Tag Archives: evangelism

What if You Were Going to Live Forever?

In the 1980s, the denomination I served encouraged me to attend a conference on evangelism presented by Evangelism Explosion (known familiarly as EE). This enormously popular approach to personal evangelism was pioneered in the 1960s by D. James Kennedy, the pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, and was and is used throughout the world.
It was hard for a shy introvert like me to strike up conversations with people I didn’t know. It was even harder to strike up conversations about spiritual matters with people I assumed didn’t care. EE was designed to help people start and guide conversations to a particular end: the acceptance of receive Jesus Christ as one’s personal Savior.
At the EE conference, attendees were taught to ask people two questions, designed to coordinate with one another, and both including the prepositional phrase, “if you were to die tonight.” Both questions also included the idea of going to heaven.
There were things about the training I appreciated and things that made me uncomfortable. The discomfort came largely from the similarity between the EE program and programs that teach sales techniques. I wasn’t comfortable with the idea that I was selling Jesus the way the kid at the front door sells vacuum cleaners. It seemed to me that, in both cases, the immediate goal was to get the person on the other side of the door to say yes to something they might not really want and probably didn’t understand.
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Is it Wrong for Christians to Evangelize?

Christ’s spokesmen are not salespeople, trying to talk folks into doing something they would rather not do. Continue reading

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Why I’m Still an Evangelical

In 1987, the controversial Catholic priest Hans Kung famously published a book titled, “Why I am Still a Christian.” For some reason that book, which I read many years ago, came back to my mind recently, and started me thinking … Continue reading

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Give your message “street cred”

When my children were still young and I was pastoring in another city, my wife and I took the kids downtown one Sunday afternoon and walked around the square and up and down the street. Downtown was unusually empty that … Continue reading

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