As you are going: studies in evangelism

There are two obstacles when it comes to training in evangelism.  The first is inspiring people to want to be involved and the second is equipping people to be involved.  (more…)

Reflections on Refocus

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The NCLS has plotted the Australian Baptist movement over many years. Over the last decade the survey has highlighted the increased involvement of local churches in their local communities as they have purposed to be more missional.  However over the same period the survey has also highlighted that our engagement in sharing the good news of Jesus has decreased.  Over the recent weeks Crossover, in partnership with the state Baptist associations, has sponsored Refocus events in Perth and Brisbane.  The aim of the seminars grew out of the conviction that as local Baptist churches we need to continue our commitment to the Gospel as deed but the challenge we must embrace is the need to rediscover our commitment to the Gospel as word.

The keynote presenters were Karl Faase and Dan Paterson.

Karl has recently resigned from his position as Senior Pastor at Gymea Baptist Church, where he served for over 20 years, to devote more time to his media work through Olive Tree Media.  Olive Tree Media’s latest production is Towards Belief, a 10 part documentary-style DVD/TV series where Karl interviews over 30 international speakers and academics on the belief blockers to faith in western countries.

Dan is a pastor at Ashgrove Baptist and a part-time lecturer at Malyon College. Dan’s study included completing bachelors and masters degrees in ministry and theology, Dan pursued further training by heading with his wife to Oxford in the UK, where he completed RZIM’s one-year course at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics.

The seminar content included:

•   Refocus on the Gospel as word – seeking to balance the missional approach of both word and deed.

•   The need for thoughtful, targeted cultural change in our churches – revitalising the local church will take organisational thinking and focus.

•   What does the community think of the Church & Christian faith?

•   Creating an effective Gospel event.

•   Communicating the Gospel & asking for a response.

•   What are the questions the community is asking and how do we respond?

In Perth over 50 church leaders attended the day event held at Yokine Baptist Church and over 70 were present in Brisbane at Ashgrove Baptist Church.

Phil Bryant the WA Church Health Consultant commented

Refocus in WA was a huge success. I have had many attendees contact me to compliment us for hosting the event.  Both Karl Faase and Daniel Paterson were articulate, relevant and passionate about assisting churches to reclaim evangelism in both word and deed as our priority.  Karl and Dan brought a good blend of experience and teaching that will be a huge help to all that attend. I would encourage every pastor and church leader to attend – especially Senior Pastors. 

Stephen Ball the Qld Regional Minister commented

The Refocus seminar held at Ashgrove Baptist on Wednesday 24 June was well supported with about 70 pastors and leaders involved. The key theme, of the place of the Gospel in word and deed with a special emphasis upon being able to share the gospel in word, resonated well and was a timely encouragement. Our speakers Karl Faase and Dan Paterson were clear, relevant and motivating as those present were encouraged to continue to live and speak out the gospel in the Queensland Context.

In addition to the seminar an evening evangelistic event was held where both Karl and Dan spoke and included a Q&A session.

A Refocus seminar has been planned for Adelaide in February 2016. Crossover will keep you updated via our website and social media.

Click here for further information about the Refocus and Seek events is available.

Click here to listen to the talks from REFOCUS QLD via Malyon College.

Keith Jobberns – National Ministries Director

Revitalised in Witness – how the local Church can Support Believers ‘sent’ into the World (Pt 4)

WHATMEKeith Jobberns – our National Director shares about ways the local church can support believers sent into the world as agents of transformation.

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Did you catch the look of incredulous surprise on the face of the guy sitting on the park bench in our recent Easter video?  He suddenly realizes that God has chosen to use him to reach others for Jesus.

Why is he so surprised?

What has happened to our understanding of mission that realising that all Jesus followers are “sent” by God is a new revelation?cYes we have too often outsourced mission and outreach as the video suggests and have diluted down the call to mission to just a select few.

This stands in such sharp contradiction to our Baptist story in Australia and overseas. A story of creative witness in many diverse contexts that is such a rich one. We trace our inspiration to being sent out to bear witness with creativity back to way of Jesus, the early church and the creativity of our God as demonstrated in the Scriptures.

Being sent is at the core of God’s mission, highlighted in the sending of His own Son and so clearly understood by the early church. Of the multiple examples let just highlight one.

Luke in his inspired account of the sending out paradigm of the early church in Acts 11:19f provides an understated narrative of a local church in action at Antioch.

As Luke records it, some unnamed people, ”men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus.” Understanding that their commitment to Jesus meant they had to go out, they were instrumental in the establishing the first non-Jewish local faith community.

This ‘sending out’ paradigm is so imbedded in the ethos of this local faith community, that it comes as no surprise that they participate so energetically in another significant “sending out” moment in the mission of God.

As Luke records in Act 13, this same community of believers – inspired by the prompting of the Holy Spirit affirmed Barnabas and Saul in their call to be sent out – So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.”

And this initiated another stage in the movement that was to see the transformative message of Jesus impacting “all nations.” (Matthew 28:19)

The Church when it is authentically the Church is always a sending community. Sadly however the guy in the park bench characterises the lack of awareness of many believers of God’s purpose to use them to share the message of Jesus.

I find myself asking the question, what would it take for my local church to help believers like him understand that as s/he goes out into their daily life activities at work, in the community – s/he is in fact being sent as an agent of transformation?

What would it take? Let me offer five suggestions that would be part of the list:

1. A commitment by the local church to make mission its core business as directed by the Holy Spirit.

2. A strategy by the local church to strengthen the local believers to believe that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. To fortify their confidence in the Gospel.

3. A strategy by the local church to equip the local believers to be more competent in sharing the Gospel.

4. A process as a gathered community to affirm local believers in their engagement as agents of transformation in their everyday worlds.

5. A celebration of the stories of transformation in the local community and beyond which have occurred because the local believers have “gone out” on mission.

For more on being ‘Revitalised in Witness’ please read the other posts in this series:

Pt 1 – ‘Scriptural Places I Turn to’ by Keith Jobberns

Pt 2 – ‘Lessons in Arousing Curiosity from the Prophets’ by Stan Fetting

Pt 3 – Revitalised in Witness – the Lessons from the Billy Graham Crusade of 1959 by Karl Faase

 

Table Talk: A resource for getting people talking

Evangelism in the Australian context is especially difficult given the reticence of Australians to openly talk about spirituality. Churches do underestimate the huge step people need to take in order to go from having no spiritual interest, to doing one of the popular evangelistic courses. We expect that people will come into our environment (many of whom never darken the door of a church), listen to us the ‘experts’, and then make a decision to believe what we believe.  (more…)

Breaking Through – transforming lives through prayer

Often when we think of evangelism we think of strategies, programs, leading people to Jesus courses, massive outdoor events, preaching the gospel. But how often do we think of prayer in that mix? We pray for our family, our church, our work, our health but how often do we focus on and spend extended periods of prayer for those who are not yet Christians? Check out our resource for churches to mobilise their people into evangelistic prayer here.

Natural Evangelism – Free Resource!

A substantial percentage of people in our churches feel consciously incompetent when it comes to personal evangelism.  This in some way explains the popularity of out-the-box solutions like Alpha and similar programs.  Its easier to push play on the DVD and allow some guru to do the work for you, you just get the people there right?  Steve Ingram developed a course called ‘Mateship Evangelism’ to help his congregation realise that it can happen simply through natural relationships. (more…)

Calling Charlie

Calling Charlie DVDCalling Charlie is created to provide you with everything needed for an entertaining, provocative, insightful and stimulating learning experience. The interactive DVD and accompanying 32 page study guide includes discussion questions (with space to record notes), Bible references, prayers, extra resources and links. The four sessions are ideal for small groups, interactive church services or weekend camps. (more…)

About Alpha

If you could access an evangelism resource that has been accepted by the community at large and used by 14 million people worldwide; that shows measurable outcomes in terms of people coming to faith, and that is easily facilitated at local churches of all sizes, would you want to know about it? (more…)