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EFAC Australia

Evangelism

Wei-Han Kuan introduces this Special Edition of Essentials.

You can’t go to Lausanne and not have your ministry changed. Or so I was told by one of its leaders. This edition of Essentials carries several reflections from EFAC members who attended the Third Congress on World Evangelisation, or Lausanne III, in Cape Town, South Africa. It is my hope that you will be encouraged to engage with the Lausanne Movement and appreciate the major role it plays in world evangelicalism.
Stephen Hale gives us his highlights package and pithy overview of what it might mean for evangelism in Australia.
David Williams brings his interest in holistic mission and missionary training to bear on his two reflections: one deals with the persistently vexed relationship between evangelism and social action, and the other with the notion of the shifting centre of global Christianity.
I asked two evangelists, Julie-Anne Laird and Eric Cheung, to respond to their Cape Town experience for us. So we have two perspectives: from a woman and a man, a lay person and a cleric, a university student worker and a parish minister.
Gordon Preece focuses on the ‘evangelism–social action’ chestnut, bringing his passion for workplace ministry to the fore.
Our national chairman, Glenn Davies, blogged during the congress. We carry an edited version of his final day’s reflection. You might be interested to read the entire blog at: www.sydneyanglicans.net
Congress sessions, testimonies, documents, plenary sessions, Bible studies, dramas—the whole lot!—are all available at the Lausanne Movement’s web site: www.lausanne.org

Wei-Han Kuan pastors young adults at St Alfred’s, North Blackburn, and is the editor of Essentials.

You might not have come across the term 'multi-level marketing', but you have certainly had it inflicted on you. The term specifically refers to business structures where the seller is compensated not just for the sales they make, but the sales that your contacts make too - the 'downstream effects'. This will be familiar to most people through networks like Amway or Tupperware, where people involved try to both sell their products to friends and convince them to become sellers, too. Multi-level marketing has been challenged, both morally and legally, for the way in which may sometimes be used to exploit small operators to generate profit. My own concern however, and the focus of this article, is not so much the 'multi-level' aspect as the 'marketing' strategies employed, particularly the implicit concept of using existing social networks to drive sales.

Does this sound familiar to you? Have you heard any of these lines recently?

As an evangelist I am always on the lookout for useful tools to helpfully explain the gospel. But there are some that just make me cringe! In a recent catalogue there was the "Eternity is Forever Pen”:

'The ultimate carry anywhere evangelism tool! Pull out the spring-loaded hidden sheet printed with the Evangecube images to 'Simply Share Jesus' with anyone, anywhere. This incredible pen, starts with a 'wow' and ends with a gospel presentation.'

I can't even begin to describe my horror that people would think this was a good idea. BUT I can understand WHY they produced it. The designers recognise that telling the gospel should be a joyful priority for Christians, and that most people can't do it in any coherent way. So they have a meeting and someone says, "I know!!! We'll make a pen with a scroll out gospel presentation and then Christians will just be able to explain it."

Let me offer something else. I've had the opportunity to tell people the gospel hundreds of times, and so I developed my own gospel diagram. The idea is that I can explain the gospel in under a minute (see Bill Hybels', Just Walk Across the Room) and I just need a serviette and a pen.

  • Governance models of leadership must give priority to evangelism.

    Evangelism must have a seat at the table at every Vestry meeting. Too often the governance models of leadership in Anglican parishes drawn from secular sources (not necessarily a bad thing) but tend to neglect biblical priorities and diocesan regulations, which identify evangelism as an important priority for vestries .
  • Promote staff appointments for a Pastor of Evangelism.


More full-time or part-time, paid or voluntary, appointments need to be made of Pastors for Evangelism. New and broader portfolios for holistic evangelism need to be developed to secure ongoing and long term commitment to parish evangelism.

One of the trade-offs of living this close to shrubbery and paddocks and endless stretches of rough-hewn bushland is that you settle for bad coffee. The spectrum of what constitutes 'adequate arabica' becomes embarrassingly broad, when it once was unswervingly narrow (read: I used to live on Lygon Street, inner city Melbourne).

And so the thought of converting such baristas and/or café owners (those ones who touted their substandard wares) was not unproblematic. Did I have the requisite patience, and more to the point did my tastebuds have the requisite stamina, to withstand the onslaught? Would I be able to look a non-Christian friend in the eye again, when he'd clearly conflated the quality of the gospel with the quality of coffee I'd just bought him? Could I debase myself by chugging down litres of bad coffee, all in the name of Christ? Surely St. Paul's “libation” in Philippians 2:17 meant something else? And these were just the reasons not to evangelise.

“I haven’t mentioned my faith, I just don’t think I have a good enough relationship yet?”. Maybe you have heard this statement or said it yourself. When is enough relationship enough to share your faith? Navigating complex relationships cannot be reduced to a three point, step by step plan. Believers need to make their own sound judgments as to how to gauge the point in the relationship that gospel conversation is appropriate. However, when it does come to that appropriate time to share their faith, do members of our churches know what to do?

Relationship is important in personal evangelism, especially to Generation X (born in the 60’s-80’s). Generational consultant, Graham Codrington in his book Mind The Gap reflects on this pragmatic generation born into a divorce boom. He states: “Many an Xer spent every second weekend at their other parents home and saw a profusion of different family relationships such as ‘dad’s girlfriend’ and ‘mums ex-husband’. No wonder Xers are skeptical about relationships, yet feel a need to fill the void with something else. This has turned out to be surrogate families made up of friends and peers who are chosen for their closeness, loyalty and dependable relationships.”

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