Summary: Evangelism to those who have an animistic worldview or set of assumptions or perspectives
STEPS TO BRINGING ANIMISTS TO CONVERSION AND BEYOND
Guidelines - 1. Pray specifically that the Spirit of God would open their eyes to turn from darkness to light and the from the dominion of Satan to God. Paul prayed this prayer of Acts 26:18 to help people find Christ as the only One who can give forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
2. Win the people’s trust through farming, assisting, serving, supplying, and teaching the people according to their felt and perceived needs. Oft-times the needs that the missionaries want to meet are not the needs that the people consider priorities. One can only know these needs by observing, researching, and developing relationships with insiders.
3. Aim for a change of allegiances from idols to Christ and His word. Animists are ready to adopt a legalistic system, like Islam, if it promises something. However, oft-times these adoptions are superficial in nature. People must be introduced to the full attributes of the living Christ. Move people through stories that are people oriented, who like Zacchaeus in Luke 17 find fulfillment in Him.
4. Bring people to a true knowledge of God the great creator. Animists often have a hierarchy of gods, but often are eager to know more about the Creator of All. Take them through the passages in Genesis explaining the creation of man by the word of His power. It is through these gradual steps that people will become acquainted with Who God is.
5. Point out the essential differences between the kingdom of Satan and the kingdom of God. All men are going to spend eternity either in hell or heaven. It all depends if they are willing to place their faith in Christ for the substitutionary payment for sins. Often, animists do not realize how Satan has subtly infiltrated their traditional religious beliefs to confuse them. Do not condemn their beliefs, but point out how their fears, divisions, and fighting can be alleviated through the greater power of Christ.
6. Demonstrate how the power of Christ in a Christian is greater than the powers of this world. (I John 4:4) Often animists are afraid of the spirits. They are intimidated by the spirits who can cause diseases, accidents, and disasters. Show the people how Christ overcame all the forces of nature (wind, sea, and crop failures). Demonstrate how prayer can bring healing. Give people visual lessons through films, filmstrips, and videos of how Jesus can deliver people from hell, darkness, and bondage to spirits.
7. Use the Old Testament to show animists how others struggled to trust God completely. The true accounts of people’s lives in the O.T. are great examples of how God dealt with the obedient and disobedient. However, always interpret the Old Testament in light of what the New Testament is saying. Revelation in the scriptures is progressive in nature.
8. Bring adequate warnings to animists about the consequences of refusing to believe in Christ and obey Him. Animists are responsive to warnings of judgment, death, and punishment in the after life. They are in need of realizing that one will miss many blessings for continued disobedience. Help them to see that God uses both negative warnings as well as positive rewards to transform people into His likeness.
9. Appeal to solutions to real problems of the animists. Animists struggle with spirits, sickness, fear of oppression, fear of being forgotten, shame, disgrace, guilt, anxieties, worries, loss of power, loss of face, and loss of contact with life giving forces. Only a relationship with Jesus Christ through the filling of His Holy Spirit empowered by the word of God brings relief.
10. Teach the animists that the charms, idols, or priests are not important as Christ. Animists are like the woman at the well in John 4. They associate worship with a religious place, object, or people. However, true worship is done in spirit and in truth. It is summarized in a relationship with Christ. Do not hold up Christ,the scriptures, the church building, or even the Pastor as a charm who can be used to gain divine favor. Christ is known through study of His word, prayer, obedience, and fellowship with Him in spirit.
11. Help animists see that no atoning sacrifice is sufficient for sins except Christ. Often animists use chickens, goats, and even human body parts to sacrifice to idols. These are vain attempts to appease the wrath of God for our sins. Only the blood of Jesus shed on Calvary’s cross can atone for our past, present, and future sins. Like the song, we want to teach, "Who can wash away my sins, nothing but the blood of Jesus. Who can make me whole again, nothing but the blood of Jesus."
12. Help animists see that growth will be hindered if sins are not confessed and forsaken. Syncretistic beliefs will serve as an obstacle to fellowship with the Lord and His power. Many animists want the best of many beliefs, but Jesus said, "No man can serve two masters, for you will love the one and hate the another."