Evangelism: Loving Motivation, Loving Methods

Ryan Robinson

It is easiest to identify Ryan as both theologian and tech guy. By day, Ryan is a Technical Consultant work with PeaceWorks Technology Solutions. There, he works on websites, CRMs, and SharePoint implementations. Along with blogging here, Ryan is a founding member of the MennoNerds blogging network and a contributor to the book A Living Alternative.

8 Responses

  1. Jeremy Gretton says:

    excellent post, as usual 🙂 I think you meant “banishes all forms of INequality”, not “equality”? Or perhaps my theology is a bit off… 😉

  2. John Ayala says:

    I hate to “beat a dead horse” but IMHO (again) this comes from the fear perpetuated/taught by dispensational theology. In particular the eschatology that is taught by it.

    • I think it definitely helps. It’s hard – not impossible – to bother with relating to people when this world doesn’t matter. All that matters is getting them saved. Not loving neighbour and enemy. Not even making disciples. Some try valiantly to keep to those goals as well, but many settle for what becomes the biggest priority: just get as many as possible into the next world because the rest is really irrelevant and possibly even counterproductive in the long run.

  3. I really like what you said about us being called to make disciples not just converts. I also disagree with the kind of evangelism that only tells the person the gospel as though they were a target without caring for them as people. We need to be friendly with those we evangelize. They’re not just targets they’re image bearers. Amen! We should be willing to impart to them not only the gospel of God but also our very lives. However, I think you’re really off when you say, “Evangelism should flow out of relationship, not the other way around.” Can you please show us where you see this in Scripture? It seems to me that Jesus fed the multitudes and healed the sick as He preached the gospel to them. You also see this pattern with the Apostles. For example the Apostle Paul would go into a city and begin persuading the Jews in the synagogues (though he didn’t know them) that Jesus is the Christ and then you see him in Athens in the marketplace proclaiming Christ to “whoever happened to be there”.

    • Great question! I would point to Paul’s claim that he is all things to all people or when he talks about how always moves in as a businessman, working for a living, not just misusing people as checkmarks on his evangelism list. He doesn’t just walk in and say: “this is how I do things; now listen to me.” He does speak in a public forum in Athens and in synagogues but that is a very contextually-sensitive move. Both are places where people go to have these types of conversations, so while he may not have had deep relationship with them, he did know one very important point: they were open to the conversation.

      Jesus did go to people who didn’t particularly show any interest first. I think your own words summarize it so well: Jesus fed the multitudes and healed the sick *as* he preached the gospel of the Kingdom to them. He didn’t say his piece and then ignore what they needed. In other words, his preaching of the Kingdom was inextricably tied with practically getting involved in their lives.

      What I’d like to see is the same contextually-sensitive and people-sensitive approach that Paul showed, that Jesus showed, that Peter showed at Pentecost, etc.

      • Thanks. My point is simply that Christians should be relational, loving, caring, and should actively seek to meet people’s needs as we evangelize not in order to evangelize.

  1. January 17, 2013

    […] One option for dealing with the Christian brothers and sisters who you disagree with is to spend a lot of energy deliberately arguing, or “discussing” in the nicer variation, with those opponents. The main advantage of this, or at least you would be inclined to think, is that you have the opportunity to influence the other side and you have an opportunity to learn from them, too. But while this posture of learning from each other is ideal, it is extremely rare to find it in both conversation partners and I’m sure in large part because it is so exhausting. It depends on the issues being discussed of course, but on the big things where you have completely different understandings of God, that middle ground is hard to find and it can be a huge effort just to start the conversation on a productive track. Typically you’ll find prominent evangelicals in this category of response and I believe this is why most think of Christians as judgemental, angry, and only trying to convince others – Christians or not – that they are right. Even if the message is genuinely good news, when carried out through aggressive methods it can be co…. […]