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February 19, 2021Culture

20 Truths from ‘How to Revive Evangelism’ by Craig Springer

“Evangelism training should have as its utmost priority developing and training great listeners.”
20 Truths from ‘How to Revive Evangelism’ by Craig Springer
Image: Craig Springer
  1. "In the US especially, the instinct to evangelize is eroding. No matter how much our walk with Jesus has impacted our lives, many of us simply aren’t talking about it—not to our families, not to our friends, and not within our communities. The data shows this on a number of levels, and the conclusive nature of the findings should be setting off alarm bells everywhere." (2)
  2. "What if our methodologies of evangelism, designed to work during the past fifty years or so, are something like a cassette tape that we ask Millennials to play when what they’re really looking for are Spotify playlists?" (6)
  3. "Our post-Christian culture is yearning for deep, meaningful dialogue about spiritual things. Our post-family culture is looking for a place where they can belong. Our post-technology culture is seeking out genuine interactions. Our post-super-size culture desires intimate communities." (12)
  4. "The Bible records 307 questions that Jesus asked, along with 183 questions others asked of him—but do you know how many times Jesus gave a direct answer? Eight. Eight times. And some scholars argue that on only three of those occasions was the answer he gave completely direct. Jesus was 40 times more likely to ask a question than to provide a direct answer (give or take)." (46)
  5. "I was a pastor for many years. We relied almost entirely on proclamation alone. Ours was a large church, and we invested millions of dollars every single year on one main proclamation event. Maybe you’ve heard of it? It’s known as the Sunday morning service. Our goal was to attract into our services people who were exploring faith, and once we had them there, we proclaimed the truth through worship songs and sermons." (47)
  1. "We’re proclaiming truths that answer the questions: How can I be forgiven for my sin? How can I know I’ll go to heaven? How can you prove God exists? But, by and large, those aren’t the questions being asked anymore. Nowadays, the questions sound more like: How can I find purpose? How can I deal with loneliness and emptiness? What will help me live a great life now, not in some distant afterlife, but here and now? Where can I find an answer to the injustices in this broken world?" (48-49)
  2. "But if we continue the proclamation-only model, where will people go in our churches when they have serious questions to ask? Will people wrestling with questions find space and welcome, or will they be met with more simplistic answers and a sense of spoken or unspoken judgment in response to their doubt?" (51)
  3. "What if Christians were the best listeners on the planet, reshaping and retraining culture to become effective listeners of one another (just like Jesus)? If so, we would begin to reflect the heart and behavior of Jesus with more clarity and draw more people into a relationship with Jesus with more consistency." (51-52)
  4. "One of the most fascinating stats from the Reviving Evangelism study had to do with the top qualities spiritually curious non-Christians in America are looking for in a person with whom to talk about faith. First and foremost was someone who 'listens without judgment.' Spiritually curious people want to be able to bring things up, introduce controversial topics and doubts, and ask questions without feeling like Christians are judging every word they’re saying or dismissing them because of a long-held belief." (55).
  5. "By the way, do you know what spiritually curious non-Christians say are the least helpful qualities when it comes to discussing faith? Christians who have all the answers. Christians who are quick to point out the inconsistencies in other people’s perspectives. Christians who are good at debating topics. And yet those three so clearly define much of the modern Christian approach to evangelism and evangelism training in our country today." (56)
  6. ". . . all evangelism training should have as its utmost priority developing and training great listeners. This is Jesus’ way." (66)
  7. "Radical hospitality leads to a sense of belonging, which in turn opens our eyes to the truth and to transformation." (82)
  1. "The data reveals that Christians have insulated ourselves and aren’t creating enough space for outsiders—38 percent of practicing Christian adults say they don’t have a single non-Christian friend or family member, and almost half of adult Christians in the US have just 2 or fewer general spiritual conversations a year with non-Christians." (85)
  2. "If people can feel like they belong, if they can be drawn into the relationships and love that we have for each other, they will be drawn closer to Christ. And that’s when we begin to treat each other like friends." (90)
  3. "When we lead people into spaces where they can experience God, we aren’t only unleashing the power of God in their lives—God will begin to move out from them, to their friends, their family, their neighbors. It’s like a rock tossed into the middle of a pond, and the ripples spread outward, reaching all the way to the farthest bank." (103)
  4. "Given the post-everything era, especially with how politicized everyone and everything has become, the divisions between us are seen as massive weaknesses. But when we roll up our sleeves to serve those in need, whether it’s refugee support, foster care, or helping our schools, people notice." (124)
  5. "[Jesus] regularly placed himself in groups where he was surrounded by outsiders, interacting graciously with groups of people outside the religious crowd, and this approach became a powerful tool for bringing people into the kingdom." (139).
  6. "Jesus didn’t shy away from gatherings where he was outnumbered by spiritually lost people. He seemed to seek out these places throughout the life of his ministry." (140)
  7. "We’ve found that in most groups when a non-Christian converts to Christ before the eyes of other atheist or agnostic guests, their peers say, 'Wow! What has happened to you? Last week you were one person, but this week you’re totally changed! Now I’m more open than ever.'” (143)
  8. "Our disunity is keeping people from the church, keeping people from a meaningful encounter with a community of Christ followers. Our disunity is keeping people away from Jesus. It’s off-putting and uncomfortable, and it makes it easy for an already skeptical public to simply walk away." (160)

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20 Truths from ‘How to Revive Evangelism’ by Craig Springer