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So how can Christians take advantage of the rise of postmodernism, and the fall of modernity? The best and most effective way, according to McLaren, is what he terms spiritual friendship. Based on Jesus' call to make disciples instead of simply converts, McLaren urges us to develop long-term friendships with non-believers. These friendships, statistically speaking, are more likely to bring people into church than any other human activity (friends and family are, by far, the most important factor in a non-believer coming to Christ, according to numerous surveys).
McLaren's call for spiritual friendship is at once innovative, and at the same time, remarkably timeless. It is innovative because "modern" evangelism often seems to be focused on ideas like conversion, conquest, war, proofs, arguments, etc., while spiritual friendship focuses, instead, on ideas like conversation, influence, and even dance, which is one of McLaren's favorite descriptions, as true dance has no winner or loser, but is, instead, an interactive experience in which both parties must cooperate. McLaren's ideas are timeless as well, in that they share a remarkable similarity with what Jesus taught His disciples, and the relationships He built with them.
It is possible (and likely) that some (many) of your efforts at evangelism in your neighborhood have produced more frustration than change. McLaren's concept of spiritual friendship may be just what you have been looking for. Understanding yourself as a spiritual friend will enable you to share the joy and purpose your life has because of God in a deep, meaningful way with your postmodern neighbor. They are yearning for that kind of joy and purpose, and they are eager to find true, faithful friends. By being a spiritual friend, you can satisfy both longings, and you will likely discover that you have been longing for that kind of friendship as well. And you will begin the godly task of overcoming evil with good and love.
|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Publication Date: 2009
WARNING: This is not just another book on evangelism. Its a simple idea of evangelism through friendship first, and the opportunities to share your faith that follow. It will bring friendships you already have to a new levels, and create opportunities for new, authentic friendships with those you will eventually meet. 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. Youre more ready for this than you realize, and so are your friends!
Brian D. McLaren (MA, University of Maryland) is an author, speaker, activist and public theologian. After teaching college English, Brian pastored Cedar Ridge Community Church in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area. Brain has been active in networking and mentoring church planters and pastors for over 20 years. He is a popular conference speaker and a frequent guest lecturer for denominational and ecumenical leadership gatherings in the US and internationally.
jazz guyCalgary, Alberta, CanadaAge: 35-44Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5Brilliant, in a clever wayNovember 24, 2010jazz guyCalgary, Alberta, CanadaAge: 35-44Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5It's easy enough for anyone to understand and important enough for anyone who attends or works in a church!
James Powell- Jr.3 Stars Out Of 5December 23, 2009James Powell- Jr.This is a easy read. Has some really good applications for connecting with the post-modern minds. Challenges the old mentality of evangelism as program, technique, or dumping tracks (truth) in someone's lap. The entire book flows out of dialogue with a young lady wrestling with Christianity. Similar to, but nearly as good as Boyd's "Letter's from a Skeptic". I think this book has real value as a discussion starter for small group or for a class that is discussing evangelism. If the ideas were new to me I would have enjoyed it a lot more. Overall it was a little flat in my opinion but I'm still going to use it for a class I'm leading.
Joel Buursma4 Stars Out Of 5January 31, 2005Joel BuursmaThere is much in this book that is a much-needed breath of fresh air. Not only do many of the technique-oriented & push-to-decision methods of evangelism make a lot of Average Joe & Jane Christians uncomfortable, they will probably be decreasingly well received in future years.One caveat: one of McLaren's central thesis (the reason for the title) is that we don't have to be perfect (in character or in having answers) to have an impact for Jesus on someone's life. However, those who aren't already aware of Emergent and Christian interaction with postmodernism will probably come away feeling LESS ready than they realized initially. Another caveat to same group of people: McLaren can be prickly at times.
Aaron5 Stars Out Of 5April 27, 2002AaronSo often we get caught up in converting people and witnessing to people that we come down on them too hard, and we don't take the time to stop and think about how they feel. Brian McLaren does an incredible job of taking a personal experience like that and going through it step-by-step. It's given me great ideas to use in our youth group, but it certainly isn't just for youth--it's for the WHOLE church, and the whole church needs to read it. I was sitting at lunch today listening to a conversation about people with different lifestyles, and I realized that everyone really does need to read this book and take a different approach to spreading the love, grace and compassion of God, and not giving a false impression.
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