Wednesday, September 26, 2007

visibility evangelism


the steadfast adherence to the same principles, or set course, day in and day out, week in and week out and year in and year out.

It's being determined to out in your community in every season. Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.

Galations 6:9 NIV
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

I'm reminded of Galaxy Quest. The Captain always stated, "Never surrender, Never give up."

For many years I had a simple sign on my desk which stated, "Never give up. It's aways too soon to give up."

I've read just about every book concerning effective evangelism. All point to one important aspect... consistency

David Wilkerson in NY was always there...going out into the community, talking with people, encouraging seekers, and taking risks.

Floyd McClung living in Amsterdam was there day by day, having conversations with people on the Hippy Trail, breaking down barriers, building bridges.

Billy Graham really didn't ever change... His messages were simple, direct to the point month by month year by year.

Loren Cunningham mobilized the youth of his generation into their world encouraging young people to pray, believe, to serve, and to care.

Steve Sjogren learned to serve his community by going and serving. He understands and lives the value of being out there with small acts of kindness consistently

Mike Pilivochi and Soul Survivor in the UK serve, worship and share the good news, impacting thousands in Manchester, and London with Soul in the City.

How do you know your serving has impacted a community? People you talk to begin to define your church in a positive manner. Hint: we are all already defined by our community, both positively and negatively. 

The good news, we have a major part to play in creating a positive image.

Here's what your community is saying about your church.
Oh, that's the church that(fill in the blank)______________________________________________.

If you want to know how your community defines your church go out into your community and ask.

A sample question: When you hear the name of our church (say name of church) what comes to your mind?

When I was living in a city in FL we were the church that no longer existed. We were the church that had a nasty in-house disagreement and split. They no longer existed. Slowly but surely the tide turned. They are now know as a major caring force to be respected with 6 locations. How did they change? They began to serve others. They were consistent in sowing and the Lord added to their number.

A couple of years ago I lost my phone. I went to my phone provider with an old phone to activate. I was asked, "What business name is your phone under?" I said, "the Dayton Vineyard". The lady standing next to me exclaimed: "Oh you're that pretty good church that serves the community! I've heard about what you guys do." I asked, "What have your heard?' she then gives a list of the positive things she and others have heard and seen us do. Humbly, but joyfully I replied, "Yep that's us, we're just pretty good." I walked away encouraged. I thought, it really does work. What you sow you will reap.

How does this positive feedback happen? It's simple 16 years of hard work, sowing, caring, praying, going, being out there in season and out of season. We are consistent.Our consistency has redefined church to much of our community. People now come to see what a pretty good church looks like. Many become Christ followers as they hear and observe our message and lifestyle.

We also know we need God's favor to be upon our lives and upon what we do. So we consistently have asked Jesus to place His favor upon us as a church.

God's Favor is what empowered Daniel, Esther, Joseph and Jesus impact their community. In fact the early church 'had the favor of all the people' and Jesus 'grew in favor with God and man.'

How do you gain favor?
1. You ask for it? It's a gift that increases with proven character...and sometimes even stays with people who have bad character...
the gifts and callings of God are without repentance.

Samson was a bad character, but was a 'having God's favor' kind of guy. In his last season of life He stood up as before, but didn't realize God's grace for battle had vanished. Realizing he was left alone he turned toward God and asked for strength for just ne more exploit.

Favor brought Daniel, Joseph, Esther, Jesus before Kings, shut mouths of lions, delivered a men out of prison, spared a race of people, and crucified a savior...all because of God's favor.

2. You serve where you are, with what you have, while you can. A simple word study on the phrase good deeds is pretty revealing, especially in the pastoral epistles. 

1 Timothy 6:18 NIV 
Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.
(the epistles were written as instructions for local church leaders Timothy and Titus)

3. You serve with the attitude of Christ. see Philippians Chapter 2 speaks of true humility, embracing genuine love, a having great attitude, and a servant heart.

Jesus said, don't hide your light under a bushel basket but let your light shine in such a way so that when they see your good deeds they will glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Peter said, let your good deeds shine in such away that they will glorify God on the day of His visitation.

So what is visibility evangelism? It's consistently showering your community with good deeds done in the name of Jesus. It's living consistently with the love and grace that God provides. It's being out in the community in which we live, day in day out, moment by moment. It's being wise how you answer every person who talks to you about the hope you have.

No a great secret why our pretty good church and other serving churches are energized, thriving, and growing. It's simple: someone is praying, someone is serving, someone is loving, someone is caring, someone is going out into the community and sharing Gods love to the people in their sphere of influence in a practical way consistently.

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