14 Jun, 2013 Because we care – 20 years in the making
Today, the book arrived from the printers! 🙂
This book is needed!
[To type what is on my heart] I find myself sometimes very stirred by the seeming lack of concern for the work of the Gospel in Christendom. For all that we do do, and do well, if we fail in this area I fear that it could be said that we have failed – full stop! As much as I seek to avoid thinking about it, this concern is unshakable. While the Christian Church legitimately has various purposes – articulated well by Ps Rick Warren as worship, fellowship, discipleship (learning), ministry and evangelism – it remains that only one of these is our Mission: evangelism – more broadly called ‘making disciples.’ The number of believers who have not reflected through to the point of distinguishing such things is concerning, because we will not accomplish our Mission if we do not know what it is.
[The Mission] What is implied in the Matt 28 commission is the (1) communication of the Christian message followed by the non-believers decision to turn their life over to Christ (as symbolised in Baptism), and (2) their growth after this to a place where they know and follow Jesus’ teachings for themselves. Put simply, we are to make disciples of non-disciples.
[The challenge] Our culture has changed remarkably over the past 50 years. If the world still remains in 200 years time, the history of this period of history will be an amazing study! Consider the many technological, cultural and religious/worldview changes that have had global impact upon life, belief and behaviour. The Churches Mission in the West also became clouded during this period, because our culture in the West changed from being essentially of a Christian (modernist, and well-reasoned) worldview, to one of a post-modern, multi-religious worldview. Due to this the sharing of the Gospel went from being something that made sense and was regularly received, to something that didn’t need to make sense, because all views are equal, and all people have their own truth. Like water off a ducks back, so is the Gospel to many people, because their MINDS have been blinded to any consideration of it’s truth (as explained in 2 Corinthians 4:4 in the Bible).
As a result evangelism fell, in many churches, into the ‘too hard basket’!
But what if we could get it out again?
[The vision] Getting evangelism out of the ‘too hard basket’ is what this book is about. It discusses our culture, and then what we could learn and teach so as to again mobilise the Christian Church (meaning and including ourselves) beyond its often justified scepticisms of old methods, to again engage in the harvest.
[What happened today] Today the boxes of books arrived from the printers, and in my heart I look to God to use this book, because I felt it’s was initiated by Him – and certainly it has been His miraculous hand that has provided for it’s design and print. As imperfect as it is (I wish it were yet a little bit more concise and creatively written), there is no end to editing a book – and I know it has content that could prove very useful to believers and Churches in multi-religious nations such as our own.
[My reflection] However, I’m most humbled as I consider the truth of the first few chapters which correctly identify the heart of the matter as a matter of the heart. This book will have no audience unless there is a deep desire among God’s people to be effective in Gospel work again. It would be easy to be sceptical of ‘yet another evangelism book’ in the same way many are currently sceptical of ‘yet another Gospel program’.
This book offers content that I’ve seen in no other book on evangelism.
It also offers perspectives that, in my assessment, are critical to any success in opening the hearts and minds of evangelistically sceptical believers and Churches to reengage in evangelistic training (through the pulpit and small group), leading to proclamation and personal witness. It’s about a new wine skin – and I pray the love for others will be there to motivate many to read it and discover this. As in the title, we will only read it because we care, and only seek to understand the paradigm that is suggested because we care, and only apply it also because we care.
Lord, without ambition, here is the book I’ve felt you lead me to write, and have seen you provide for. Please use it to help churches and believers, going further abroad than I can. I believe there is wisdom and perspective from You in it. May this be read far and wide, and multiplied in it’s application as a result. May Your Church in the West be mobilised again through pastors who have connected not only with Your love for them (resulting in pastoral ministry), but with Your love for all who do not yet know You (resulting in missional Gospel ministry), and who are thus ready to consider and learn new things – and willing to apply them, for the salvation of many.
I know You can do greater things than I can imagine. I’m imagining!
I ask for an effect in the harvest field, and because I care!
And because I know this is also Your heart – and even more-so than mine.