Best and worst methods of witnessing in the US

Discussion in 'Evangelism, Missions and the Persecuted Church' started by Pergamum, Jun 30, 2009.

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  1. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    What are the best and worst methods of witnessing/evangelism in the US, both inside and outside the church? If you're answer for inside the church is "preaching" what are the elements that would be included as helpful to unbelievers.
  2. jonmo

    jonmo Puritan Board Freshman

    One of the worst I saw was in New York City on a busy holiday weekend. A group of conservative/fundamentalist church goers from upstate New York descended on the street near Macy's and proceeded to shout at everyone going by about how they were sinners and deserved God's wrath. One of the guy's was wearing a t-shirt depicting the Pope as the antichrist; otherwise everyone else was wearing plain, somber clothing and all the women had long hair and dresses.

    As you might expect, your typical New Yorker doesn't take too kindly to be shouted at (about anything, let alone "religion"). I watched for a while and it was painful as both sides hurled verbal abuse at each other. Those witnessing clearly lacked both grace and love for those they were "witnessing" to and it sadly seemed like they were doing it so they could go back to their little town upstate and be self-satisfied in how they told those evil city dwellers about their sin.

    I tried to speak quietly and respectfully to one of the leaders about their method and he basically told me where to go.

    Needless to say, I would put Tim Keller's preaching at the other end of the scale in terms of best methods of witnessing to people in NYC. He has a humble spirit, patience with unbelievers' questions, and gets to the heart of many of the stumbling blocks people have to the gospel.
  3. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    The worst form of evangelism: Church goers who are living in sin, drinking on the weekends, viewing **** on their computers, and cussing like sailors urging their co-workers to just say the sinner's prayer.
  4. Knoxienne

    Knoxienne Puritan Board Graduate

    The whole "God yuvs you and has a speshel [sic] plan for your life" line.
  5. awretchsavedbygrace

    awretchsavedbygrace Puritan Board Sophomore

    Sure these werent Black Israelites? They preach in the streets of Newyork every week. Their black males, who teach salvation by works, and deny the deity of Jesus. You can "youtube" them.
  6. Confessor

    Confessor Puritan Board Senior

    This. I can't stand this petty witnessing. There has to be a balance between being truly concerned for the lost, yet explaining how they are currently children of wrath.
  7. Rich Koster

    Rich Koster Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Knock on a door, hand someone a tract, smile and leave :barfy:

    -----Added 6/30/2009 at 08:05:57 EST-----

    Were they from Word of Life Bible Institute?
  8. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    Anything that is a method. Can you imagine Jesus saying the same thing, or using the same "program" to the woman at the well and the money changers in the temple?
  9. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor

    If we drink all week long are we off the hook?:think:
  10. Caroline

    Caroline Puritan Board Sophomore

    Worst? Oh, there are so many, it's hard to choose ...

    Ok, well, there was this time that my mother lined us kids up on the sidewalk on a streetcorner downtown at night and had us sing Christian songs.

    A car going by spun up some small pebbles with its wheels in our direction (accidentally, I'm sure--who could do that on purpose?) and my mother started shrieking, "They are stoning us like Stephen!"

    Yeah, that was bad.
  11. KSon

    KSon Puritan Board Junior

    Among the worst methods is the psychological manipulation method, made famous in IFB. Here you manipulate emotions by scaring the dickens out of them by preaching about the torments of hell and then present Jesus, not as Creator, King, Lord, High Priest, Son of God, but rather as an insurance policy against such misfortune. First you appeal to their pride-driven sense of self-preservation, walk them quickly through the "Romans Road" and then press for a prayer, assuring them that by doing so they have "saved their soul" from eternal torment. Manipulation, misuse of Scripture, and Arminian decisionism all wrapped into one.
  12. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Oh my!!!!!!!!!!
  13. Caroline

    Caroline Puritan Board Sophomore

    This is so true. Appeals to self-preservation, making threats ... that's really a horrible way to do evangelism. This is one reason I love Reformed churches, by the way--because they end with a benediction. I'm all burned out on church services that end by telling you to ask yourself whether you are sure you are saved or whether you would go to hell if you died tonight. I have seen 'altar calls' that were just abusive in the way they reduced good, sincere believers to tears and filled them with doubts about their salvation. It might get people to the front to pray, but in the long run, I think it did much more harm than good.

    It is so much more helpful to hear at the end, "May God bless you and keep you ... etc" or one of the other peaceful and encouraging blessings from God to His people.
  14. jonmo

    jonmo Puritan Board Freshman

    No - it definitely wasn't the Black Israelites! The folks I mentioned were in many ways at the other end of the spectrum. I know the Black Israelites - they are always around Times Square - generally whipping up corn-fed tourists from Kansas.

    The guys I am referring to were definitely all white and, judging by their comments on everyone else in the world, I doubt if they would be that excited about other races, either.

    -----Added 7/1/2009 at 08:17:06 EST-----

    I don't remember for sure (it was about five years ago) but their website/location sort of fits the bill (although the folks on the website look "hipper" - but that's often the way with the web). Thanks.
  15. puritanpilgrim

    puritanpilgrim Puritan Board Junior

    I think one of the worst might be protesting the funerals of the military with signs that say, "God hates fags." With children holding up the signs with naughty stick figures.
  16. Brian Withnell

    Brian Withnell Puritan Board Junior

    I would argue that while there are times when an unbeliever might be in a church and hear the Word preached, the worship of God's people is NOT the place for trying to reach the lost. A worship service is where those that know God, are called to do the worshipping. That there is a possibility that an elect person that does not yet believe is there is tangential to worship. God is the one "watching" worship, the congregation are the ones "performing" worship, those that lead worship need to do everything in worship so that those that are doing the worship (the congregation) are doing so in a way that pleases God.

    That there is a call to repentance as part of worship can be included, but the main thrust of every worship service ought to be the people of God praising and thanking God for his attributes, his acts, and all his blessings toward us.
  17. VanDood

    VanDood Puritan Board Freshman

    The best method... I think is a one on one conversation where we spend as much time listening as talking. Begin to work in creation and how all things were created good, move to the fall/sin, and then Christ, while applying all of this practically so that it fits in with their life...
  18. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    Are you saying the Gospel should not be preached during worship services?
  19. ubermadchen

    ubermadchen Puritanboard <strong>Outlaw</strong>

    The "method" I use, if you can say it is a method, is just telling people that Jesus is a real person who really came to earth, really lived, really died, really rose from the dead, and has really ascended to the right hand of the Father. I didn't know that when I was an atheist. When I found out, it solidified my faith. God was already working in me to hope that the gospel was true and confirmed my hope when I learned that Jesus existed. When I ministered to international students in college, most of those students didn't know He existed. Some may have heard the "story" but it was often clouded in "testimonies" and other personal veils. Unbelievers need to hear the facts and the Good News (i.e. He has risen!). When the first missionaries went out they simply told the world that Jesus rose from the dead; He is the promised one. Opinions don't matter; Rhetoric doesn't matter; I don't matter; only Truth, only God matters. The Good News doesn't have to be complicated.
  20. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I have found testimonies to be a way for people to receive the Gospel with being repulsed due to preachiness. A personal testimony often glorified God, has good results, and is a very biblical way of witnessing to others.
  21. Der Pilger

    Der Pilger Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm not so sure. Testimonies have been made popular, I believe, due to the influences of postmodernism on our culture, but the Bible never--to my knowledge--affirms testimonies as a means of communicating the gospel. A testimony is at bottom a story about me, but the gospel is the story about Jesus--and more than a story, it consists of the divine command to repent and believe, the explanation of God's character, and teaching on what sin is and its consequences.
  22. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Jesus commands personal testimonies!
  23. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    The Black Israelites went against the KKK on Jerry Springer! LOL. (It's on Youtube, which is the only reason I know. Seriously! :lol:)
  24. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    The worst witnessing I have seen has been done by groups like the Westborough Baptist "church." Megaphones, ignorant hate speech, signs with hate, youtube videos filled with hate and poor doctrine, websites filled with hate and poor teaching... all under the name of orthodox, calvinistic Christianity. UGH.
    The best witnessing I have seen was done by my father. He brought a fifteen year old boy into our home when I was almost ten and mentored, discipled, and fathered him because he had a horribly broken home. Through my dad's love to this boy the Lord brought salvation to him. Then the boy died shortly thereafter, my dad performed his funeral, and others came to Christ through it, including this guy who I posted a prayer request for.
  25. Der Pilger

    Der Pilger Puritan Board Freshman

    As a means of communicating the gospel? No. It is unthinkable that the Lord Jesus would command somebody to use their testimony as the gospel message--not only because this text doesn't warrant that view but also since the apostle Paul focused on Christ alone in his preaching. He preached Christ and him crucified, and he did so because he knew that a charge was laid upon him to do so.
  26. raekwon

    raekwon Puritan Board Junior

    Worst: bumper stickers and church signs

    "God reads knee-mail!"
    "In case of rapture, this car will be unmanned!"
    "God said it, I believe it, that settles it!"

  27. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    Real Christians at least have a fish or two on the back of their car though. Maybe one could even have a big Christian fishy swallowing a Darwin fish. That seems like the Christian thing to do.
  28. Grimmson

    Grimmson Puritan Board Sophomore

    worst- the track method, it may be granted that it could use people starting out as a tool to prolaiming the Gospel, but they should not be doing in front of bars, leaving it in bathrooms, or knocking on doors and just giving to people.

    best way- get into conversations with people about what they believe and why and move that into the Gospel. You can use general revelation to reveal God and his character. This method can take years, but it produces stronger and more firm christians then the track format.
  29. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    This text adequately supports the practice of many laymen telling people how God has has blessed them in their lives. It is Biblical, it is effective. It is not the same as preaching from a pulpit, nor does it need to be.
  30. Brian Withnell

    Brian Withnell Puritan Board Junior

    I'm saying that evangelism is ancillary to worship. The whole of the gospel (if you mean all of God's word) should be preached, but the object is not the proclamation to the lost so they might hear and repent. The preaching of the word is the element of worship that brings God's message to God's people.
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