Monday, July 8, 2013

The Modes of Evangelism: Ministry Witness (Part 1)

This is third of a series exploring the “modes of evangelism”.  Earlier posts have explored Body Witness and Natural Witness. This posting explores Ministry Witness.

Many people today lack either connection to a healthy community of believers for body witness or personal relationships with individual believers who will engage in natural witness. The only way for these individuals to be reached with the gospel is through intentional outreach ministry—the ministry mode of evangelism.

It is important to recognize that ministry witness is also a relational mode. But it is a different kind of relational connection than natural witness, because it occurs through the intentional ministry activity of the believer. This context has a profound influence on the style of witness, requiring openness and transparency coupled with genuine love and care. But when a ministry witness is empowered by God’s Spirit, it can have a profound impact on the lives of individuals and communities. Event-based and media outreaches can be considered subsets of ministry mode evangelism. Though the relational element is less personal, the communication of the gospel occurs because someone is engaged in intentional ministry outreach.

Jesus is, of course, the model of ministry witness, par excellence. Fulfilling his mission involved going “to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come” (Mark 1:38, 39). He sent the twelve and then the 72 on ministry mode assignments, declaring the kingdom of God (Luke 9:1-6; 10:1-17).
After his ascension, the apostles led the expansion of the gospel through this type of ministry witness. (See for example, Acts 5:41-42). Philip engaged in a ministry mode of witness in a city in Samaria (Acts 8:5) and on a dessert road with the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-40). Barnabas did so in Antioch (Acts 11:22-24) and then joined efforts with the Apostle Paul, as they engaged in ministry witness throughout their missionary journeys (Acts 13 and beyond). Ministry witness is the leading edge of gospel expansion. Through it, new audiences are penetrated and new communities of believers are established.

From Broken to Whole - Finding Christ in College Through Cru

A wonderful video of four lives transformed by Jesus...

The power of the gospel and the grace of God at work in and through students!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Falling Plates Update

Here is an update re: Falling Plates.

According to, 200,000 viewed it over the Easter period.

Today, it is at 979,278 views. When will it go over the 1 million mark?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

An Atheist's Journey to Faith

One can learn a great deal from the spiritual journey of others. Here is a compelling story of a former atheist.

What strikes you?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Natural Witness: The Modes of Evangelism (Part 3)

In recent posts, I have introduced the Modes of Evangelism (article & video) and Body Witness. The second mode is Natural Witness. 

As believers leave their fellowship to reengage in everyday living, their lives naturally intersect countless people. Some of these intersections involve intimate and long-term relationships, such as family and close friends. But most will be casual and brief. And while the number of intimate relationships may be relatively few, the total web of natural connections can be substantial. We have classmates, coworkers, and neighbors. We briefly relate to store clerks, waitresses, hairdressers and others in the marketplace. We talk with doctors, lawyers, teachers, plumbers, and repairmen. Entertainment, sports and recreational opportunities expose us to more people in casual settings. Even fellow travelers on planes can become temporary conversational partners. This is not to suggest that every time we are near someone, God intends for us to speak of Jesus. But we must recognize that our lives do intersect those of countless others and be ready at all times (2 Timothy 4:2).

Among this group of natural relational connections, God is already at work and may want to use us. If we are available and alert, if we show genuine care and concern, if we ask good questions and listen, we will often discover opportunities for gospel conversations. Paul exhorted us to be ready for such. “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:5,6). The key in natural witness is not the duration of the relationship, depth of its intimacy or the length of the conversation. Rather it is wisdom to make the most of each opportunity.

Witness among natural relationships was common in the New Testament. Among the first disciples, Andrew brought his brother, Peter, to Jesus and Philip brought his friend, Nathaniel (John 1:40-51). Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman was in a brief, but natural (albeit unusual) setting—at the watering hole. The Samaritan woman’s subsequent witness to her village was among those with whom she had natural relationships, though not particularly positive ones (John 4:1-42). The delivered demoniac was a witness to his people back home (Luke 8:38, 39). All of these examples underscore the importance of natural witness. God delights to work through his people within their web of natural relationships.

How does a leader help expand the natural witness of the believers they lead? It requires casting a compelling vision for the needs of others and the opportunities to be used by God. The leader must raise awareness, helping believers to be alert for divine appointments and opportunities to engage with others. It also requires motivation. Many influences work against believers’ natural witness, and probably none more than fear and busyness. The leader must cultivate the heart desire for God’s glory and the ultimate good of others. (See the Master principles, above.) But there is also the need for believers to be equipped in conversational evangelism, increasing their confidence and competence. Finally, they need practical ways to engage conversationally. It may be as simple as everyday conversation, guided by genuine interest. Or it may involve specialized outreach tools and resources (like Soularium, CruPress, 2008, or the Perspective Cards, CruPress, 2010). But believers need a plan, steps they can follow and methods they can employ.

Excerpt from Evangelism Design

Friday, June 28, 2013

Body Witness: The Modes of Evangelism (Part 2)

In the last posts, I introduced the Modes of Evangelism (article & video). Here I center in on the first mode: Body Witness. 
The body of Christ can have a powerful witness when it is gathered together and functioning in a healthy manner. A healthy community of believers grows in Christ through speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15, 16). This experience of authentic love and truth is what people genuinely desire. As they experience the fellowship of the body, they have opportunity to hear gospel truth explained and applied to life. They also see gospel love lived out in relationship.

God often uses this experience of gospel love and truth to draw people to himself. This may happen in formal gatherings; it may also occur in informal settings. But the love and truth of a healthy body of believers will have a profound witness to those who experience it.

Jesus underscored the importance of the witness of the body. He indicated that our love for one another would be the evidence to all men that we are his disciples (John 13:34-35). He prayed for our unity, knowing that through it the world would recognize that he was sent as the Messiah (John 17:22-23). So when the early church devoted itself to one another in healthy Christian community, it enjoyed “the favor of all the people and there was added to their numbers daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42-47).

How does a leader expand the body witness?

First, one must tend to the quality of fellowship, ensuring that it is a healthy environment for seekers to experience the gospel. This doesn’t mean everything must be oriented around the seeker. But it does mean that there is intentionality in creating an environment full of grace and truth, appropriate for anyone.

Second, the leader must increase the opportunity for those who are open and seeking to be exposed to the body. This will normally happen through relationships, as believers invite others into body activities. But it is not limited to personal invitations. A public presence and outward communication strategies have been vehicles God has used to usher many into body experiences.

As the witness of the body expands, many come to faith through it. The community of believers provides an environment for spiritual process and growth to take place. People have time and relational support to process new insights into the gospel and its implications. When they come to Christ, they are already involved and relationally connected. They have already passed through a barrier that those reached outside the body will have to later cross. Belonging before believing is a powerful pathway to the gospel.

But it is limited, as well. Body witness can only impact those who are close enough to see the body in action or brave enough to enter. Thus, body witness normally reaches only those who are spiritually seeking or relationally connected. Generally, that is a small percentage of the people in need. Large, diverse populations (such as a campus or community) cannot be fully reached through body witness alone. The other two modes must also be employed. (Coming soon.)  

Excerpt from Evangelism Design.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Leading Evangelism: A Video Intro to the Modes

Last post was an excerpt from Evangelism Design, introducing the Modes of Evangelism. Here is a brief video version from CruPressGreen.

CruPress Presents: Modes of Evangelism from Rick James on Vimeo.

Have you organized your Evangelism Plan around the three modes? What strategic insights have you gained?