Posts Tagged ‘evangelism’
i finally went to the street evangelism thing…that’s why i was unable to blog on wednesday night…i went to work, then from there went to cell group, then went to the evangelism thing…except no evangelism took place…and got home pretty late…and way too spiritually/emotionally broken/wrecked to even turn on my pc.
this was a note written by brett about the evening, i’m brain-dead today so i’m just going to copy and paste what he wrote
“we had Ephesians cell where we Ephesian’d (it’s a verb) and that was pretty cool too – spent a lot of the day reading Ephesians commentary and found out some very interesting things i was not aware of like a letter that starts ‘I, Paul’ has questions about its authorship and might have been a ‘to the church at ______’ [insert name here] epistle that got passed around. That around 75 verses of the 144ish are found or very similarly found in the book of Colossians. interesting stuff, and good Romany Creams oh yes.
and after that a bunch of us headed out to our vineyard society office which we have converted to a 24 hour boiler room so all Christians worldwide have the opportunity to come in and pray there anytime (and a bunch of them from other church denominations do which is absolutely great – yes i think i’m done with great/grape, failed experiment!) for the purpose of listening to God (and worshiping cos Stephen brought his guitar) and then heading out to pray for/love people if we felt He was leading us to.
in some parts of the world and the country it has been called doing a treasure hunt, a term i really don’t like especially cos when i originally heard it it sounded like this fun funky gimmicky thing all about the me who was doing it – hey for a laugh lets pray and get clues from God and go out and pray for the people God leads us to. then i watched this interesting/challenging/encouraging/mind-opening movie called Finger of God and in one part a bunch of students embarked on a treasure hunt, but the way they described it it sounded all about what God was doing and they were just wanting to go out and love people, and be obedient, and that did sound good to me.
so me and the beautiful Val and stephen and tsholo and emo kev and roy and kim and andrew went to the office and worshipped and listened to God. it was great.
we didn’t get any specific images or clues that led us out but i heard God speak to me a lot. mostly through a bunch of Bible verses people have written all over the walls (on paper we put for them to do thusly) and i felt strongly that God was telling me last night was all about me (well us) but not in an ‘it’s all about you’ way but more a ‘hey let’s hang – i need you with me before i need you going out and doing stuff’ and just an immense desire to pray a lot (i love praying but i often struggle to pray and especially a lot)
the biggest desire, which i know has been my personal desire, but which i strongly suspect is God’s as well, was just imagining Christians from all over waking up or leaving wherever they were and just arriving at our time of prayer (altho after 8 more we probly would have had to leave) which then became the grass area near Mugging Bean – just Christians being drawn to a central spot and engaging in heartfelt spontaneous worship, and then maybe going out and loving and praying and changing the town. and so that became the focus of my prayer for a long time – God unite your church, break through denomination, break through style, break across culture and just bring singleminded Christians together to worship you and love this town. it was pretty intense and i think i would dig to call an all nighter prayer time there sometime soon for that very reason. Stellenbosch still sadly has quite a divided church.
and so God spoke to us and through us and we worshipped Him in known song and made-up song and it was really a great time. at the beginning we decided that we would wait on God but if He didn’t tell us to go out we wouldn’t and that was really cool. we are meeting every week at 9:30pm there and anyone is invited to join us and it’s all about listenng to God, waiting on Him and being obedient so maybe next time we’ll go out, that was not really the point. we met with God. He confirmed His love and calling of us.
it was a great day.”
my comment on the note was that i have also been thinking about the all-night prayer thing and then Michael-John said the same thing…so maybe God’s trying to tell us something
also, if you’ll notice, Brett’s on his tip about the Church unity again, as i talked about on tuesday, he’s very passionate about that.
the thing i took out of the evening was how it’s not so much about the doing…it’s about obedience. when God calls you to go, you should go. i was willing to go that night if he had told us to go…and i think, or hope, that was pleasing in his sight!
who/what is enGAGE
a bunch of people who believe in and are aiming to be:
 Fully devoted Followers of Christ
 Growing in Community
 Giving Generously
 Witnessing Unashamedly
 Worshipping Passionately
 Serving Purposefully
The name enGAGE reminds us that church is not that meeting that takes place on a Sunday but it is a body of believers and the four focus points of enGAGE are to:
Engage with God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Engage with the Bible – reading, knowing and doing
Engage with each other – the community of believers, building and living in authentic relationship with each other
Engage with society – people outside of the church, showing them God’s love and grace and pointing them to Him.
(from the enGAGE website)
why the capital GAGE in enGAGE?
American spelling of gauge…as in to measure…so the name reminds us that “we are constantly needing to Gauge/measure where we are in life compared to where we should be and continually trying to narrow that gap”…we should constantly be measuring ourselves against Joshua Davidson, cos as his followers we are supposed to be trying to be more and more like him daily. “This is a journey we are on, together in community”.
(quotations from website).
what sets us apart?
the “broken, but beautiful bride”
Brett loves the saying “Jesus is coming back for his bride, not a harem”. There is no such thing as Churches, it’s all one Church. Anyway, he’s really passionate about bringing together the bride…and he’s somehow managed to rub off that passion on to our congregation. We are all about bringing together the whole church, not just our denomination. We love doing the stuff with other congregations in Stell/Cape Town/Somer Set West…like worship events and camps and stuff like that where we bring together the whole church and just celebrate and rejoice and be the bride together.
We have come across opposition of course, as Jon Acuff said, “only ordinary things ever get full consensus from people. Doing something extraordinary should never make complete sense to everyone in your life”, but we are slowly building bridges, maybe not as the congregation per se, but as individuals from our congregation who see the need to fellowship with other followers outside our little circle…the church is being A Church!
one of the dudes from our church once said that the thing that sets us apart is that we are the “earthy church”…meaning we are down-to-earth. Vineyard (the international denomination one) has a thing against titles…i mean we have pastors and leadership people but we don’t have titles for them like deacons and bishops etc…we are all members of the church and each member is called to take part and minister and lead and stuff.
for instance we encourage people to share verses or messages or whatever that they feel God is laying on their hearts during worship or whatever and as Brett often says, we are all part of the priesthood so therefore we should all be praying for each other, laying hands on each other, baptising each other, ministering to each other, etc.
In fact, during the preaches there’s often inside jokes and back-chatting and adding on and questionning and aswering each other…interesting services I tell you.
we are also very much about being real…like really real…like confess your sins to each other real…from the pulpit if you feel it’s necessary (and by pulpit I mean the stool that Brett sits on during the preach…hee hee). We hang out together a lot…like outside of church…so it goes without saying that we will turn to each other for accountability and prayer and holding-each-other-up-ness, so it’s very important that we are real with each other and talk to each other and share real stuff.
we believe Christ calls you as you are…not a fake, seemingly perfect version of you…but the raw, broken, failed you. Come to the cross broken – no dressing up, no band-aids – he can’t heal you if you pretend you don’t need healing.
why i love my church
we believe in prayer
there’s been a couple of times where i’ve been in the car with friends and someone tells us of a need or prayer request or whatever and we just pull the car off to the side and pray for them and minister to them right there and then.
one of my youth peoples got stabbed this past week and he came through to church on sunday evening so at the end of the service a bunch of us gathered around him to pray for healing
we believe in living out the stuff
a friend was telling us of financial troubles and another friend said “well we’ll keep you in prayer, but in the meantime is there anything we can help with practically right now?”
we read a book in our cell about getting out of the pews and actually doing stuff which led to things like starting up “kinetic love” – an outreach group which also started up the 24-7 prayer room – and selling of hotdogs to the homeless…
we are a super funny bunch of crazies
some of my favorite enGAGE quotes:
“i don’t want to be controlled by my scarves”
“shut up christian and go read your bible”
“every time i have a conversation with a girl i think she’s either going to laugh or fall in love with me”
one last thing for those who live in Stellies
wednesday nights 9:30 pm we meet in the prayer room (Neelsie, room T-29 i think, 4th floor in between the loos and TBT and across from the habitat for humanity Shack) and we have a time of prayer then we go out onto the streets and talk to/pray for/minister to people we meet. Great time of kingdom-come type stuff…please join us if you can/want to.
speaking of prayer room…for those who haven’t been there…it’s a room dedicated to 24-7 prayer…it’s open all the time and you can just pop in there and say a prayer if you wanted to.
[my thoughts are a bit scattered at the moment, so this one will be very reflective of my scatter-brain-ness...i mean more than my other posts have been]
So the early church…Brett’s favorite verse ever is Acts 2:42ff and as he said this past Sunday, all the enGAGE people have probably got it memorised by now cos he reads it so often in our services.
The early church was great at doing the whole community thing. They pretty much lived together and shared everything and everybody got along and sang kum-ba-ya together all night…ok, maybe i just made that last part up. All this to say, the church grew in thousands…people were joining the Church on a daily basis because of what they saw.
I think though today, there are more people talking about community but we’ve misunderstood it. Community is a big christian buzz word – the next new thing – at the moment (that and fighting injustice…think i already wrote on this one), everybody is wanting to live in community and they are throwing the word around like it’s going out of fashion (irony: it probably will be as soon as the next hypeworthy thing comes along)…but the concept of community isn’t new and buzzworthy…communities have been around as long as people have been around.
Community isn’t about a bunch of people living in a house together…that’s MTV’s “The Real World”, community is about people sharing their lives together. Community isn’t about excluding those outside your “culture” (including race, social class, education, etc), it’s about including them into your circle. Community is not about meeting once a week in a church building, it’s about BEING Church together…everyday.
[Point of clarification, I don't have a problem with getting a house with a bunch of people and living together a la SimpleWay style...in fact I would really dig to do that...what I am saying is that community is so much more than that]
The early church didn’t just meet once a week and discuss the bible, sing a few songs and then go back to their normal lives. They lived together, they lived on the word, they followed the Way, the gave their lives for the Way, they lived a life that made those on the outside go “hey, there is something different there, and I want me a piece of that”. They gave up their “normal lives” and chose to live Christ-centered, Holy Spirit-filled lives to the glory of the Father…and He blessed them, and multiplied them. We sit in our wonderfully comfortable pews and wonder why the world is not turning to the Father, it’s because they don’t see it in those who claim to be following Him. The name “christians” was first used in Acts and was used to describe the followers of the way because they were “little christs”…his mini-me’s…imitators of christ…reflections of Him…that’s what the word means. And that’s why the early church was blessed…that’s why their community grew…because they were following the Way…they were living for the way…it wasn’t about them believing a bunch of stuff, it was about them living out what they said they believed.
That’s what we as the church are missing today: the DAILY taking up our cross and following him part. We need to be Christ-followers. The world needs to see Christ in us. The world needs to see the God who is love through us. The world needs to see the broken being restored…the needy having their needs met…the lonely being loved…the untouchables feeling the comfort of human tough…and as we do that, as we display His love and His character to the world, they will inevitably be drawn to Him.
I’ve mentioned before that I think the church I am currently a part of (VCF/enGAGE) is really good at doing the whole community thing…so in part 4 I’m gonna expand a bit on that.
Didn’t realise this was going to be a multi-part post…oh well…
we went to go see ice age 3 last saturday and it went very well. 6 of the learners had actually seen it the day before and they asked me to ask Deane for them if we could see something else and so i kept telling them to talk to him themselves. i know it’s weird, and it is such a small insignificant thing, but i thought it was really cool that they felt like they could come talk to me and kinda ask me to be their sort-of spokesperson. i hope that when the real stuff comes up they will be able to come to me with that stuff as well. anyway, so Deane did give them a choice between that and harry potter and they ended up watching ice age 3 again and they loved it…we had a little discussion on it afterwards while we were having a picnic under the stars…in the cold! (you know a complain had to come in somewhere)
[side note: while we were having our picnic/discussion a drunk guy comes up and tries to get in on the discussion even though he hadn't seen the movie...quite funny...and irritating at the same time]
this week was the second session on peer pressure. this week was more about dealing with peer pressure where as last week was about defining it, recognising it, and classifying it (good vs bad). the leaders opened with a skit (btw, i LOVE acting even though i totally hate the spotlight…but once i’m up there on stage, just try and stop me) and then we had discussions and closed of with them doing skits for us. it was quite a good even.
we had a really bad turn-out though this week cos there is this evangelist dude in town who is holding one of those revival type things and most of the kids went to that. the ones who actually showed, well except for one, are totally anti Daddy (apparently the people of his church call the evangelist Daddy…maybe he founded the denomination or something). The kids kept saying he’s a false-prophet and they say the people of his church worship him and not God. Apparently the dude is very much into prosperity-gospel and he’s one of those “pray for you and life will be perfect” types….like, he prays over your cv and you get the job you want, or he prays for you and you get out of your wheelchair and walk, or he prays for you and even though you’ve been failing all year, you suddenly get all A’s without studying, or he prays for you and you suddenly win the lotto/lottery. the other problem the kids had with this dude is that all the people whom he prayed for that got healed were people from out of town so there was no way of knowing if there really was a problem to start with. Also they figure that God wouldn’t have you win the lotto, He’d rather give you a job and the talent to do the job well so that you can earn the money…and God wouldn’t have you pass a test without studying, He’d rather give you concentrantion and understanding so that you can understand what you are studying and be able to pass the test…etc
the one girl who was not anti-Daddy is actually a member of that denomination, so basically her stance in the discussions that night was trying to correct the rumours/myths that were going on about Daddy. She didn’t back down either, she stood her ground, which I don’t think is easy for a 16 year old when you’ve got 15 of your peers standing against you…and for that I applaud her. She unintentionally gave us a real-life example of dealing with peer-pressure which was really cool…so we ended up using that situation to explain how to deal with peer-pressure.
so all in all a very good night
living out the stuff i spew
our congregation started doing a street evangelism thing where we go out as enGAGE and pray for people/talk to people/meet people/etc on the streets of Stellenbosch. It’s been happening for two weeks now…and I have yet to go. I keep wanting to go, but then something else comes up, or I end up forgetting or I just feel so super tired cos I didn’t sleep the night before or whatever…the whole “the good I want to do I do not do, it’s the bad that I don’t want to do that I keep doing” vibe Paul talked about in Romans. I really want to do it though…I really want to be a part of what God is doing in Stellies…maybe next week…
the role of the church, the way i see it…and once again, by church i mean the congragational gathering…is for community. we were made for relationships…God is relational, we were created in God’s image, therefore we are relational beings…we were not created to go through life as loners, and we are not meant to walk this Christian walk alone. Side note a bit: I’m not saying you can’t be friends and have relationships with people who aren’t Christian, but I think there’s something powerful and build-up-ness about having friends/accoutability partners who have the same basic beliefs/morals/world-view as you do.
Ok, back to our regularly scheduled blogpost: Joshua Davidson chose Peter to be the rock that His church would be built upon, but he didn’t send Peter out alone, he had 11 other guys doing it with him (yea, I remember what happened to Judas, they replaced him with Matthius remember?)…and they garnered more and more people to walk with them along the way…even Paul when he went on his many mission trips wasn’t travelling alone…he often went with Barnabas and then there was John Mark and there were times during the travels when Dr Luke would pop in for a spell…and even when he was travelling alone he would always stay with other Christians in the area.
So, as I see it the church (congregation) isn’t there to play babysitter and make sure you do your homework and eat your vegetables…we do the gathering thing for the community – to love one other, share with each other, encourage one another, rejoice with those who rejoice, and cry with those who cry.
As I said in part 1, I don’t think it’s the church’s job to come up with “witnessing/outreach” things for us to do, I think it’s up to me, when I see a need to fulfil that need and then when we meet on Sunday I share with my family what happened the past week, we either celebrate together or mourn together. We share in each other’s lives, pains, etc. We praise God together, we seek Him together and on behalf of each other, we encourage each other to live a life worthy of the calling we’ve recieved, we have the enGAGE pizza together at Gino’s, then we go out into the world and live out that calling by being a witness to those who haven’t seen the light yet. That is your ministry/calling/witnessing…being a light to those who haven’t seen it yet…and it is not necessarily going to happen in mission trips and in street evangelisms and organised outreach things, it might just happen through you living out your everyday life in a way that in “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, [you] do it all in the name of our Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the father through him”.
which leads me to thoughts on the church in Acts…that will be part 3
this is intended to be part 1 of a series, then again it might be the only part…we shall see
for the purpose of this blog, when I say church i mean congregation or the people you gather with or whatever, not the universal church.
is it the church’s job to reach out or is it the individual…as in is it the hand’s job to pick up the paper on the floor, or is it the whole body’s. Granted, the brain has to send the message to…uhm…the place it sends messages to…and the legs have to bend to get you closer to the floor…but it’s the hand/arm that actually does the picking up right?
So I’m thinking it’s not the church’s job to organize a mission trip, or an outreach program, or whatever it is that you feel the church should be doing to reach out…it’s the church’s job to enable/equip you to do it…(how)…so basically the brain sends a message (matt 28:20, acts 1:8) (the brain would be Christ as he is the head of the church) and then the limbs (individuals) take heed and do the work…yes, we work together to help each other out – we need to work together as the body – but there’s a sense, I think, that each individual has a responsibility to do the stuff. We shouldn’t wait for the pastor to organise stuff for us to do.
Being raised in a church where everything went from top-down (you come up with an idea and then you have to pass it to whoever is your direct leader then they pass it on to the pastor/board who then has final approval and then a committee would be created to organize – with someone on the board being heading the committee ofcourse – and then you’d maybe be asked to volunteer as one of the grounds people making it happen) coming to vineyard was kinda frustrating at first. you’d come up with a random suggestion (like “ohh, we should give homeless people hotdogs”) and all Brett says “ok, do it”. I don’t know, I kinda expected him to sit down first with the leadership and ask for approval, go through the necessary procedures…for hotdogs mind you…then get back to us…but, no – just do it is all you get…actually, now that I think about it, we didn’t even consult anyone about the hotdog thing, we just kinda did it. Imagine if we had gone through that long line to get approval, it might have never happened. That’s sad. (And I’ve left the original topic…)
Christ calls individuals to do his work…Christ works through individuals…when we went out give hotdogs to homeless people, we weren’t going there representing vineyard, we were representing Christ…we wanted people to see the love of God, not the wealth or kindness of our church. That is our mission…to draw others to Christ, not to our churches. Having said that, I love my church, I really do…and I do invite people to come to my church…and I would invite all of y’all to come visit Stellenbosch Vineyard Christian Fellowship if you are ever in Stellenbosch and looking for a place to go on Sundays at 9:30 or 18:00.
So then, what is the purpose of the building, and the gathering and all that…stay tuned for part doux.
lots of talk in my church about evangelism lately…mostly in the leadership team i guess…but apparently there have been whispers in the corridors from everyone else…
Wikipedia defines evangelism as “the practice of attempting to convert people to a religion” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelism)…and we all know that wikipedia is never wrong!
i’m starting to look at what this whole evangelism deal is…and how it applies to me…(Jesus said we should “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt 28: 19 – 20)…so obviously, evangelism…or the attemp to convert people to being followers of Christ…is something I should be doing.
Here’s where I am: I believe my mission feild (or my Jerusalem – Acts 1:8) is my workplace and VisionK…or at least that is where I’ve chosen to focus my attention…to be intentional. Now if I meet someone on the train and we end up talking about God (which happens on the rare occasion) then yay, let the evangelising happen…but it’s not where my focus lies.
Saint Francis of Assissi (or something) once said “preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary use words” and that’s the model of evangelism i try to follow. i live Christ, and when necessary i speak Christ. i wonder if it’s enough though. are people seeing Christ in my living? or are they seeing a good version of me? am i truly living Christ? and if so, do they realise it’s Christ that I’m living?
I don’t want to be a bible-basher, telling everyone i meet that they are going to hell if they don’t believe what you believe, cos honestly that is what i think people hear when you yell at them with picket signs. that is so far from what Jesus did. Jesus loved people, and they were drawn to him, and in through the relationship they were convicted and repented. it came from the relationship, not from the pharisees telling them how not-good-enough they were.
so where do you draw the line? how do you live Christ and speak Christ without condemning people? how do you show a love that draws people and leads them into a relationship with Christ?
Too many questions, not enough answers.
Excerpt from a blog i read:
Evangelism is easy.
Twice in the last couple of weeks, I have encountered a guy who lives here in my town. His name is Chris and, without knowing it, he has really challenged me.
I met Chris at the park. I was there with my family, he was there with his granddaughter and we sat and chatted for 20 minutes or so. People often strike up conversations with me just because I have an English accent.
When it was time to go, Chris shook my hand, said goodbye and then said the most incredible thing:
“I don’t know if you already worship somewhere but we worship at the Church of Christ and we’d love it if you’d like to join us some time.”
I was shocked. We hadn’t mentioned God at all the whole conversation and then there it was… and it was so easy.
I explained that I am a pastor and my children actually attend the school attached to his church and we said our goodbyes and left.
This guy is not on staff there, he’s not an elder or deacon, he’s what many people would call a layman.
That doesn’t stop him doing outreach though – and the way he did it was just so easy, non-confrontational and relaxed.
I saw him again yesterday. He was talking to someone at the car dealership where my car was being serviced. They talked about politics and taxes and all that normal stuff and then, just as he was leaving, he said:
“I don’t know if you already worship somewhere…”
It’s that easy to reach out, to evangelise, to invite someone to join you for worship.
…. So why don’t I do that?