Evangelism Within The Local And Global Realms Research Paper

Length: 16 pages Sources: 15 Subject: Mythology - Religion Type: Research Paper Paper: #43781624 Related Topics: Global Civilization, Beggars, Exegesis, Charity
Excerpt from Research Paper :

Strategic Evangelism: A Plan

The Biblical and Historical Foundation for Local Church Evangelism

The biblical and historical foundation for local church evangelism can be found in Scripture as well as the history of Christianity from the time of the Apostles to now. In Scripture, for example, we find the various letters written to different churches throughout the realm, where the world's first Christian missionaries had embarked and established local churches. In Acts of the Apostles is described the efforts of these missionaries as they went to spread the Word of God, converting new peoples and dealing with new cultures where outlooks were not always the same as they were in the previous place. Thus, one finds in the Epistles of St. Paul, for instance, various methods of persuasion and advice which are pertinent to those people in that particular place -- and yet which hold a universal significance as well, because deep down human nature is essentially the same regardless of locale.

The special qualities of the Apostles also played a part in how these first missionaries went out to evangelize. As Eusebius notes, St. Luke likely hailed from Syria and, as St. Paul notes, he was outside the circle of the circumcised (meaning he was not a Jew). And yet Luke took upon himself the task of learning the history and culture of the Jews because he knew 1) that Christianity was the fulfillment of the Hebrew Old Testament (so there was a logical reason to learn about the Jews -- for the sake of theological continuity), and 2) that he would be preaching to these people. Thus, the historical foundation for local church evangelism is rooted in catering to the needs of those being evangelized.[footnoteRef:1] The same system applied to the Evangelists whenever they encountered new peoples, whether Greek, Persian, Indian, or Asian. Indeed, Jackson Wu notes that Acts describes "great numbers of converts, as in Antioch (11:21), Iconium (14:1), Derbe (14:21), Thessalonica (17:4), Berea (17:12) and Corinth (18:10)."[footnoteRef:2] While these converts were no doubt due to a tremendous infusion of grace at the outset of the early Church, there was surely some special identification made between the missionaries and the locals -- as for example in Acts 2:6 when the "Galileans" are heard preaching to each in his own tongue. [1: C. Lindberg, A Brief History of Christianity (UK: Blackwell, 2006), 18-20.] [2: Jackson Wu, "There are No Church Planting Movements in the Bible: Why Biblical Exegesis and Missiological Methods Cannot be Separated," Global Missiology English, vol. 1, no. 12 (2014), 1.]

From the historical point-of-view, one finds the spread of Christianity and the establishment of local churches as part of the process of evangelism. For instance, when the New World was discovered, missionaries came from Europe to convert the Native Americans. They did this by establishing local churches and evangelizing each group as they encountered them. Likewise, each group had its own peculiarities which needed to be understood in order for the missionaries to "plant the seeds of faith" so to speak. [footnoteRef:3] Just as the soil must be tilled, so too have evangelists around the world needed to work with the soil of the soul wherever they have gone. Thus, one finds St. Thomas in India, Francis Xavier in Asia, John Winthrop in New England -- each establishing the local church as part of their evangelical directive. [3: Thomas Woods, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (DC: Regnery Publishing, 2005), 2.]

Developing a Strategic Plan

Locally

Even though every locale is unique with its own set of people, there should be unity in so far as the teaching of Jesus Christ is found from one place to the next.[footnoteRef:4] This means that what Christ teaches us is the same no matter where one is and applies to all. How that message...

...

The evangelist is given a pile of cards and must play his hand accordingly. This is an important point to remember in developing a strategic plan for mobilizing a local church in evangelism locally. [4: James Scherer, New Directions in Mission and Evangelization 2: Theological Foundation (NY: Orbis Books, 2008), 14.]

As Kirsteen Kim notes, "the term 'mission' derives from the Latin 'I send'," which implies that the evangelist is being sent by someone else, that he is not simply acting on his own.[footnoteRef:5] The Sender of course is God Himself, who calls each missionary to spread his evangel. [5: Kirsteen Kim, Joining in with the Spirit: Connecting World Church and Local Mission (UK: SCM Press, 2010), 9.]

So what is the pastor's role in evangelism? It is his role to deliver Jesus Christ to the people. How does he do this? When dealing on a local level, the best way is by adopting a strategy that conforms to the needs of the local community. This strategy, while considering the needs of the locals, should also adhere to the overall universal vision of the doctrine of Christ. For this reason, we find in Proverbs 29:18: "Where there is no vision, the people perish." It is the people, ultimately, who must conform to Christ, even as the local mission adapts to meet the immediate needs of the people.

Therefore, the goal of the local church of the local evangelist should be to achieve the goal of Christ. It should be to open the eyes of the locals, who may be blinded by a category mistake when it comes to knowing Who Christ is.[footnoteRef:6] What is the goal of Christ for these unique people? Ultimately, it is to bring them to union with God in Heaven. But how is that to be accomplished? What impediments exist to keep the people of the community from coming in? These impediments are likely to be unique in every situation, but by remembering that human nature is the same no matter where one is, we can safely devise a strategy for any situation.[footnoteRef:7] [6: Brendan Hyde, "A Category Mistake: Why Contemporary Australian Religious Education in Catholic Schools May be Doomed to Failure," Journal of Beliefs and Values: Studies in Religion and Education, vol. 34, no. 1 (2013): 36-45.] [7: DH Pink, Drive: the surprising truth about what motivates us (NY: Riverhead Books, 2011), 3.]

Step One: Do not ask how your church can make a difference in the community. Instead, go to the community and see for yourself. Go to different places, different sources. Be everywhere: show yourself. You are there for the people, not the people for you (so that you might grow a church). It is true that growth is good, but that must happen organically: it is not, in other words, the main goal. The main goal is to connect with the people and ultimately to provide them with tools to fulfill their spiritual needs. The best way to connect is to identify and show that you can build a friendship with them in Christ. There is no need to believe that all that matters is social welfare,[footnoteRef:8] although that may be important on one level; but what matters most is spiritual welfare: economies come and go, but the soul and the spirit are eternal. Go to the hospitals, to the homeless, to the community leaders, to the business leaders, to the schools, to the churches. This will take time, so remember that Rome was not built in a day and do not be in a rush.[footnoteRef:9] Take time to meet everyone. Truly immerse yourself in the world of the community so that you know its needs, its struggles, its good points and its bad. [8: L. Tay, E. Diener, "Needs and subjective well-being around the world," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 101, no. 2 (2011), 354-65.] [9: M. Simon, Dissertation and Scholarly Research: Recipes for Success (WA: Dissertation and Success, 2011), 4.]

Step Two: Prayer. People need to pray and Jesus Christ Himself gave us this example (Luke 5:16). But just as Jesus gave us His example of departing into the wilderness to pray, so too must the evangelist show the community the importance and power of prayer by praying for his community and encouraging them to pray as well. "Pray always" (1 Thes 5:17) says Scripture -- and this can be accomplished by always being in the spirit of grace with God. Through prayer all good things will come. Help will arrive. Schedule regularly planned prayer times in your church so that the community can come together to pray. Make these prayer times frequent throughout the week and keep the church doors open.

Step Three: Train others to help you. The local church needs support from within the community: the evangelist is there to spread the Word of God and bring Christ to people, but the people themselves must also respond and be ready to serve as pillars of the local church. This should be a humbling and beautifying exercise, not a way of pride…

Sources Used in Documents:

Bibliography

Earley, Dave. Evangelism Is: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence.

Nashville: B & H. Academic Publishing Group, 2010.

Hyde, Brendan. "A Category Mistake: Why Contemporary Australian Religious

Education in Catholic Schools May be Doomed to Failure," Journal of Beliefs and Values: Studies in Religion and Education, vol. 34, no. 1 (2013): 36-45.


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