Category Archives: Evangelism

Losing A Generation: are we?

I came across a blog earlier today that had a couple posts explaining that the younger generations of Americans have become less and less interested in Christianity. The two posts he wrote on this topic each dealt with one of the reasons that he suspects for this shift. The two reasons he gave were parents having interfaith marriages and not going to church regularly.

While it is clear that there are not as many young people professing to be Christians as there were in the past, I wonder what this actually means. Does it mean that there are less Christians, or less professing Christians? If there are less Christians then we can start asking why that is, but I think that it may be inaccurate to make the leap from less professing Christians to less actual Christians.

For quite awhile Christianity held a strong hand on culture. People went to church, they said grace, they tried not to swear around the pastor. Was that good? I don’t know. It was what it was, but it certainly did not mean that those people had surrendered their lives to Christ. It may have meant that a lot more people had a false sense of security in their religious observations that made them confident that they were going to Heaven because mom and dad went to church and they were members of “First Baptist.”

It’s not that way anymore. Maybe this means that less people are Christians, maybe it just means that the traditions of earlier generations’ Christianity are no longer relevant. I can’t say what it means, but to think that there was a “good ol’ days” of Christianity seems a bit inaccurate. It is important to separate the actual beliefs from the cultural traditions.

To deal with the second part of this: why do young people not seem interested in Christianity, I can’t give some definitive answer, but I think it is a little more complex than interfaith parents and non-churchgoing parents. I had both. I believe. Christianity is about God touching your heart with the truth of the Gospel and you surrendering your life to that truth. It is not inherited from parents and if it is forced on kids by their parents it isn’t real. So maybe it has to do with the fact that the church is more tied up with the gospel of traditions than it is with reaching people with the gospel of Christ. Maybe it has something to do with fundamentalism, and the church running away and hiding in caves while the world moved on. Maybe it is because certain people believe and certain people don’t. It’s all speculation. All we can do is share the gospel of Christ with the people around us, young or old, and live out the love and truth of that Gospel in our relationships with those people. They may have interfaith parents, they may have never gone to church. I don’t see how that matters in the least.

Advertisements

Preach For Change

This is another installment in my Christian How To series.

I am not a preacher. I have no intention of becoming a preacher. But, I did go to Bible College and I picked up a few tricks about preaching while I was there. Out of the generosity of my heart I will pass those secrets along to you, my readers.

The most important thing about preaching is the ability to not only convince people you are right but to convince them to change based on your good ideas. Although there are lots of things preachers talk about from the pulpit, they mostly all fall under just a few categories. I have created a list of generic topic categories and how, through your preaching,  you can convince people to change in each of these areas. I hope it is helpful!

CATEGORY

APPROACH

MONEY
This category covers a lot, from supporting missionaries, to giving a regular tithe. It just seems that the average churchgoer doesn’t give enough at church and needs a little prodding to get this done.
TIME
Like money, this category is broad. You need the people to give as much of their time as possible for missions, ministries, folding bulletins, or whatever else, but, unfortunately people normally like spending their spare time with family doing fun things.
EVANGELISM
Everyone is supposed to do it. No one seems to want to. Every good pastor knows that it is important to emphasize this requirement for the Christian life. There are literally billions of people who have never heard the gospel.
BIBLE READING
You don’t necessarily want your people reading the Bible all the time or else they may start to question some of your teachings and start to develop their own theological opinions, but for a good showing you have to encourage them to knock the dust off the ‘Good Book’ every once in a while.
PRAYING
Maybe you are reformed and think praying is more about conforming our will to God’s, or maybe you are Pentecostal and need your people to pray with more faith for that jet you need to spread the gospel across beautiful tropical locations. Whatever it is, we all agree prayer is important.
CHURCH ATTENDANCE
This is the end-all be-all of your job. Getting people to come back and fill those seats. If you can’t get them coming back then you are going to be out of work, and how will they know how to live Christian lives if you are not there to hold their hand? Get them coming back, get them to bring their friends, and get them to any and all services you can.

You can read other installments in the ‘How To’ series here:


Statistically Speaking: We’re Heathens! (but we like it that way!)

I guess only about 32% of Mainers "go to church"

And only about 17% of people in York county are "Evangelical Protestants"

So I came across these statistic maps via a tweet by @graceground run by Jeremy Myers. Now, as you can see, Maine is not an incredibly “churched” state, and my county is one of the least “Evangelical” in the whole state (Alan, notice this is with the exception of Knox County). I remember during my time at Bible College how this was looked upon in such a negative light. I was often asked what it was like being from somewhere so “Unchristian” and “Liberal” and how difficult it was to share Christ in such a “harsh spiritual environment.” Well, when I look at these maps I think sort of differently (as I tend to do on many things!). I see that there are far fewer people here indoctrinated and drugged into spiritual-coma by the mass American Christian machine. I know that sounds a bit harsh, and maybe even Conspiracy Theoristic, and maybe it’s a bit over the top, but honestly it makes things much easier to be around people who are religiously “blank slates” and haven’t already learned all the church lingo and “right” answers, and are willing to say “I think that Christian stuff is a bunch of crap.” You can work with that. People don’t have any cultural, political, or career oriented motivations to pretend they are Christians, so they don’t. When they do say they believe it is usually legit and there is rarely much that they need to be untaught from cultural Christianity since they simply have not experienced it.

I was talking with a friend once. I asked him what he thought of the Gospel. He said, “whats that?” to which I replied, “you know Jesus on the cross and everything.” To which he responded (I promise this is true!) “I don’t know anything about Jesus, the only time I have ever heard His name is when my dad says ‘Jesus Christ!’.” That is what I mean by a “blank slate.” So after we talked about God creating humanity, humanity disobeying God, and God providing redemption to humanity through Christ, and after he surrendered to follow Christ in his life, he was a sponge ready to soak up anything and everything he could about God, The Bible, The Church, Jesus, Being a Christian, and so on. It is awesome to be able to disciple someone who doesn’t have to be untaught so much Cultural Christian baggage.  It is the coolest thing to see a person like that pick up a Bible and read John 3:16 as part of John 3 as part of the Book of John, without even skipping a beat.

Honestly, sometimes, a lot of times, I feel bad for people living in the more “Christianized” areas of our country. It seems like beliefs can be so much more convoluted and unclear when Christianity is so culturally prominent.


Dave King: Conversations w/ Friends

This is the first of hopefully a series of videos, Conversations with Friends. In this video I sit down with my grandfather-in-law Dave King and talk about his work in Ukraine, what he’s been learning as he prepares to teach a homiletics class, and how God ordained the ice storm of ’98 to get him on the mission field. As I said, this is the first of a hopeful series so please feel free to share your thoughts, how I can improve these, is it too long, too short, or whatever other suggestions you might have. Thanks!

daveandjoanking.org


Ministry to the Poor: a very helpful resource

Keith Giles at subversive1 lives in Orange County California where he ministers to folks in need. He has written a very practical series of articles, based on his experience, on how to reach out to these folks. He aptly titles this series How to Start a Ministry to the Poor in Your Community.

If you’re anything like me the easiest excuse to avoiding ministering to those in need is that I don’t know how, I don’t know where to begin, I don’t know how to approach it and another million ways of saying I don’t know what I’m doing. Well if you would like to hold on to that excuse then don’t read Keith’s posts. If you honestly want to serve the poor, and have struggled to know how to approach it then please DO read these posts. They will really help you get the ball rolling.

Keith has given permission for anyone to use this information, print it out, share it with your church, or whatever. Check out this resource and share it with others. We have no excuses not to care for those in need around us.


%d bloggers like this: