Isn’t that exactly what we are telling the world when we don’t take the time to spread the redeeming message of Jesus Christ? We are often content to go to church on Sundays and socialize with our “good Christian” friends. We attend church programs where we talk freely about how wonderful God is, but when it comes to moving outside of the church walls and onto the mission field of our communities, we quickly loose our enthusiasm.
I am sharing George G. Hunter III’s The Celtic Way of Evangelism: How Christianity Can Reach the West…Again for one reason; I think we need to take a look at how we approach evangelism in this country. Do you agree?
Saint Patrick had a heart for evangelizing the Irish people. Many souls were saved as a result of his efforts. The interesting thing about Saint Patrick is that he progressively pursued intentional evangelism by developing relationships, gaining trust, and authentically living out the gospel among “the barbarians,” the ignorant, poor, uneducated people within the society that he cultivated.
Saint Patrick’s mission was radical because:
- “The Celtic Christians usually evangelized as a team—by relating to the people of a settlement; identifying with the people; engaging in friendship, conversation, ministry, and witness (47).”
- “The [Celtic Christians] prepared people to live with depth, compassion, and power in mission (47).” The Celtic teams intentionally discipled new converts of Christianity so that they matured in knowledge and faithful living of their beliefs.
- Celtic Christians had a very disciplined, yet practical prayer life, which gave them power and authority in their evangelistic efforts.
- They welcomed nonbelievers as guests through the gift of hospitality.
- Finally, they engaged their community in fellowship and relevant conversations. They established trust and creditability before encouraging people to make a decision or recite a “prayer of salvation” with no clear understanding of their commitment.
This approach is countercultural to the way that we evangelize in America.
I know that many American Christians will say, “Well, I’m not called to the mission field. God does not want me to run off to another country to share his good news.” But what about the mission fields of your workplace, the gym, your neighborhood, the school down the street or the local grocery store. How do you share the good news in those places?
Notice the Celtics approach to the community through teaching, devotional prayer, extending hospitality, and sharing the truth. Are we willing to continually go out of our way to make these necessary possibilities a reality?
Evangelism is hard work and we need to understand the current culture so that we are able to deliver the truth of the gospel in context for the lost souls that we encounter. “The gulf between church people and unchurched people is vast, but if we pay the price to understand [the unchurched people], we will usually know what to say and what to do; if they know and feel we understand them, by the tens of millions they will risk opening their hearts to the God who understands them (121).”
You May Also Like:
I Am No Fool – Saint Patrick’s Passion for Evangelism
Don’t forget about our quarterly book recommendation: The Gospel of Ruth discussion.
© Natasha S. Robinson 2011