Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Show and Tell

If there's a continuum between evangelism and discipleship (see this post for more on this teeter-totter effect), I naturally lean more towards discipleship. That doesn't mean I neglect evangelism in my ministry--the Gospel is absolutely central to everything I do and teach--but it does mean I have to be more intentional to speak explicitly on evangelism and to engage people who don't know Jesus yet.

I'm also wondering what evangelism really is, and what it isn't. We'll be discussing evangelism with the junior high students on Sunday mornings in a series I'm calling Show and Tell. There is a tension between sharing the Gospel with our actions and with our words. We've heard Francis of Assisi's famous quote, "preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words," suggesting that we reveal the Gospel mostly with our actions and lifestyle. Yet it's vitally important that we talk about the Jesus that we're following and how others can enter His kingdom. We've got to show Jesus and tell people about Jesus.

I've been trying to round up solid resources and books on evangelism that will make sense to a junior high students, to no avail. (When asked about the best book he's read on evangelism, Kyle our college director replied, "the Gospel of John."). The best recent book I have read is George Hunter's The Celtic Way of Evangelism, which was quite insightful.

So, Internet world, if you have any great books on evangelism for youth ministry, let me know!


  1. Brian Hope spoke on this very topic on Sunday. He very much disagrees with Assisi's quote. I 80% agree with it, and %100 love it.

  2. Not to sound self-promotional... but I work for YS and we have some good stuff, you know? I'm reading through Rahn/Linhart's "Evangelism Remixed" and it's a really good follow-up to their earlier work. I love the research stuff... not just a model for "how to" but more wrestling with the values expressed by the students and "why" of evangelism.

    I've had a tendency to lean HEAVY on discipleship because I was taught that good discipleship leads to students reaching their peers for Christ. Unfortunately, and this is what lead to that teeter totter discussion... I've never seen students get good at that!

    Cool thoughts. I'm looking forward to more discussion on this. :)