Outward Focused Articles
This Wondering Article is a ‘must read’ paradigm-breaking-article that helps to answer the number one question most Christians ask concerning evangelism; how do I start and continue authentic spiritual conversations? You will learn how to avoid us vs. them standoffs and many of the evangelistic misdemeanors that bring spiritual conversations to a screeching halt.
The Gospel Snacks article will help you prepare and share your God stories in bite sized ways to help create spiritual hunger and thirst among your not-yet Christian friends.
You will find these 99 Innovative Ideas from true practitioners to be a “shot of espresso” to your ministry, if you are looking for practical, doable, ways to encourage 100% of your church to be outwardly focused.
This Are You Listening article will guide you on how to listen your way into other’s hearts by demonstrating respect and humility. Many of us have been trained with evangelistic techniques that emphasize what we are supposed to say, thus listening is usually a skill most evangelicals are sorely lacking. It’s been said that evangelism without listening is like playing golf blindfolded.
This Help for the Reluctant Witness article addresses many of the questions Christians raise when attempting to do evangelism. If you are feeling stuck and are not quite sure where to go in your attempts to make Christ known to your family, friends, and co-workers you will find great encouragement through this “keep it real” article.
This Common Ground article highlights the importance of finding common ground with the not-yet Christians in our lives so that we can begin to build bridges to carry the gospel across. If you want to build a bridge over a river, prevailing wisdom teaches us to find the place on the river where the banks are closest to each other and build there.
This short Tough Questions article serves as a great diagnostic tool to help you see how you come across when you encounter tough questions. Sooner or later, every Christian who begins to live an outwardly focused life encounters tough questions. Your response in most cases determines whether or not you will continue to have spiritual conversation or not.
This chapter from Steve Saccone’s book called Relational Intelligence is a must read for all who want to get a handle on your blind spots. Steve is on staff with Erwin McManus at Mosaic in Los Angeles. After reading this chapter, I have two practical assignments from it that might help you increase the quality and quantity of your spiritual conversations.
1. In the spirit of what you read, take some time to reflect on past spiritual conversations that you’ve had or did not have because you were not quite sure how to get the conversation going. Write out some clarifying statements (see pages 41-45) about what the whole experience stirred up in you.
2. Take the initiative to do a 360 degree review from someone who has had a spiritual conversation with you. Tell the person you just finished reading something that prompted you to gain a better understanding of how you come across when you talk about spiritual things. Ask them if they would be willing to help you out by responding to the following question. What did it feel like for you to be on the other end of our last spiritual conversation? How do I come across when I bring up matters of faith? Take notes, ask questions to better understand what they are trying to tell you, apologize when appropriate for the unbecoming ways you came across.
Outward Focused Books
It’s been said that, “readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.”
Doug has read the following books and recommends them to anyone who is looking for insight into outward focused living.
1. “Finding Common Ground” by Tim Downes
2. “The Celtic Way of Evangelism” by George Hunter
3. “How Will They Hear If We Don’t Listen?” By Ronald Johnson
4. “Evangelism That Works” by George Barna
5. “Walk Across the Room” by Bill Hybels
6. “Questioning Evangelism” by Randy Newman
7. “The Non-Confronter’s Guide to Leading a Person to Christ” by Walter Bleeker
8. “Conspiracy of Kindness” by Steve Sjogren
9. “The Externally Focused Church” by Rick Rusaw & Eric Swanson
10. “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller
11. “Twinkle” by Elisa Morgan
12. “The Shaping of Things to Come” by Michael Frost & Alan Hirsch
13. “Show and Then Tell” by Kent & Davidene Humphreys
14. “How to Reach the Ones You Love” by Nyla Whitmore
15. “How to Give Away Your Faith” by Paul Little
16. “101 Ways to Reach Your Community” by Steve Sjogren
17. “Lifestyle Evangelism” by Joe Aldrich
18. “Evangelism Made Slightly Less Difficult” by Nick Pollard
19. “Out of the Salt Shaker and into the World” by Rebecca Pippert
20. “Words to Winners of Souls” by Horatius Bonar
21. “The Master Plan of Evangelism” by Robert Coleman
22. “Outflow” by Dave Ping & Steve Sjogren
23. “The Revolutionary Communicator” by Jedd Medefind & Erik Lokkesmoe
24. “Conversational Evangelism” by Norman & David Geisler
25. “Spiritual Conversations” by Gary Rohrmayer
26. “Becoming a Contagious Christian” by Mark Mittelberg & Lee Stroebel
27. “The Outsider Interviews” by Jim Henderson, Craig Spinks & Todd Hunter
Faith Adventure Challenges
YouTube Channel: CreatingGodSpace
Listening For Heaven’s Sake
This course provides essential skills every Christ-follower needs to be truly effective in everyday life and in the most demanding of ministries. This life-changing class provides biblical insights, practical equipping, and hands-on coaching.
This book provides essential skills every Christ-follower needs to be truly effective in everyday life and in the most demanding of ministries. This life-changing book provides biblical insights, practical equipping, and hands-on coaching.
Are not-yet Christians not listening to you? Maybe it’s because you are not listening to them.
I hear you saying that . . . You seem to be saying. . . I’m not sure I’m following. . .
Outward Focused Quotes
* Evangelism is a sacred quest into the soul of another to find out where they are hungering for the “Living Bread.”
* A man convinced against his will is of the same decision still. Do not push or manipulate people into pre-mature spiritual births.
* Jesus dealt with each person uniquely. Canned approaches and sales techniques focus on man’s best efforts to bring about what only God can produce. Be careful not to deify the approach or method by which you came to the Savior.
* If you are not involved in the process of evangelism or planning to soon; you’re not following the Jesus of the Bible.
* There is only one thing we can do here on earth that we can’t do in heaven, evangelism!
* Talk to God about men before you talk to men about God!
* Is it possible that many people are not saying no to Jesus, but to the unappetizing ways we are presenting Him.
* Evangelism without listening is like playing golf blind blindfolded. (Larry Chrouch)
* I’m willing to bet the farm that in our post–modern Christian society the most important evangelistic skill is listening. (Todd Hunter)
* Many people are looking for an ear that will listen. They do not find it among Christians because we are talking when we should be listening. (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
* One of the best ways to persuade anyone is with your ears . . . by listening to them. (Dean Rusk)
* The ministry of noticing begins when we start listening with our eyes, seeing with our ears, and responding with our hearts.
* We have to find the back door to peoples’ hearts because the front door is heavily guarded. (Ravi Zacharias)
* Perfect people keep real people away! Be authentic! Avoid cliches and “bumpersticker” Christianity when talking about the faith.
* Don’t ask people to give their lives to God. Invite them instead to get a life from God!
* The call to do evangelism was given 2000 years ago; God is waiting for our response!
* Evangelism is much like the dating and courting process. In the end we are simply escorting people down the aisle to say I do to Jesus.
* If you are in a church that’s not outwardly focused on the work of evangelism expect a lot of conflict, nit-picking, and a lack of spiritual fervor and power.
* Effective evangelism starts where people are, not where we would like them to be.
* We need to come as learners and listeners not “know it all’s” when sharing our faith. Evangelism without listening is like playing golf blindfolded.
* We need to use their language not ours when conveying spiritual truth. Jesus modeled this!
* Good questions serve as a spiritual stethoscope to reveal the attitudes of one’s heart towards God. They also lead to self-discovery and communicate respect and dignity.
* If your approach to this work is lopsidedly “come and see” vs. “go and be” then it’s time for the scales to be adjusted. Jesus had no home games in His ministry!
* Because coming to Christ for most people involves a process, get excited when God uses you to give someone a “holy nudge” in the right direction.
* Prepare and serve your “gospel snacks” (short compelling stories of how God has been real in your life). They will create a hunger and thirst for the “Bread of Life.”
* We cannot be effective if we continue to cling to the old ways, the old strategies, the old assumptions. (George Barna)
* God can, has and will use anybody who is open to serving Him to convey the gospel. He will bless the efforts of His servants whether they are gifted as evangelizers or not. (George Barna)
* Evangelism that starts at the nonbeliever’s point of felt need and ties the gospel into that area of need has the greatest capacity for capturing the mind and heart of the non-Christian. (George Barna)
* We may confidently say that most, if not all, adults have been exposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We may also suggest that every American has access to the gospel. But we may not conclude that every American has actually heard and understood the gospel. Until we present the message in ways that penetrate the consciousness of the people we seek to influence for Christ, we have not truly communicated. We have only made noise. (George Barna)
* Pastors and churches, today, who regard outreach to lost people as the church’s main business, and especially those who are perceived to prefer the company of lost people to the company of church people, are suspect, marginalized, and “shot at” by establishment Christians and church leaders. No major denomination in the United States regards apostolic ministry to pre-Christian outsiders as its “priority” or even as “normal” ministry. (Dr. George Hunter)
* Kindness is a language which the dumb can speak, the deaf can understand. (C.N. Bovee)
* Is it more important for us to be kind or right in our relationships with not-yet Christians?
* There is no kindness more cruel than the kindness which consigns another person to their sin. (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
* Servant Evangelism = deeds of love + words of love + adequate time Deeds of love allow us to sneak into the hearts of those we serve. They are not enough on their own to bring someone to Christ, but they do create “phone wires” for transmitting the spoken message. (Steve Sjogren)
* John Wesley once commented that a mature Christian should be able to put his finger down anywhere in the Bible and work from that point to the gospel. That’s an admirable goal, but I would like to suggest another skill that’s needed just as much because of those modern construction techniques: A mature Christian should be able to put his finger down anywhere in today’s newspaper and work from that point to the gospel. Christians today must stop being satisfied with randomly collected biblical data and begin to aggressively pursue wisdom—the ability to apply what they know to their own lives and to the lives of unbelievers around them. (Tim Downes)
* Harvesting and sowing are not contradictory methods of evangelism vying for supremacy, but two complementary roles, each with it’s own focus and methodology. (Tim Downes)
* Only when we know what people are dealing with down deep in their innermost selves can we know how to effectively focus the gospel to their individual situations so that real healing can occur. (Ronald Johnson)
* The evangelist today must constantly remind himself that he is communicating in a world where the listener is used to silencing what he does not want to hear with the click of a remote control button. (Ronald Johnson)
* The reason to get in touch with the culture is not to adopt it but to engage it for the same reasons a missionary does . . . to gain a hearing for the gospel. (Reggie McNeal)
* How many evangelism programs have you encountered in which sharing the gospel assumes no relationship with the customer and Jesus is sold like soap? (Reggie McNeal)
* What I believe is not what I say I believe; what I believe is what I do. I used to say that I believed it was important to tell people about Jesus, but I never did. A friend kindly explained that if I do not introduce people to Jesus, then I don’t believe Jesus is an important person. It doesn’t matter what I say. We live for what we believe. (Donald Miller)
* I used love like money, but love doesn’t work like money. It is not a commodity. When we barter with it, we all lose. When the church does not love it’s enemies, it fuels their rage. It makes them hate us more. (Donald Miller)
* I realized that, instead of moving people closer to a salvation decision, an answer can push them further away. Rather than engaging their minds or urging them to consider an alternative perspective, an answer can give them ammunition for future attacks against the gospel. (Randy Newman)
* If you are anything like me you’ll have to fight tooth-and-nail to stay in the game (evangelism). Because although the home runs have been invigorating, my batting average over the years is abysmally low. (Bill Hybels)
* God wants to use us where we are, with what we know, right now. (Kent & Davidene Humphreys)
* If you want to have a large impact be committed to the small things.
* I never look at the masses as my responsibility. I look at the individual. I can only love one person at a time. (Mother Teresa)
* The Come-To-Us stance taken by the attractional church is un-biblical. The early church leaders all had a Go-To-Them mentality. (Michael Frost & Alan Hirsch)
* If the church limits God’s agency in this world to particular times and places that the vast majority of not-yet Christians have no access to, or no desire to attend, then the gospel is effectively hobbled. (Michael Frost & Alan Hirsch)
* Where God’s story, our story, and the biblical stories overlap is where effective evangelism takes place. (Michael Frost & Alan Hirsch)
* The real gospel is two sided – it’s truth and proof. (Robert Lewis)
* Good deeds, create good will, which opens the heart to the good news. (Eric Swanson)
* An individual gospel without a social gospel is a soul without a body and a social gospel without an individual gospel is a body without a soul. One is a ghost, the other a corpse. (E. Stanley Jones)
* “The church exists for no other purpose but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became man for no other purpose.” (C.S. Lewis)
* We will not get to each one until we gain a heart for everyone. (Ron Hutchcraft)
* Jesus was not a commuter when it came to evangelism. He did not show up for a ministry event and then head back to heaven. He also did not play home games as his evangelistic encounters were always on the road.
* Much of our evangelism today is perceived and received like junk mail or spam on the internet.
* Most of us have signed invisible social contracts which prohibit us from doing evangelism.
* It’s very difficult to be right about something without hurting someone with it. (Dallas Williard)
* I don’t talk people into the Kingdom, I listen them into it! (Gary Poole)
* We need to spend more time raising questions than supplying answers to questions people are not interested in.
* Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted. (Albert Einstein)
* Sharing the gospel is more than an informational transaction. It is a relational interaction which leads to transformation.
* The church connects with Jesus most through mission not more meetings.
* Relational evangelism can neglect the theological content of the gospel by shifting the focus to the personality and experience of the evangelist. (Mark McCloskey)
* The only thing more difficult than getting the church to go to the world is to get the world to come to us.
* When we ask people to come to us what we are asking them to do is to give up what they value doing most on Sunday morning so they can experience what we value most.
* Inviting someone to church today could seem as scary as inviting a Christian to go to a hard core biker bar.
* Poverty, injustice, & poor health are not life’s biggest issue; where one will spend eternity is!
* People would find it difficult that you would want them to join you in heaven when they don’t feel welcome in your living room.
* Good questions invite others to search for answers, look into the mirror, and wrestle with irrational belief systems. The Holy Spirit uses this quest to bring about a holy dissatisfaction which paves the way for them to find God at the end of their quest.
* The church that doesn’t want to grow is saying to the world, “go to hell.” (Rick Warren)
* Much like E-harmony, evangelism is like “holy matchmaking”. Our role is to help others take one step closer to saying “I do” to the eternal lover of their souls.
* If we are going to reach the lost, let’s reach them with people they know, with language they understand, in a place where they are comfortable, with a topic relevant to them.
* “Irresistible Evangelism” happens when we take the initiative in the power of the Holy Spirit to expose people to God’s kingdom by serving them, listening and learning from them, wondering with them, and sharing with them, all the while trusting that God will draw them one step closer to Himself.
* It could be that one of the greatest hindrances to evangelism is the poverty of our own experience. (Billy Graham)
* The test of a man’s conversion is whether he has enough Christianity to get it to other people. If he hasn’t, there is something wrong. (Samuel Shoemaker)
* The safest road to hell is the gradual one, the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts. (C.S. Lewis)
* The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed. (Hudson Taylor)
* If your Gospel isn’t touching others, it hasn’t touched you! (Curry R. Blake)
* The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become. (Henry Martyn)
* The Gospel must be repeatedly forwarded to a new address because the recipient is repeatedly changing places of residence. (Helmut Thielicke)
* In a post-modern culture we need an apologetic that is felt and seen because if post-moderns are not feeling it, they are not believing it. (Ravi Zacharias)
* If we lose the spirit of ‘go,’ we have lost the very Christian spirit itself. A disobedient church will become a dead church. It will die of heart failure. (S.D. Gordon)
* If the future is to be different, the present must be disturbed!
* The church that does not evangelize will fossilize. (Oswald J. Smith)
* We should not ask, ‘What is wrong with the world?’ for that diagnosis has already been given. Rather, we should ask, ‘What has happened to the salt and light?’” (John R. W. Stott)
* 90% of Christians have become comfortable with the sin of silence.
* The average Christian leaves planet earth never having led anyone to Christ. (George Barna)
* New Testament Christians did not witness because they had to but because they could not help it. (Richard Halverson)
* However noble their purpose, we must beware of institutionalized methods that indoctrinate and regiment and fashion every Christian into a common evangelistic mold. (Richard Halverson)
* We can accuse a man in the name of the law and produce a feeling of terror in him, but this is not true repentance. Only the comforter, without hardening a man’s heart can make him aware of his faults, and of the sin he has committed against the love of the Savior whom he has rejected and grieved. We work from without, while He works from within. (Rene Pache)
* Many ills of the Christian life are due to handicapped beginnings. Too many people are preaching a warped or truncated gospel, and spiritual birth defects are the inevitable result. (J. Edwin Orr)
* Those who attempt to evangelize the culture by imitating its forms must beware lest the culture evangelize them. (Gene Veith)
* Impression minus expression leads to spiritual depression. (Joe Aldrich)
* Evangelism is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread. (D. T. Niles)
* Evangelism is not a professional job for a few trained men, but is instead the unrelenting responsibility of every person who belongs to the company of Jesus. (Elton Trueblood)
* Perhaps if there were more of that intense distress for souls that leads to tears, we should more frequently see the results we desire. Sometimes it may be that while we are complaining of the hardness of the hearts of those we are seeking to benefit, the hardness of our own hearts and our feeble apprehension of the solemn reality of eternal things may be the true cause of our want of success. (Hudson Taylor)
* Lord, make me a crisis man. Let me not be a mile-post on a single road, but make me a fork that men must turn one way or another in facing Christ in me. (Jim Elliot)
* Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven, without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in hell, when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle. (C. T. Studd)
* Oh my friends, we are loaded with countless church activities, while the real work of the church, that of evangelizing and winning the lost is almost entirely neglected. (Oswald J. Smith)
* More people have been brought into the church by the kindness of real Christian love than by all the theological arguments in the world. (William Barclay)
* Christians and non-Christians have something in common. Were both uptight about evangelism. (Rebecca Manley Pippert)
* Always preach the Gospel, and when necessary, use words. (St. Francis)
* A person’s coming to Christ is like a chain with many links. There is the first link, middle links, and a last link. There are many influences and conversations that precede a person’s decision to convert to Christ. I know the joy of being the first link at times, a middle link usually, and occasionally the last link. God has not called me to only be the last link. He has called me to be faithful and to love all people. (Cliff Knechtle)
* It is almost as presumptuous to think you can do nothing as to think you can do everything.
* Soul winners are not soul winners because of what they know, but because of Who they know, and how well they know Him, and how much they long for others to know Him. (Dawson Trotman)
* Jesus Christ didn’t commit the gospel to an advertising agency; He commissioned disciples. And He didnt command them to put up signs and pass out tracts; He said that they would be His witnesses. (Joe Bayly)
* As a general rule, the farther a Christian is away from effective personal evangelism the more he is involved in criticism. Many in the church are like caged hunting dogs. With no birds to hunt they spend their time nipping, scrapping, and fighting with each other. Turned loose to fulfill their destiny, to pursue their quarry, to fulfill their “great commission”, they automatically stop biting and fighting each other. (Joe Aldrich)
* “Out: evangelism as sales pitch, as conquest, as warfare, as ultimatum, as threat, as proof, as argument, as entertainment, as show, as monologue, as something you have to do.” In: Disciple-making as conversation, as friendship, as influence, as invitation, as companionship, as challenge, as opportunity, as conversation, as dance, as something you get to do.” (Brian McLaren)
* If there be any one point in which the Christian church ought to keep its fervor at a white heat, it is concerning missions. If there be anything about which we cannot tolerate lukewarmness, it is the matter of sending the gospel to a dying world. (Charles Haddon Spurgeon)
99 Wondering Questions
The “Wondering Article“ is a ‘must read’ paradigm-breaking-article that helps to answer the number one question most Christians ask concerning evangelism; how do I start and continue authentic spiritual conversations? You will learn how to avoid us vs. them standoffs and many of the evangelistic misdemeanors that bring spiritual conversations to a screeching halt.
The “Wondering Interview” hosted by author and speaker Steve Sjogren focuses on what happens when we release our God-given curiosity into our day-to-day conversations.
The Power of the Question Mark