way they need.  Obediently follow His lead, even when it doesn’t make sense; because most mysteries don’t make sense.

The bottom line regarding evangelism is to enjoy it (weird huh?).  Jesus is an artist of the soul.  He created you specifically to engage the people He brings in your life with His truth.  Enjoy His adjusting the delivery of the message to fit the current need of the one listening to your words.

If we learn to enjoy sharing the life of Jesus with others as He leads us, we will most assuredly share that life more often and with more passion.  The Scriptures teach that the more we sow, the more we will reap.  The power behind people coming to Jesus is not in any delivery, method or medium.  The power behind people coming to Jesus is always in message (Rom. 1:16).  Give away the message often and with joy and enjoy watching God at work!

 

* God can, has and will continue to use a more formal, methodological approach to giving out the Gospel.  It is not wrong to do so, however, it has robbed the fun of spiritual reproduction from the ordinary believer.  The giving out of the Word will never return without effect on the one hearing the truth.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Let me know if this is helpful to you and your church.


©2012 Ed Waken

Originally posted on Ed’s Blog here
Ed tweets @EdWaken
Used with permission.


See also:
Conversations Not Conversions – Ed Waken
Who Is In Charge?: ReTooling Leadership 1
Jesus’ Example: ReTooling Leadership 2
The Leader’s Priority: ReTooling Leadership 3
Organic Evangelism Principles
The Deal on Disciple Making – Video

Becoming Missional: We Reap What We Sow by Felicity Dale

Becoming missional: We reap what we sow

I’m reminded of a story about D.L. Moody. Someone once criticized him for the way he brought everyone to the front to respond to the Gospel.

“Well, how do you do it?” Moody asked.

The man had no answer because he wasn’t leading anyone to the Lord.

Moody’s response: “I prefer the way I do it badly to the way you don’t do it at all.”

There’s much I don’t like about the way the Gospel is preached in this country–for example, televangelism. But can I criticize if I am doing nothing myself?

John wesley small
Photo credit: Pete Reed (Creative Commons)

Another story, this time about John Wesley.

John Wesley was an itinerant evangelist traveling widely in order to preach the Gospel. One day, someone challenged him that he should only speak to people about the Lord when he sensed God prompting him. He tried it for one week. During that time he spoke to virtually no one because he never sensed the Lords’ prompting. At the end of the week he concluded this didn’t work and went back to speaking to everyone he met.

I speak to myself: we have lost the art of abundant Gospel sowing. 

The principle of sowing and reaping applies. The harvest we reap is directly proportional to the amount of seed we sow. (Obviously other factors such as quality of soil, water etc. need to be taken into account). In general, we reap little because we sow little. Are we trying to harvest in fields where little or no seed has been sown?

The International Mission Board of the Southern Baptists have produced a wonderful video called Like a Mighty WaveIt can be downloaded from their video resource section  It examines the ten common practices of movements where many people are finding Christ and many new churches are starting. One of these practices is abundant Gospel sowing.

What does it look like for us to sow abundantly in a way that fits our simple/organic principles? If we cannot do it here in our own culture, how do we expect to do it on the mission field?

-By Felicity Dale

Reposted from her blog: Simply Church here

The Evangelist Gathering notes and resources

 

 

Here’s the beginning of a RECAP Article:
Out of the dream and invitation of Kurt Miller, the first Evangelists Gathering—a gathering of evangelists from the Grace Brethren family for conversation, encouragement and movement—happened over the weekend of October 7-9, 2005. No one knows for sure, but quite possibly the last time evangelists from across our fellowship gathered in this fashion was back in 1973 for the Grow73 initiatives. Forty Grace Brethren men and women from across the United States all came together for this recent gathering. READ More HERE
Reports & Resources from the Evangelists Gathering check out the links below:
Here is the latest from thechurchplanter blog…the blog connected to thechurchplanter mini-magazine of Kurt Miller
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