As part of my preparation for attending Cape Town 2010 I’ve been reading the advance papers. The latest is A Fresh Approach To Witness For The 21st century by Rebecca Manley Pippert & Bishop Benjamin A. Kwashi. Below are a few highlights and then my comments:
I loved the starting point of this article:
The relevance of the opening line of Rebecca’s book Out of the Salt Shaker remains the same, even after 30 years: Christians and non-Christians have something in common: we’re both uptight about evangelism.
They sum up the challenges for evangelism under three headings:
- Getting the Story Straight
- Getting the Story Out
- Taking the Story In
Alongside this though, and most importantly they highlight that:
There has been a tendency in the West to focus evangelism training on simply learning techniques. But techniques do not motivate us at a deeper level. Nor are they effective in building authentic relationships. This isn’t to diminish the importance of offering practical help. But the practical must be framed within a deeper theological understanding. Our effectiveness in witness does not come from learning new methods but from understanding the message. Our freedom to witness comes from understanding the author of the message, God Himself! In other words, our theology must impact our methodology. Understanding the character of God will be the deepest motivation possible for witness. Knowing Christ well drives us to want to make Him well known.
They then discuss potential changes to personal evangelism, small group evangelism and proclamation evangelism. The critical point though is the need for Christians to understand the meta-narrative, the love story, which reminds them afresh of why they became a Christian and enthuses them to share their faith with their friends.