Monthly Archives: August 2008

Some Men are an Island…

On Sunday, August 24th we took a congregational survey, seeking to measure our readiness for evangelism. In my last post I gave you the results.

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Where did I personally score on this? I am part of the 8% that is Isolated. That is defined as:
?Wants to share but is too busy with church stuff; doesn’t know non-Christians socially; needs to take steps to make friends with a non-Christian.

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That, my friends, is totally me! I have the background / knowledge / training to share my faith – no problem there. I even consider myself to be highly motivated – I pray for lost people a lot, I really desire to be used by God to advance his kingdom into the hearts of men and women.
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?The occupational hazard of being in full-time ministry is isolation from the lost. My time is consumed with church stuff and most involved in church are already believers. Meaningful personal contact with lost people is the area I need to work on. I intend this too be an area of marked personal growth for me in the coming year. I’d appreciate you praying for me regarding this.

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Where did you land in the survey? What are your thoughts about yourself and evangelism???

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Peace,
?Dave

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Survey Results

This past Sunday I gave a survey in both morning services to gauge where we are at as a congregation in sharing our faith with those far from God.Below is a copy of the survey.

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The results from our church follows.

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Step 1: To determine how ready you are to share your faith, check the following boxes, circling + as strong or – as weak.
??Motivated (I have a heartfelt desire to share the good news of Christ): + or –
??Available (I have social contact with non-Christians): + or –
??Equipped (I can effectively explain the message): + or –

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Step 2: Take those answers and find your “diagnosis” on the following chart. The chart demonstrates how our strengths and weaknesses influence each other. There is some overlap in each category. For example, motivation might change, depending on how well you’re equipped to share faith in a certain situation. Each category represents a continuum rather than something you have or don’t have. Motivation, for example, goes up and down, depending on whom you’re talking to.

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–?–?–?Sequestered. Not interested in evangelism; has adopted rather than personal faith; needs to make personal faith commitment before evangelizing others.
?–?+?–?Apathetic. Sees religion as a personal thing; doesn’t see importance of evangelism; needs to know Christ’s love for others and become willing to share.
?–?–?+?Academic. Sees evangelism as intellectual exercise; knows the gospel and culture but no non-Christians; needs to pray for love and take concrete steps to reach the lost.
?+?–?–?Frustrated. Confused about what to say and to whom but has a heart to share Christ; needs to find a role model to learn biblical approach to evangelism.
?–?+?+?Daunted. Frightened or tired of evangelism; knows the secular world and gospel but lacks motivation; needs to dare to share.
?+?–?+?Isolated. Wants to share but is too busy with church stuff; doesn’t know non-Christians socially; needs to take steps to make friends with a non-Christian.
?+?+?–?Reckless. Sees evangelism as exciting opportunity; has potential but may fall for manipulative ideas; needs to develop a sound biblical approach to evangelism.
?+?+?+?Engaged. Willing and ready to share faith; is motivated by love and is available to non-Christians; needs to keep following Christ.

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Taken from Speaking of Jesus by J. Mack Stiles. 1995 by J. Mack Stiles and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426. www.ivpress.com

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?Now here are the results from 113 respondents at ACC:

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Sequestered: 1%
?Apathetic: 11%
?Academic: 1%
?Frustrated: 3%
?Daunted: 31%
?Isolated: 8%
?Reckless: 22%
?Engaged: 24%

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Some casual observations:
?* Our primary needs are motivation and training. We can address these fairly easily I think!
?* 24% of our people are actively engaged in evangelism?? Seems too high to me – way too high. What do you think?
?* Having regular contact with lost people doesn?t seem to be much of an issue for us.

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What do you see?

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In my next post I?ll tell you where I scored.

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Peace,
?Dave

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What Would Phelps Do?

Are you sleep deprived recently? If so, you?re not alone – staying up too late watching the Olympics each night! The primary focus has been on one guy. Michael Phelps has single handedly captured the attention of an entire nation – maybe the entire world. Talk about total domination! Eight gold medals and numerous world records set in the process.

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What is the reason for his being so successful? Trying or training? Effort or preparation?

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No doubt he tried very hard and put out maximum effort each race but even the most extreme effort wouldn’t have yielded results without the years of training and preparation that preceded the event. Effort alone would have resulted in miserable failure.

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This principle is exactly why so many followers of Christ fail miserably in times of temptation or trial or service opportunity. We try real hard to be good, to stay faithful, and to do the right thing but we come up short nevertheless. Why? Because we haven’t adequately prepared for the moment! Paul connected athletic contests to living for Christ when he wrote:

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Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. (I Corinthians 9:24-25)

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?The disciplines of a Michael Phelps include eating right, weight training, proper rest and countless laps in the pool. Our disciplines include the study and memorization of Scripture, fasting, prayer, solitude, silence, giving, service, etc.

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?Are you training properly or just trying? Your answer explains your results! Be like Michael – go for the gold!
?Peace,
?Dave

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That?s Why We Cheer

I got an email from a friend in my church today. He was so blown away from the faith stories of those who were baptized this past Sunday. He stated that perhaps nothing makes him feel closer to God than hearing stories of true life change. I had to agree. Jesus really can make a huge difference – to hear and see the emotions of those touched by his power is too cool.

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Thanks Jana, Nate and Bill for following Christ in the waters of baptism. We are so grateful for you and with you!

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Peace,
?Dave