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The old, old story is still good, good news Print E-mail
By Ken Satterfield

I can tell complete strangers about my boys’ accomplishments. I’m happy to tell you where I went to eat, bore you to tears about my favorite television programs and rush to share a favorite joke. I freely share about annoying aches and embarrassing en­counters.

So why don’t I do a better job of sharing my faith?

According to the Southern Bap­tist Con­ven­tion’s 2007 Annual Church Profile statistics, there was a ratio of one baptism per 47 members. At least three-quarters of SBC churches are either plateaued or declining.

Bo Prosser, coordinator of congregational life at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship cites predictions that between 50,000 and 60,000 congregations will close within the next two decades. 

In They Like Jesus But Not the Church, author Dan Kim­ball es­tablishes that the longer a person is a Christian, the less likely one is to have significant friendships with non-Christians.

Maybe I’m waiting for the gift of evangelism to kick in…except that the Bible never says that telling others about Christ is a specialized gift.

The Holy Spirit enables different people to utilize various methods in sharing their faith. Many evangelism resources exist to help us in sharing the news of Jesus through organizations and encyclopedic sites like EvangelismToolbox.com for various formats and cultures. 

TheGoodNews.org, is sponsored by the North American Mission Board. As mentioned last month, it is a collection of gos­pel presentations and testimonies, resources and instructions on inserting a Flash gos­pel presentation on your site.

Some of the presentations are from The American Tract Society (atstracts.org or 800-548-7228). Printed tracts can be a tool to present the gospel in a compelling way — unless you choose to leave one in lieu of a restaurant tip! The site offers a variety of topical subjects, some free tracts and guidance on how to best to use tracts. 

There is also Good News Tracts (crossway.org) for printed tracts, and di­­gital tracts at CyberTracts.net (in­cluding a birthday-related one).

Other items can also be used to explain the gospel story? Objects, such as specially-designed balls, gloves and other sports equipment also help ex­plain the plan of salvation (e3resources.org or 888-354-9411).

Sports have been described as a bridge to reach 96 percent of the population, whether active or not. It can involve a church softball league or sponsoring community evangelistic sports camps and leagues through Upward.org or the Missouri-based SportsCrusaders.org (866-482-9833). 

See the OnMission article at snipurl.com/onmission-sports for more ideas. Other articles related to evangelism can be found at christianitytoday.com/outreach

Maybe you would like to help people seeking Christ from the comfort of your own home. NAMB’s Evangelism Response Center (erconline.net or 770-410-6383) will forward calls from others seeking prayer and spiritual counseling to homes based on toll-free numbers and Internet addresses in advertisements and articles.

If your church is seeking an evangelist, you can find one at the Fellowship of Missouri Bap­tist Evangelists, mobaptistevangelists.org or 417-336-1367. (And take time to share a 90th birthday message for evangelist Billy Graham before Nov. 1 at billygraham.org.) Or, if you want to be an evangelist through the example of “small things done with great love,” visit servantevangelism.com.

It has been said that you are the only Bible some people will ever read. The ideas in this column are just a fragment of the tools, methods and encouragement that are available. The true key comes down to a concern for others and a desire to act in ways that respect them and our message, with the Holy Spirit’s guidance. It is then that we win the right to be heard.

Media and the Internet columns are a regular feature of Word&Way. Direct questions or comments to ksatterfield @wordandway.org.
 
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