Calling all Bible Scholars

RevTim

Beta Tester
So, in this post-modern, pretty much puke-warm Laodicean America we live in, what do you find most effective in witnessing?

And what do you find most effective in engaging people in Spiritual matters, perhaps more than witnessing, say a Bible study -- or even getting them to darken the door of a church?

With 160 registered users, this ought to be a very lively and helpful thread -- that is, if we are being obedient to God's commands...

Curious,
Pastor Tim
 

James Taylor

Active Member
HI PASTOR TIM
I AM ALSO WAITING FOR SOME REPLY TO THIS ONE. I WOULD THINK THAT LIVING THE LIFE YOU PREACH WOULD BE A GOOD START.
THIS FORUM COULD BE A GOOD PLACE TO TALK WITH GOOD CHRISTIAN PEOPLE BUT RELIGION SEEM TO BE A HARD THING TO SHARE. TOO MUCH DANGER OF DISAGREEMENT. IM NOT AFRAID OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST, I ALWAYS GIVE THE OTHER PERSON THE RIGHT TO BE DIFFERENT. THE NEXT TIME SOME ONE VISITS THE COFFEE TABLE, TAKE THE TIME TO SIT DOWN AND VISIT. IT COULD BE A GOOD THING.
HAVE A GOOD DAY PASTOR TIM.
 

RevTim

Beta Tester
James Taylor said:
HI PASTOR TIM
I AM ALSO WAITING FOR SOME REPLY TO THIS ONE. I WOULD THINK THAT LIVING THE LIFE YOU PREACH WOULD BE A GOOD START.
THIS FORUM COULD BE A GOOD PLACE TO TALK WITH GOOD CHRISTIAN PEOPLE BUT RELIGION SEEM TO BE A HARD THING TO SHARE. TOO MUCH DANGER OF DISAGREEMENT. IM NOT AFRAID OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST, I ALWAYS GIVE THE OTHER PERSON THE RIGHT TO BE DIFFERENT. THE NEXT TIME SOME ONE VISITS THE COFFEE TABLE, TAKE THE TIME TO SIT DOWN AND VISIT. IT COULD BE A GOOD THING.
HAVE A GOOD DAY PASTOR TIM.
Some good thoughts.

As a pastor, I don't want anyone intimidated if I were to give an answer right off. Some people think pastors automatically have all the answers, and they are all right. I know I don't always know everthing, and I am always interested in hearing new ideas. That doesn't mean I'll agree with everything, but I'm interested.

Blessings and thanks for taking time to respond,
Pastor Tim
 

Brandon Staggs

Administrator
Staff member
I attended a software conference last week and had the opportunity to converse with some very intelligent non-believers. These were people that knew me on-line so already had an idea of what my beliefs are, but they were very interested in just discussing ideas.

I find that the most effective witness is one of reason. Many people think a hard-line approach to witnessing is what is necessary. And for some non-believers, that is probably the case. But I am reminded of this:

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

I find people more receptive to my presentation of the Gospel if I show a willingness to reason with them. This does not mean I am open to recanting the Gospel, not by any means. But if I can show people that I believe what I do because of consideration and reflection, not just because "I was raised Christian" (as an example), they are more interested in an exchange of ideas.

As Tim says, there also should be an understanding that no claim to full knowledge is being made. I don't trust anyone who thinks they know it all, so I don't think anyone would trust me if I pretended I had an answer to every question under the sun.
 

RevTim

Beta Tester
Great additions Brandon.

Others?

Pastor Tim

PS: If a few more people post, I'll share one of my favorite ideas to keep in mind to prepare to witness.
 

RevTim

Beta Tester
James Taylor said:
OK PASTOR TIM, IM WAITING.
Now now James...

You didn't post anything pertinent to the topic!

But maybe I'll share my thought anyway...

Maybe... 8)

Blessings,
Pastor Tim
 

James Taylor

Active Member
PASTOR TIM
About 4 months ago our community formed a ministers fellowship for this very reason, to discuss what might work and what might not work in church groth and soul winning. it has been a wonderful experience. it is ministers of all faith and the fellowship is devine. as of yet we havent learned anything new, just a lot of things we have neglected. JT.
 

RevTim

Beta Tester
James Taylor said:
PASTOR TIM
About 4 months ago our community formed a ministers fellowship for this very reason, to discuss what might work and what might not work in church groth and soul winning. it has been a wonderful experience. it is ministers of all faith and the fellowship is devine. as of yet we havent learned anything new, just a lot of things we have neglected. JT.
Well! That seems like it might be quite instructive.

I'd really like to hear what you have to share.

And then I promise I will share one of my favorite techniques -- well, not really sure what to call it -- thought processes? to bear in mind when studying the Word with an eye towards witnessing.

Blessings,
Pastor Tim
 

Jerry

Beta Tester
I have found that in ths postmodern age, "arguing" the gospel no longer works. Apologetics and defending the faith in the traditional sense does not have the impact it did previously, at least in my neck of the woods. While I can, and often do, have big theological discussions with the atheists and agnostics at my workplace, I've never converted anyone (yet!) by doing that. I'm not saying this means I should no longer be verbal about my faith - its a great way to lay seeds and also to force myself to study so I can be truthful and artciulate about my faith. I'm just saying it seems to be ineffective as far as eternal consequences are concerned.

We have a church of around 300-350 in a very small town in Michigan. There are a number of things that we have found very effect to sharing the gospel.

The first major thing is to be very open and accessible in our community. For instance, our town has a big festival each fall called "Octoberfest." The whole community comes out with events like a 5k run, flea market, local band contest, etc. Each year we have a big presence in the festival. During the flea market we have tons of volunteers walking around with wagons giving away free pop and water that have our church business card attached. We have a booth at the festival. We have "street entertainers", consisting of normal people from our church who do things like juggle, paint faces, etc, that do their act out on the streets and give out trinkets to the kids that redirect them back to the booth. We help marshall the 5k run and all our volunteers have yellow "volunteer" shirts on that also have our church name on them. Those are just a few of the many examples of how we have a presence.

Another thing we do is to help solve community problems. Our church has been around a long time, and years & years ago used to take our "separate from the world" distinctive literal to the extreme. We came off as rather arrogant and unconcerned with the needs of the community. Our current pastoral staff has a keen eye for showing God's grace in everyday problems. Last year our community had a big problem with tons of rowdy teenagers hanging out at the library after school until their parents were finished with work. The library was being abused as a daycare and tensions were high. We volunteered our gymnasium one day a week to help. We provided free transportation to the gym from school, and chaperoned the gym with adult volunteers from church. Not only did this impress on the community that we were willing to jump in and help, but it also got tons of kids and parents to broach the doors of our church that never would have otherwise.

People are often skeptical of the motives of churches and "church people." They have a hard time accepting the fact that we don't expect anything back, want a payment, or have ulterior motives. But after years of this effort we have slowly broken down these barries. People now come to us with problems. They're not afraid to contact "that church that seems to care about our community." The village government now actually approaches us with questions on how to handle various issues. How cool is that? We can provide Godly wisdom and provide spiritual influence over our town and public school.

All this helps immensely when it comes to the second major thing we do...

We stop and pray and determine what it is that God is blessing, and we pour our resources into that thing. For instance, a number of years ago, for reasons we could not pinpoint exactly, it seemed like our Vacation Bible School started to gain some momentum. Visitors, increasing attendence, and large number of decisions each year started to be the norm. So now we push VBS in a big way. The upshot is, this year we had 246 kids in our VBS. Considering our church only runs 300, this is phenomenal. The number of outside and unchurched kids in our VBS is huge. And I think a large part of that is the trust the families have in our church because of everything I already listed in point #1 above.

We had 18 kids give their life to Christ this year. Earlier in the spring we baptised a whole family that was saved because their 5th grader came to VBS last year and then brought the family back to church. Basically, God is pouring out his blessing on VBS in our little church, so in July we pour all our resources into that ministry.

I'm sorring if I'm boring everyone, but I get excited as I recount these things and its hard to stop typing.

So in summary, I think for us the first thing is to get involved in the lives, school, and community wtihtout expecting anything in return And second, go where God is going.

Jerry
 

Brandon Staggs

Administrator
Staff member
I'm sorring if I'm boring everyone, but I get excited as I recount these things and its hard to stop typing.
Not at all -- thanks for all the typing!
 

marty

Beta Tester
Here again, I'm late in replying to this post ... but now I have more time for exploring the Forums, so...

First let me tell you that I was born again as a child, but my Christian walk really took off when I was a young adult with two llittle kids and a drunkard, abusive, unbelieving husband. And because I continually got the message at our tiny church that I needed to witness to unbelievers, but wasn't ever told HOW, I ended up running off all my friends and estranging my husband. I lived in a town with a population of less than 200. It was a big deal. I found out later that I planted a couple seeds, but at the time it was really painful.

Later, as a more-relaxed Christian, I've had some success letting my life be my witness. I don't try to jam Christianity down anyone's throat any more, but I don't hesitate to share my beliefs, either. I've found that being a good listener opens the door for introducing Christ. I also use Brandon's Daily Prayer program and when someone mentions something in their life that needs prayer, I type out the prayer, then after a time, I tell them that they're on my prayer list and I email the prayer to them. There's something to seeing a prayer in writing, especially if it concerns you.

It would be so helpful if our churches had witnessing instruction. Even witnessing PRACTICE. I've had some really hard arguments come at me and had no idea how to handle them.
 

Abdicate

Beta Tester
The effectiveness of the Church in this chaotic world is directly related to each member?s walk with the Lord, Romans 7.

Matthew 5:13 ?Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.?

So how does this happen? Apathy. Not towards the lost but more towards one?s walk with Christ. Some cannot cease from sin so they stay babes, or return to their own vomit, ineffective to God. Then there?s the seasoned Christian who hasn?t dealt with that hidden area, they may or may not even know about (Psa 139:23-24), again ?going through the motions? instead of via the power of the Spirit (Luk 4:14; Rom 15:19; 1 Cor 2:4).

Since Genesis (17:1) God calls on us believers to ?be perfect?. How can this be? Walking in the Spirit, guided by Him daily. (Rom 8:1,4; Gal 5:16, 25) Why do you think the Lord said to the rich man ??if thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast?? because though the rich man believed God yet he had a hidden spot in his heart that the Lord revealed and he didn?t like that. Maybe he was sincere, maybe he was arrogant, but either way, he wasn?t perfect and Jesus pointed that out.

Christians tend to try to find ?new? solutions or ideas (Ecc 1:9) but it?s the root cause of confusion. Who to believe, what to believe, even how to believe. The Word and the Spirit are all we need in this life, 1 Joh 2:27; 1 Tim 6:6. Why do you think that there are so many versions of the Bible out there? To hide the truth from readers through confusion. People say, ?How do I know this book is better than that book?? If the Christian does not have the power, then all he can say is ?because that?s what I believe.? This is the chief failure of the spiritual leaders in Jesus? time, Mat 22:29; Mat 10; 2 Tim 3:5.

Have you ever been to a crowded place like an airport and saw someone and you just knew that person was a Christian? Or, have you ever looked at someone and just knew what their problems were without having even seen them before? Have you ever been lead by the Spirit to walk up to someone and say, ?God loves you,? and have that person start to weep? Has the Spirit ever put a burden on you to pray, at the moment, for someone 2000 miles away, only to find out that person was just in a car accident? Have you ever had someone answer the door and say, ?Oh my, the Spirit is all over you!? and then act on the movement? These are the kinds of things that the Spirit does. Mat 10.

Everyone on the planet is brainwashed one way or the other. It is only and solely by the power of the Spirit that we are free, Rom 7:25. We fill our times with things of this world instead of meditating on the things of God, Jos 1:8; Psa 77:12; 119; 1 Tim 4:15. This is the singular most important cause of weak ineffective Christians today ? busy with the world, never a dull moment. Where was God?s power in the story of Elijah? In the wind? The earthquake? The fire? No, it was in the still small voice. How many are quiet enough to hear Him? Rev 3:22 Remember the church of Laodiceans is part of the body of Christ. If you need nothing, what need do you have of God? That's when you need Him most, 2 Cor 13:5.

So I leave it at this:
Philippians 4:8-9 ?Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.?

Ephesians 5:15-21 ?See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.?

1 Corinthians 10:31 ?Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.?

Luke 21:36 "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."
 

bgclight

Beta Tester
For the first 35 years of our ministry I was a full time pastor as far as employment was concerned. For the past 22 years I have been a bi-vocational pastor. In addition, I was able to participate nationally in our trade organization as a teacher. (CAI - Association Management of condo's and homeowners associations.)

You are not always as free to speak the things you want to in the public environment, BUT if you live a Godly life they will eventually ask you what's up? After 20 years I am always asked to pray at all of our public gatherings. This allows people more access to come and talk to me about the Lord.

We have a small church where we do market place ministry.

They will know you by your love for them. When I was pastor of a 1500 member church, many of my men would tell me they could not be a committed Christian and a good businessman! What a shame they believed the devil's lie.

Blessings, B.G.
 

worthim

Member
Howdy all,
I'm new to the board, and almost age six in terms of my new born on date! It took me almost 44 years to hear the calling, and it came at the lowest point in my life. All that to say this:

Being available to the weak and weary, the hurting and addicted, the burned and broken, that is a great place to shine the light of Christ. Through the works of "entering in" to the world of someone different from me, and truly empathizing with their plight, can Jesus reach others through my simply being available.

I can blab on about Jesus and His unequaled sacrifice, and it will fall on deaf ears most of the time. I should not stop speaking the Good News though, because through the sharing the seeds are planted. Only God waters and grows and brings forth the fruit from those words... However,

By walking the path of those who are hurting I can be there for them.

I was called out of the darkness of my multiple addictions, and found a great calling in the place where I got help. Addiction Recovery is a place to find a ripe field ready for harvest. It just takes a few courageous men and a place to meet. Jesus will do the rest!

My book on Christian Relationships is free!
 

JoshLive

Member
I have a weekly poker night... that has given me the opportunity to invite men to my home all the time. I can invite anyone at anytime.

I met with the local organization that assists people in the area with AIDS a few weeks ago and that has opened doors to be around people who need Jesus.

I coach my children's basketball teams, and soccer team.

The church I am serving as interim is going to have church at an area halfway house on April 1st. That day we will be replacing some windows, fixing a leaky roof, repairing a bathroom floor that is rotting, and painting much of the interior. This will be our worship... somehow for the last two-hundred or so years it seems to me that Christians have gotten confused... it appears that they think church is something you go to.... I believe it is who we are!

I contacted some artists the other day to ask them how I could help them... I was thinking about having them display art in the church building one month. I am thinking about doing a series about our artistic God.

By the way - this is my first post here... and it may be my last. I know that AIDS, poker, alcoholics, and psychical labor on Sundays are frowned upon by many religions.. I just stumbled onto this board and thought I would give my two cents worth.
 

marty

Beta Tester
What an inspiring, rich thread! You all are doing a great job! I totally agree that being involved in the community is the most effective witness for our Lord. A Spirit-filled church/person just has to reach out - can't help it! It's an involuntary action.
 

RevTim

Beta Tester
By the way - this is my first post here... and it may be my last. I know that AIDS, poker, alcoholics, and psychical labor on Sundays are frowned upon by many religions.. I just stumbled onto this board and thought I would give my two cents worth.
May I kindly say Josh that instead of jumping to conclusions I don't think anyone here could have possibly given you reason to reaching, perhaps you should give us a chance?

What the Lord leads you to do may not be my cup of tea, but if the Lord truly has led you to do that, then that's between you and the Lord.

Rom. 14.

Some might be interested in some of the Scripture for some of what you do, but that's a far cry from being critical.

Blessings.
 
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