Archives for posts with tag: evangelism

Care2Share Blog

Whenever I hear the word “evangelism” I think of my pastor during my university years. He was one of those natural-born soul winners, if there is such a thing. He practically filled an entire church building with people he led to the Lord within just a few months of his coming to Christ. And he never ceased to talk about it, Sunday after Sunday: how we ought to be “evangelizing;” how easy it was to do it; how we would have to give an account to God one day; ad infinitum.

His preaching, however, didn’t motivate most of us. It made us feel bad, guilty, and like incomplete Christians. It wasn’t until much later that I discovered how one-sided that pastor was. What he called “evangelism” had little to do with the biblical teaching on the subject.

What I find in the Bible is that everyone who says s/he is a Christ follower must be involved in some aspect of sharing the good news of the gospel, but the styles and approaches vary as much as the individual personalities of those followers.

First off, if you are a believer in Christ, you ought to be sowing seeds of hope everywhere. Jesus said as much in John 4:37-38: “Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” Notice that he even calls sowing “the hard work,” a correct translation of the Greek here. I understand this passage to mean that not everyone will reap but everyone must sow.

But the process of sowing takes different approaches. Some are more direct like Peter, others more indirect, like Matthew who threw a party for his friends or the woman at the well who gave an attractive invitation to the people in her town: “Come and meet this man who told me everything about my life. He couldn’t possibly be the awaited Messiah, could he?” Paul used the more intellectual approach and Dorcas became a community activist for the destitute.

The beauty of the Body of Christ is that people come in all color and shapes. God wants us to use our unique make-up and experience to leverage our lives into the lives of Christ’s other friends, so instead of worrying to paralysis that we may not do it right, how about this? Let the Spirit guide you into an approach that most naturally fits you and leave the results up to God. He is the one who makes all things grow.

If you want to hear more, come Sunday morning. I guarantee you: what I have to say will change the way you think of evangelism once and for all.

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

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Care2Share Blog

I am a stickler for picking the right words and using them intentionally. Therefore, when I hear somebody twisting my words or intentionally taking them out of context, I can easily skip my dinner over it – and go to sleep mad.

I used to be a part of a church that had a program called “Evangelism Explosion.” Every Thursday evening a small team of us went out into the homes of people to share the Good News of the Gospel with them. One night, as the few of us sat and prayed in the parking lot before we left, I noticed a large group of women entering the church for a Bible study. On Sunday, as I taught a class in church, I told that story and made the comment that I wished there were as many people going out of the building to share their faith as there were going into the building for Bible study.

The very next day I got a phone call from the lady in charge of the women’s Bible study. She wanted to meet with me. She had heard from a person, who was not at the class when I taught, that “Pastor Ivanildo is against the women’s Bible studies at the church.”

I missed my dinner that day.

This story only illustrates the nature of the battle we must fight when we attempt to elevate the value of witnessing our faith. You would think that would be a no brainer, but you would be wrong. It takes ten times the effort to keep the mandate to evangelize in front of our people as it does just about any other activity in the church. Why is it so much easier to get people to serve in the nursery, teach Sunday School, attend a Bible study, etc., than to verbalize their faith with Christ’s other friends?

The answer to this question is multifaceted. Many Christians don’t seem to care whether people are going to hell or not. Others are so scared they dare not open their mouths. Some are afraid of rejection. A good number, perhaps, need to be saved before they can share the good news of salvation with others. It is not a mere coincidence that the famous preacher Charles Spurgeon once said that “One of the first jobs of the preacher is to convert the Christians.”

But I would like to believe that the vast majority, perhaps, don’t do it because a) they simply don’t know how to do it; b) they are confused about what “evangelism” means, thinking somehow that they must do the persuasive work and “close the deal,” when indeed they are called first to sow the seed of the gospel; c) they are not held accountable, which means they are perfectly fine with living a Christian life that does not require verbalizing their faith.

At Grace Church we are trying to address all of the above by promoting a culture where sharing faith is just second nature to a follower of Christ. That’s the main reason we started this series we’re calling “Care 2 Share.” The ideas that are being shared have the potential to radically change the way you see yourself in relation to the world.

This Sunday we will talk about the need to understand people who are still outside of Christ. We will be challenged to get to know our neighbors and connect with them in meaningful ways with the purpose of sharing the gospel with them. Among other things, you will hear me say:

“Now, if you are here and you consider yourself a follower, you have a decision to make. Do you want to engage in this mandate God has given Grace Church? Are you willing to do more than just talk about it? I say this because as I said last Sunday, this will be our main thing. We will pursue this mission with the same passion and determination of those early disciples who when Jesus looked at them and said, ‘Follow me!’ immediately left everything and followed Him. And He said, ‘I will make you fishers of men.’ And He did just that.

You will get tired of hearing me talking about our mandate. You will get somewhat uncomfortable if you are not engaging in some aspect of our mandate to bring men, women, and children to Jesus and help them grow in their faith so they can reach others. You will think I sound like a broken record. You will talk to your friends as if your pastor got struck by a new disease called “evangelitis.” You will wish that you could just have a three point sermon where you felt good about yourself and was never asked to do anything. You will even feel like you are back in school because you now have homework to do during a week. Whoever heard of a church that gives homework?

So you have a decision to make: are you in or are you out? And I hope you will decide to be “in” because this will be an exciting journey. You will see God use you in some amazing ways as you live your life intentionally before your friends who might still be outside of Christ. You will experience Christ in a new and exciting way and you will see people come to the knowledge of this Messiah we love so much. And that, my friends, is one of the most exciting things we will experience this side of eternity!”

Please be in prayer for this Sunday and make every effort not to miss it. It will be powerful.  And if you quote me, please think about the dinner I might have to miss… 🙂

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

I am so excited that this week I will be talking about heaven and yet as I get my thoughts together for this Sunday I can’t help but keep thinking of Katelyn, the waitress we met at a restaurant (“Ugly Mug”), during our Ministry Leaders’ retreat in Camp May, NJ this week. Katelyn is the mother of four-year old Timothy, who goes by T.J. She works two jobs to be able to support him as she is a single mom. She is her in mid-twenties and as busy as a struggling single mom would be — she doesn’t have time for church.

When I asked Heather what was the story behind all the mugs hanging over the bar in the restaurant, she talked at length about a club of mariners (no longer active) that before they would go over to the sea would come into the bar to drink beer and wish each other good luck. Then they would hang their mugs facing the land. Some, however, never made it back, and their mugs then would be turned toward the sea. What a pretty story, I thought. And what a perfect transition to ask Katelyn where she stood spiritually.

I saw my chance so I asked her where she thought those men who had died were now. She said she had no idea. “Maybe they are fishing out there on the sea. Who knows?” That led into a brief conversation about knowing for sure where you go when you die. Katelyn, it turns out, lets somebody else take her son to church but she never goes with him. She said he keeps asking her questions about the Bible and she doesn’t know how to answer them. I told her about “Our Daily Bread” devotionals online and she was gone for a while then returned to say that she had bookmarked that site on her computer. We encouraged her to find time to go to church with her son and reminded her of the tremendous responsibility to take care of a little one.

Just like Katelyn, there are many others out there who are clueless. I want to ask you not to allow our collective Christian heritage to fool you. Being born in a “Christian” country, being part of a “Christian” family, attending a “Christian” school or even a church; none of these things guarantee experiential knowledge of Scriptural truth. That is why we have to be willing to open a dialogue with people we meet. They need to know and if we don’t tell them, who will?

150,000 people die every day and the vast majority of them die without Christ. They are headed not only to a “Christless” eternity; they are guaranteed a ticket to that other place of torment called hell.

“How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!’” (Romans 10:14-15).

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade