Monday, September 02, 2013

BookPastor >> "The Complete Evangelism Guidebook"

TITLE:Complete Evangelism Guidebook, The: Expert Advice on Reaching Others for Christ
AUTHOR: Dann Stadler
PUBLISHER: Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2013, (208 pages).

Want to do evangelism and not know how? Is there more than one way to evangelize? Of course, but what are they? What about a book of best practices from different gurus or experts conveniently arranged for one to learn from? Enters the "Complete Evangelism Guidebook" which covers a range of evangelism opportunities, cultures, methodologies, all based upon the central call of Jesus in the Great Commission. The key idea in the book is that sharing the gospel is not difficult. All it takes for anyone who wants to evangelize is to have a personal relationship with Jesus. It's that simple.

Structure of the Book

Part One is about "Sharing Your Faith" through defining, demonstrating, declaring, and defending your faith. Luis Palau reminds all of us that faith needs to be cultivated constantly with the believer asking, "Who is the object of our faith?" Timothy George talks about the six erroneous ways that kept people away from the true faith. Rick Marshall reminds us once again that Christianity is less about a religion but more about a relationship with Jesus. Steve Sjogren insists that in evangelism, one needs to show the faith before telling. Well known researcher of trends, George Barna gives his take on how relevant evangelism still is today. Rick Warren maintains the importance of using our life testimony as a critical part of the evangelism message. Mike Silva shows readers some everyday illustrations on how easy it is to share Christ in our daily lives. Realizing that there are often obstacles that require defending the faith, six other contributors share some ways with regards to apologetics.

If Part One of the book contains more general questions about the faith, Part Two asks the more specific questions. The section on "relationship groups" tackle issues with sharing the gospel to family, friends, co-workers, couples, neighbours, classmates, or even total strangers. Many ideas are highlighted, such as impromptu writing of letters or emails to friends; building bridges with our neighbours; living Christlike at home; or just find creative connecting points with total strangers. By "age groups," the way evangelism can be done also varies. Whether it is to senior adults, baby boomers, youths, or children, the key is to know our audience as specifically as possible so that we can share the gospel as specifically and relevant as possible. The section about "Vocation" is very interesting. People in the arts will appreciate the sharing of lives and their arts as a shared experience, meaning the way is through uncovering and revealing, rather than mere telling. People in atheletics are results-driven and will respect others who have accomplished well.  In business, we can take our faith to work through intentional relationship and honest work. In education, there is a worldview battle going on, with respect and care not to proselytize openly, something to be learned. The section on other religious beliefs is also very informative. From other religions like Hinduism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and others, to the New Age spiritualities, we learn of the different ways to handle objections, misunderstandings, or mere skepticism. Knowing the potholes to avoid and the opportunities available is critical to having a good sharing. Thom Rainer makes the collection complete by reaching out to people in Churches too, maintaining that not all Church goers are automatically Christians. Other sections cover race, life situations, and sexual orientations, making this book a very comprehensive coverage all within a 400 page book.

So What?

This is a reference or guidebook for anyone desiring to know more about how to evangelize in a pluralistic society. If you are looking for ideas, desiring to ignite your spiritual passion for evangelism, or simply wanting to learn how to share the gospel, this book is a good way to start. With more than 70 short articles, there will be something that will strike a chord in any reader's mind and heart. Readers may find certain articles more practical or useful than others. Whatever it is, the articles have been neatly arranged so that readers can quickly locate what they want to know. Having said that, while it is not necessary to read this book from cover to cover, it is highly possible that we may require more than one article in order to craft our own evangelistic message. Sometimes, we may even need to combine the different ideas in the different sections. For example, how do we share the gospel to someone of a different religion, working in a different company, or staying at a different neighbourhood? Or what do we say to someone with a different sexual orientation, where they have already judged us as bigots more than believers in Christ? One thing is for sure. Read this book with lots of care. Put the ideas into practice with lots of prayer. That is the way to use this book.

Rating: 5 stars of 5.


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