A Good Friday Reminder – Jesus Changes Lives

CardBoard_Testimony

One challenge to shortening a personal testimony is to get at this core question:

What difference has Jesus made in your life?

As I watched this video below, I was struck by the power of the cross.  Real lives changed by a real Jesus.

This is what Jesus does.

Jesus transforms a life.

Jesus gives hope.

Jesus redeems the past.

On this Good Friday, remember afresh what the Lord has done for you.  Being a follower of Jesus is not simply agreement to some theological point.  It’s a living relationship with the God who can heal you, save you, and redeem you.

This Good Friday, remember the treasure we have.

 

Conference: Personal Evangelism for Ordinary People February 28, 2015

Imagine:

  • You confidently answer a question about why you follow Jesus.
  • Your friend asks you how you became a Christian and you give a clear story.
  • You share the gospel story without being tongue-tied.

I once met a church member who felt that evangelism was not doable because he felt he had

  • no talent,
  • no skill,
  • nor verbally eloquent like his pastor.

My friend lacked any confidence that he could witness to anyone.

Maybe you feel the same way. You find personal evangelism intimidating. You would rather clean a pig sty instead of talking about Jesus to your friends.

I was.

Learn how Personal Evangelism can be Natural

Speaking at Your Evangelism EventThe Personal Evangelism for Ordinary People seminar will help you overcome those natural fears and find fresh freedom in sharing your faith.

As you go through the seminar with Chris Walker, you’ll

  • Learn to recognize God given moments to talk about your faith
  • Discover evangelism can be as normal and natural as breathing.
  • Find and develop the four core evangelism skills you need, even if you don’t know your Bible.

Discover a compassion for the lost and learn how to share your faith.

This seminar is designed to give you a clear understanding of personal evangelism which results in a compassion that swallows fear and equips you to be effective in everyday life.

It’s designed to move you from clumsy to confident in just ONE day.

Coming to Richmond Virginia, February 28, 2015

If you live in or near the Richmond Virginia area you don’t want to miss this FREE event. . . .

Chris will help you find the same confidence that has helped him talk about his faith in Christ to anyone who asks. He used to be the obnoxious evangelist no one wants to be and has learned core skills to make evangelism accessible to you.


The seminar dispelled the fears associated with evangelism. Both personal stories and Biblical truth provided a framework from which to proceed in making sharing my faith conversationally more a part of my lifestyle.

I would highly recommend this class to anyone with a heart for becoming more verbal in their witness. — Participant


Come to learn some of the practical ways Chris has discovered to share your faith out of his research, study, and first hand real life experience from serving as a local pastor, planting two churches and doing evangelism work cross culturally in 9 different countries.

Date:

Saturday, February 28, 2015

9:00a – 4:00p

Registration opens at 8:30am.

Location:

Westminster Presbyterian Church, Richmond Virginia

4103 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230


View Larger Map

Cost:

This personal evangelism seminar is free. It is sponsored by Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Chris will have a resource table available for purchase of DVDs, CDs, and books.

Other Notes:

  • Registration information will be shared with EvangelismCoach.org.
  • Lunch will be provided. More information as time draws closer.
  • A resource table will be available, where Chris will provide audio CDs and other items from his resources.
  • When you register online, you’ll receive a complimentary subscription to the weekly newsletter by email, every Friday at 2pm. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Register Here:

Register online for free. You’ll receive reminders as the conference draws near.

We encourage you to bring your ministry leadership team to this event.

Event is open to the public and other churches are invited to register and attend.

Who is Chris Walker?

2013ChrisWalkerHeadShot425x287Chris Walker, of http://www.EvangelismCoach.org, is the featured speaker.

He is fittingly known as the Evangelism Coach because of his extensive work with churches in the US and Latin America in the areas of evangelism and church growth. Chris is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

His website has over 1000 articles on personal evangelism, congregational evangelism, and hospitality, as well as a podcast feed, all for free.

He has written:

Chris has also recorded 2 CDs on church hospitality issues, authored 2 DVDs for training greeters, and a 3 DVD set on Breaking Unseen Barriers that keep your visitors from coming back. Plus, he’s recorded additional DVDS and CDs on personal evangelism. All resources will be available at the resource table. Credit Cards will be accepted.


“Fall 2010 has gone well. I believe the First Touch teams have a renewed sense of purpose and others are doing their part to apply the welcoming concepts they learned when you spoke here. I heard from many folks about how helpful and energizing it was to hear you speak.

Your talk helped us see the need to engage people, not just serve them. I think overall it was one of our most successful events ever, and was a real example of how the momentum is shifting in a positive way.” P Strachan, Midlothian VA.


Chris is a highly accessible speaker who brings a passion and energy to his workshops that is contagious.

Geoff McClean, Pastor


I feel rejuvenated in learning to pray after the Salvation Army Quest ministry workshops in Michigan. Chris is very passionate and on fire for what he speaks about. Keep up the good work!

Dean Groendal
Muskegon Corps, Salvation Army

The fear of the E-word

In the November issue of Presbyterians Today, I share an article that gives 3 basic steps to overcome your personal fear of evangelism.

Sometimes called “the e-word,” as if evangelism is an unspeakable curse word, personal evangelism is generally not a regular discipline among believers in mainline churches because of associations with pushy street preachers.

Here is a snippet from the article:

Street Preacher EvangelismWhen it comes to personal evangelism, the street preacher is the negative go-to stereotype. The common reaction is “I don’t want to do that.”

Though a few are indeed gifted to be effective street preachers (and I’ve done it myself in parks and city streets), the rest of us want a more natural way to share our faith.

Easier done than said

The problem for many people is that talking about faith is difficult.

In the final hours of my mother’s life, she whispered, “I’ve always believed in Jesus; I just didn’t talk about it.” Others have told me that they hope that their good behavior is enough of a sermon that they don’t need to say anything. Ernest L. Gardner III, interim pastor at Philadelphia Presbyterian Church in Mint Hill, North Carolina, says, “I have found that cradle Presbyterians are more accustomed to having their church doors open to visitors than [they are] to engaging others directly about what it means to be a follower of Christ.”

There are many reasons we choose not to talk about our faith. We don’t want to participate in high-pressure tactics or in the kinds of emotional manipulation seen on television. We don’t want our friends to think we’re foolish or simple-minded. Nor do we want to be perceived as combative or disrespectful of others’ deeply held religious beliefs. Laura Long, pastor of Clinchfield Presbyterian Church in Marion, North Carolina, says, “People don’t want to be perceived as nosy about another person’s beliefs.”

We may feel that we lack the skills or knowledge to effectively discuss being a follower of Jesus. I remember hearing an evangelist compare, point by point, the beliefs of Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. I began to panic because I knew I couldn’t give a presentation like that. When we’re challenged about the existence of God, or about why we believe that God is love and that God sent Jesus to die for our sins, we may feel as if we can’t give a reasonable defense of our belief.

In a way, we sometimes undermine ourselves. If we aren’t nurturing our relationship with Christ, we’ll miss out on God’s work in our life; we won’t recognize how God is transforming us, leading us, using us, or teaching us. And that can affect how we witness to others. According to pastor Geoff McLean of Christ Presbyterian Church in Fairfax, Virginia, “If we don’t appreciate the changes that God works in our life, we have little to say . . . about the relevance of following Jesus.”

Finally, we may feel uncomfortable about sharing our faith because we haven’t thought about how to explain the gospel in a simple way. A friend once asked me, “Chris, what is the gospel?” My obtuse, 10-minute, directionless explanation taught me that, even though I had two seminary degrees, I couldn’t explain the gospel in simple terms. I was not prepared.

I interviewed a couple of Presbyterian pastors, some of whom are using the Engage curriculum on personal evangelism.  That resource is one that I can recommend.  It uses some of the same principles that I teach in my own evangelism seminars about watching for spiritual thirst and engaging people in intentional conversation.

To read the 3 basic steps I share, click through to read the whole article, or read this snippet:

These basic steps can help:

1. Talk about your own experiences with Jesus, not just your church.

Talking about your church is easy, but talking about your own experiences is more meaningful. You might describe how the wisdom of Scripture is helping you in some difficult season in your life. You might talk about how you see the Lord answering particular prayers. Or you might describe how the Lord has used you in some ministry.

2. Talk about how you became a follower of Jesus, not just a member of your church.

I’ve found that many Presbyterians have difficulty answering the question “When did Jesus become real to you?” It’s not that they don’t have faith but that they lack words to express that faith. Think back to some season in your life when it was clear that you had an encounter with Jesus. Try to describe that experience without using overly religious words.

3. Talk about the gospel of Christ, not just your church’s weekend message.

You may find it easy to talk about Sunday’s sermon or even why you were moved by the anthem the choir sang. While those are good to talk about, we need to know the core content of the gospel of Jesus Christ and be able to explain it in a meaningful way to people who may have never read the Bible.

Due to space requirements, I didn’t put a fourth one in there, but here is one that I would add:

4.  Talk about the difference Jesus has made in your life, not just your church programs that do good.

You may find it easy to share how you give to the food pantry, tutor a child, or repair the car of a single mom.  But how has becoming a follower of Christ changed you?  Could you share your hope filled testimony story in two phrases?

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

As you ponder how you and your congregation might grow as evangelists, know that you are not alone in this sometimes difficult journey.

The Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Evangelism and Church Growth ministry area is here to support you.

  • To watch the Engage video series, download related resources, and order the three-part printed curriculum: pcusa.org/engage
  • To partner with New Beginnings as you envision a new future for your congregation and come up with a strategy to make it happen: whatisourfuturestory.com
  • To connect with staff, find more resources, and get information on the next Evangelism and Church Growth Conference: pcusa.org/ecg

photo credit: nan palmero via cc

Conference: Personal Evangelism for Ordinary People October 25, 2014

Personal_Evangelism_Conference_Mint_Hill_NCImagine:

  • You confidently answer a question about why you follow Jesus.
  • Your friend asks you how you became a Christian and you give a clear story.
  • You share the gospel story without being tongue-tied.

Just this week, I met a church member who felt that evangelism was not doable because he felt he had

  • no talent,
  • no skill,
  • nor verbally eloquent like his pastor.

My friend lacked any confidence that he could witness to anyone.

Maybe you feel the same way. You find personal evangelism intimidating. You would rather clean a pig sty instead of talking about Jesus to your friends.

I was.

Learn how Personal Evangelism can be Natural

Speaking at Your Evangelism EventThe Personal Evangelism for Ordinary People seminar will help you overcome those natural fears and find fresh freedom in sharing your faith.

As you go through the seminar with Chris Walker, you’ll

  • Learn to recognize God given moments to talk about your faith
  • Discover evangelism can be as normal and natural as breathing.
  • Find and develop the four core evangelism skills you need, even if you don’t know your Bible.

Discover a compassion for the lost and learn how to share your faith.

This seminar is designed to give you a clear understanding of personal evangelism which results in a compassion that swallows fear and equips you to be effective in everyday life.

It’s designed to move you from clumsy to confident in just ONE day.

Coming to Mint Hill North Carolina, October 25, 2014

If you live in or near the area, you don’t want to miss this FREE event. . . .

Chris will help you find the same confidence that has helps him talk about his faith in Christ to anyone who asks. He used to be the obnoxious evangelist no one wants to be and has learned core skills to make evangelism.


The seminar dispelled the fears associated with evangelism. Both personal stories and Biblical truth provided a framework from which to proceed in making sharing my faith conversationally more a part of my lifestyle.

I would highly recommend this class to anyone with a heart for becoming more verbal in their witness. — Participant


Come to learn some of the practical ways Chris has discovered to share your faith out of his research, study, and first hand real life experience from serving as a local pastor, planting two churches and doing evangelism work cross culturally in 9 different countries.

Date:

Saturday, October 25 2014

9:00a – 4:30p

Registration opens at 8:30am.

Location:

Philadelphia Presbyterian Church, Mint Hill, NC

11501 Bain School Rd, Mint Hill, NC 28227


View Larger Map

Cost:

This personal evangelism seminar is free.

It is sponsored by Philadelphia Presbyterian Church

Other Notes:

  • Registration information will be shared with EvangelismCoach.org.
  • Lunch will be provided for a nominal cost, or you may bring your own. More information as time draws closer.
  • A resource table will be available, where Chris will provide audio CDs and other items from his resources.
  • When you register online, you’ll receive a complimentary subscription to the weekly newsletter by email, every Friday at 2pm. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Register Here:

Register online for free. You’ll receive reminders as the conference draws near.

We encourage you to bring your ministry leadership team to this event.

Event is open to the public and other churches are invited to register and attend.

Who is Chris Walker?

2013ChrisWalkerHeadShot425x287Chris Walker, of http://www.EvangelismCoach.org, is the featured speaker.

He is fittingly known as the Evangelism Coach because of his extensive work with churches in the US and Latin America in the areas of evangelism and church growth. Chris is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

His website has over 1000 articles on personal evangelism, congregational evangelism, and hospitality, as well as a podcast feed, all for free.

He has written:

Chris has also recorded 2 CDs on church hospitality issues, authored 2 DVDs for training greeters, and a 3 DVD set on Breaking Unseen Barriers that keep your visitors from coming back. Plus, he’s recorded additional DVDS and CDs on personal evangelism. All resources will be available at the resource table. Credit Cards will be accepted.


“Fall 2010 has gone well. I believe the First Touch teams have a renewed sense of purpose and others are doing their part to apply the welcoming concepts they learned when you spoke here. I heard from many folks about how helpful and energizing it was to hear you speak.

Your talk helped us see the need to engage people, not just serve them. I think overall it was one of our most successful events ever, and was a real example of how the momentum is shifting in a positive way.” P Strachan, Midlothian VA.


Chris is a highly accessible speaker who brings a passion and energy to his workshops that is contagious.

Geoff McClean, Pastor


I feel rejuvenated in learning to pray after the Salvation Army Quest ministry workshops in Michigan. Chris is very passionate and on fire for what he speaks about. Keep up the good work!

Dean Groendal
Muskegon Corps, Salvation Army

Book Review: That’s a Great Question

Thats A Great Question Book CoverMy unsaved friend had a few questions for me about the New Testament.

He had been reading articles on the Internet about objections to the credibility of the New Testament

  • Conspiracy theories of the church suppressing information
  • Edits to the text that introduce conformity to the established doctrine.
  • The search for the historical Jesus.
  • Secret gospels that the church suppressed.

How would I answer such questions?  How could I help my unsaved friend evaluate such evidence?

How would you approach your friend who tossed similar questions at you.

That’s a Great Question

One evangelism fear that people have is being caught without an answer to questions like this.  My friend has given me  a specific example of an “I don’t know what to say” moment.

This is where a book like That’s a Great Question: What to Say When Your Faith Is Questioned, by Glenn Pearson, can be a helpful tool for you.

The book is focused on helping you analyze objections that are commonly found to the New Testament, specifically claims against the reliability of the New Testament.

Pearson focuses on worldview filters that skeptics and believers bring to the reading of the New Testament.  I’m grateful he recognizes that he himself brings a filter that starts with the NT being reliable.

I found myself laughing at his humor, his funny stories, and his first hand adventures in talking about his faith in Christ.

It is a book on apologetics I found hard to put down.  No boring list of data facts here.

One reviewer on Amazon said:

In a manner unknown to many authors today, Glenn skillfully blends humor and intellect to produce a great work of apologetics. This book will be a valuable resource

Pearson himself writes:

The purpose of this book, then, is to demonstrate that a commitment to academic excellence and intellectual integrity is consistent with belief in the Bible. I hope to equip you with valuable perspectives and insights that will help you identify and confidently respond to filters often used by those outside the historic Christian faith. Furthermore, I will arm you with practical principles that can clarify some tough challenges to Christian beliefs.

Part 1 is an introduction to filters that skeptics bring.  Filters strain out evidence that is unwanted, or creates blindness to likely alternatives.

For example, chapter 3 is a discussion of two types of filters that add to the stories of Jesus, based on secret or suppressed documents, conspiracy theories.  This chapter made me laugh out loud a few times.

Chapter 5 tells the story of a college class and the Jesus seminar and shows about how anti-supernaturalism leads to forgone conclusions, stacking the deck with similar thinking minds that filter out other explanations or possibilities.

Skeptics have a basic problem when it comes to explaining Jesus’ message. They claim that the Jesus of the Gospels was a remarkable but mortal man whom his followers elevated to divinity. But they never seem able to explain adequately just who did the extreme image makeover or who wrote his amazing speeches.

Part 2 is applying filters that a Christian believer brings to the same objections.

Part 2 of this book presents eighteen principles that provide a solid interpretive approach to the Bible. I call these “Pearson’s Principles for Approaching Puzzling, Perplexing, and Problematic Passages.” If the principles are valid and if the Bible is reliable, this approach should address critiques colored by various filters and which question the validity of the biblical text.

Some apologetic books focus on difficult questions about particular texts (God Behaving Badly).  Other focus on learning and challenging religious worldviews (Evangelism Slightly Less Difficult, or Tactics).

Others focus on Reasoning from the evidence to the existence of God (God is not Dead).  Pearson’s approach is to expose the presuppositions that a skeptic brings to a Bible passage and how a Christian can reasonably deal with objections and still have intellectual credibility in belief.

GlennPearsonDo I have biases about the Bible?

Of course. I have concluded that it is reliable and accurate and is, in fact, God’s inspired, inerrant, infallible, and historically reliable revelation to humanity. This is not simpleminded acceptance, but an opinion backed by considerable research and study.

Are there problems with my position? Of course. I am fully aware of the intellectual challenges inherent in this theological view, but there is strong supportive evidence for my stance.

Do skeptical critics have biases? Of course. They, too, would say their positions are based on careful research, and they are correct.

Are there intellectual problems with their positions? Of course. There are enough complicated factors that neither side can claim victory based solely on the academic arguments.

The point, however, is that it is possible to be a thoughtful, well-educated, well-adjusted person and to believe that the Bible is God’s inspired, inerrant, and infallible revelation to all people in all ages.

Who is That’s a Great Question for?

I found That’s a Great Question: What to Say When Your Faith Is Questioned to be a great book for Christian believers who need to know how to analyze plausible objections to the credibility of the NT.

Young adults headed to college or already in the university will find this book helpful.  If you regularly engage non-believers in meaningful conversations about your faith, you’ll run into objections and questions that are addressed in this book.

If you are a skeptic, than this book may bother you.  Pearson politely shows you the presuppositions you bring to your own analysis.  He admits he brings his own as well.

If you are spiritually thirsty and honestly searching for how a bible believer can believe the Scriptures, you’ll find a honest assessment of the evidence and plausible explanations of alleged contradictions in the text.

Related Apologetic Book Reviews on EvangelismCoach

 

 

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Order your copy of That’s a Great Question: What to Say When Your Faith Is Questioned from Amazon.  I will receive a small commission.