Illustration results for Personal Evangelism
I conducted a personal survey for an evangelism course in seminary, examining the ways people come to faith in Christ. The single most influence in leading people to Christ? By far, it was the parents. Behind parents came pastors, youth pastors, Sunday School teachers, adults of the church. The influence of the adult members of the church upon our youth cannot be over-emphasized. In the Methodist church, we even have it built into our baptismal rituals. Each time a baby or young child is baptized, we all commit together once again to take an active part in their nurture and spiritual growth.
Have you ever thought seriously about your influence upon others? What would be your highs and lows?
Generation Gap Many of today’s young people, unlike their parents, have never known anything but a world dominated by technology. Even their social lives revolve around the Web, iPods, and cellphones. So they dress down, talk loose, and reveal their innermost thoughts online. The result is a generation that doesn’t have the same concept of privacy, manners, and personal boundaries as generations before. On top of that, they don’t care as much about making a good impression as their parents and grandparents did growing up, says San Diego State University Professor Jean Twenge. In ‘99, 76% of kids ages 8 to 12 (now in high school or college) paid little attention to social approval, up from 57% in ‘70. Among college students in ‘01, it was 62%, compared with 56% in ‘70. This generation uses technology to facilitate relationships and interactions in a way other generations never have. They can have 3 or 4 parallel tech-enabled conversations while ignoring someone else sitting in the same room. Adults may believe that young people don’t care about social standards, but they do, says syndicated columnist Judith Martin, better known as Miss Manners. “Young people care deeply about the norms and practices of their contemporaries,” she says. They just don’t understand “that the standards of adults affect them.” (USA Today 6/20/06)
Eternity4all.com allows users to build a personal Internet space using 10 photos, 3 one-minute movies, and 3 texts, with the option to update as desired. Once a user makes his or her personal space public, it’s published and saved on the company’s system for “eternity.” An impressive claim! (Springwise Newsletter 4/11/06)
Excellent Congregations: Excellent Protestant Congregations, by Paul Wilkes and published by Westminster John Knox Press identified the following 26 common traits among the "excellent" protestant congregations.
1. A vibrancy about living a Christian life...living on the creative and holy edge of the New Testament...being a Christian is not a leisure activity but an adventure.
2. Entrepreneurial...risk-takers, self-starters, use what works and put aside that which does not.
3. Draws philosophically, rather than geographically or denominationally, by the spirit of a living and present God.
4. Reach beyond their comfort zone...not afraid of being uncomfortable and ask tough questions of themselves.
5. Regularly evaluate themselves...for effectiveness.
6. Have a clear, yet changing, sense of mission...a vision of where they want to be and willingness to redirect energies to be effective in their community and people’s lives.
7. Willingness to break up and reassemble...put aside old structures and coalitions when necessary to move forward.
8. Unafraid of being vulnerable and making mistakes.
9. Laity are integral in leadership...competence and a desire to serve, the ability to learn, the humility to admit mistakes and the courage to continue despite setbacks are more important prerequisites for leadership than formal training and ordination.
10. Preach and practice forgiveness and acceptance.
11. Relationship evangelism...personal contact is the key...most new people come to the church through word of mouth...friend, co-worker and neighbor.
12. See themselves as a unique community...not as a franchise of their denomination or even Christianity.
13. In transforming the culture, hold government, agencies and institutions accountable...see their work as not only serving their constituency but also transforming the world around them.
14. Believe in partnerships with other churches, agencies and interest groups.
15. Offer an ascent to God, a relationship...provide the tools and support to forge a real, living and enduring relationship with God.
16. Traditional without being traditionalist...their tradition is a beginning, a springboard, not a wall, not a barrier.
17. The Bible is at their core.
18. Innovative about different spiritual approaches.
19. Tailor liturgies and programs to various constituencies...reject one-size-fits-all approach.
20. Powerful, life-situation preaching...pa...
A Barna study finds 65% of U.S. teens recall learning about moral and ethical standards in the last 12 months; 62% relationships, 55% faith traditions and 50% personal evangelism. Fewer recall church teachings on media, movies and TV within the last year (35%); money and finances (30%); the supernatural world (28%); leisure activities (27%); government and law (26%); art and music (22%); health issues (21%); and technology (9%). 26% of teens and 39% of born-again Christian teens say they learned something about their faith or spirituality online in the last 6 months. 16 % of teens and 25% of born-again teens said they had “a spiritual experience” online where they worshipped or connected with God. (Barna Group 10/8/07)
JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES AND MORMONS
New studies reveal most adult Witnesses have made a personal commitment to Christ they consider important in their life, but only 10% base their hope of salvation on a confession of sins and acceptance of Jesus as savior. 61% of Jehovah’s Witnesses, vs. 42% of born-again adults, strongly believe Satan exists. Jehovah’s Witnesses are also more likely than born-agains to argue that Jesus lived a sinless life on earth (77% vs. 63%). 33% of Mormons claim to be born-again, but some evangelical leaders are troubled that Mormons’ refuse to trust wholly on God’s grace and forgiveness through Christ as the only means to salvation. A majority of Mormons believe a good person can earn their way into heaven. More than 90% have made a personal commitment to Christ they describe as important in their life; 90% say their religious faith is very important in their life; 66% affirm the sinless life of Christ on earth; and more than 50% believe Satan exists. 74% of Jehovah’s Witnesses and 64% of Mormons say they have a personal responsibility to share their faith with others, while 54% of born-agains have that same conviction. 88% of Witnesses believe the Bible is completely accurate vs. 71% of born-agains and 32% of Mormons.
(Barna Update 5/1/08)
New Rules Barna Research Group has identified the following New Rules for the next generation. Some will encourage you, others will cause alarm.
1. Personal relationships count. Institutions don’t.
2. The process is more important than the product.
3. Aggressively pursue diversity among people.
4. Enjoying people and life opportunities is more important than productivity, profitability, or achievement.
5. Change is good.
6. The development of character is more crucial than achievement.
7. You can’t always count on your family to be there for you, but it is your best hope for emotional support.
8. Each individual must assume responsibility for his or her own world.
9. Whenever necessary, gain control—and us it wisely.
10. Don’t waste time searching for absolutes. There are none.
11. One person can make a difference in the world, but not much.
12. Spiritual truth may take many forms.
13. Express rage.
14. Life is hard and then we die; but because it’s the only life we’ve got, we may as well endure it, enhance it, and enjoy it as best we can.
15. Technology is our natural ally. (Generation NEXT)
In fact, I want to take a look for a moment at an interesting chain of events in Christian history.
• Sunday School teacher Edward Kimball helped lead Dwight L. Moody to Christ;
• J. Wilbur Chapman attended a Dwight L. Moody evangelistic meeting in Chicago in the 1870’s and received personal counseling and an assurance of his salvation from Mr. Moody. He later became a friend and coworker of DL Moody, hiring a former baseball star named Billy Sunday as an advance man for him;
• Billy Sunday held an evangelistic campaign in Charlotte in 1924 and a men’s prayer and fellowship group, originally known as the Billy Sunday Layman’s Evangelistic Club and later renamed as Charlotte Businessmen’s Club (CBMC), grew out of those meetings It was this group that invited Mordecai Ham to Charlotte to hold evangelistic meetings in 1934;
• Mordecai Ham preached a sermon where a 16 year-old young man now known as Billy Graham went forward and received Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior;
• And, Billy Graham has preache...
Tips For Effective Web Sites Customer Relationship Management, 5/00, features an article by Michelle Delio that recounts 10 key elements every successful commercial web site must address.
1. Make It Sticky: “Stickiness” is what causes people to come back to a site frequently. Make sure your log analysis allows you to determine how long each visitor stays at your site, how often they return and what drew their attention.
2. Make It Easy: Let visitors find what they need and do what they want easily. Don’t structure information in a way that only makes sense to insiders.
3. Make It Private: Post privacy policies that detail what type of information is being collected and how it will be used. Ensure information security.
4. Make It Easy: The point is to turn prospects into customers and customers into loyal clients by giving them the information they need in an easily navigated format. The site should be designed to gently lead people to where you want them to go.
5. Make It Personal: For a crash course on how to make it customer friendly, spend some time at Amazon.com, the site that attracts 1/3 of all Internet shoppers. Amazon President, Jeff Bezos advises, customer service is most important thing in any business and even more so for online ventures, because “customers have more power online.”
6. Make It Work: Careful site management engenders trust.
7. Make It Strong: Call centers and fulfillment services are the most vulnerable components of the Internet selling chain. Ask, what effect will the doubling of normal traffic have on your response rate, levels of service and shipping service?
8. Make It Professional: Jupiter Communications recent research finds that 46% of all web sites sent a service oar product query via e-mail failed to respond within 5 days¾if at all¾or did not have contact details on their site for customer queries. Implement multi-channel automated strategies to retain existing customers and attract new ones.
9. Make It Win-Win: The ability to act fast on data gathered is what differentiates an e-business from a corporation that simply has a web site. Design the process so well that customers will feel grateful when you give them opportunities to add items to their shopping cart.
10. Make It Interactive: Leverage the strengths of the medium. As Amazon’s Bezos says, “if you can do everything that you’re doing offline, then why are you doing it on the Internet?”
Essentially, it’s all about creating trust, something that is in dwindling supply in today’s culture.
Mega-Trends That Shape Future: The Brand Futures Group has identified 10 mega-trends that will define the next decade.
(1.) Generation blur, new work and lifestyles for 30& 40 year olds. Life-stage, not demographics, will be the most important criterion for market segmentation.
(2.) Evolution from green to blue. Companies must be seen as doing good, not just doing no harm.
(3.) Need for security and privacy. The home will be seen as a fortress against Big Brother.
(4.) No-brow culture. The rise of discount retailers has prompted the rise of the anti-status customer.
(5.) Redolent respite. Aromatherapy, as a stress coping strategy, helped drive $2 billion in candles and accessories sales in ’98.
(6.) "Glocal" style. Consumers of the future are likely to assimilate global trends, yet remain loyal to their locality.
(7.) Globalization, not Americanization. Trends now travel two ways, not just from the U.S. outward.
(8.) Cyber-shopping in down times. The Internet is 24/7. Most personal tasks will be taken care of online.
(9.) The Big Shrink. We’re already seeing a decline of the "more is more" mindset.(10.) Taking it personally. Signature everything. Think mass customization. (Training and Development, 4/00)