Author | Reaching the Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art | Leadership Network
Tozer wrote that “the chief danger of the 21st century will be a Christ-less Christianity”. Without Christ at the heart of everything, evangelism becomes a marketing campaign to get people into your church. When this is pawned off as evangelism, no wonder that nobody is excited about it. But if evangelism is truly slipping your hand into the grasp of omniscient omnipotence, then what beckons us is an adventure.
Without Christ at the heart of everything, evangelism becomes a marketing campaign to get people into your church.
Evangelism is like a journey. None of us really knows where we’re going when we start out. We blindly fumble our way through it, knowing that we suck at it. At that point, we can either turn back, never reaching the destination, or regrouping, returning to base camp, and attempting Mount Everest one more time for God’s glory.
And it IS for His glory. It’s not really about us. Luckily, Christ has given us spiritual tools to accomplish the job, but for the purpose of this article, I’d like to highlight resources that others who’ve made the climb for Him, have left for us, along the trail to aid us on our climb.
Here are 3 resources I’d highly recommend:
1. The Gospel Centered Life by Bob Thune
I can’t recommend this resource enough. If I owned shares in it, I’d be a rich man, and Bob Thune and I would be best mates. I recommend it to every church planting core team, and any leaders I train, because Bob knows a dirty little secret. Bob knows that most Christians don’t understand the gospel themselves, and in order to share it with others, we’ve first got to let the Holy Spirit share it with our own souls. The gospel won’t penetrate anyone else’s heart if it hasn’t penetrated yours.
Thune maintains that most of us started our journey to Christ with a large view of the cross. Our view of our own sin and God’s holiness were huge, and thus our view for the cross was massive. The cross of Christ, the symbol of grace dominated our spirituality. But over time, through behavior modification, we learned to minimize God’s holiness through thinking we weren’t actually that bad anymore. As time progressed, our view of the cross has grown small, and with it our appreciation of grace has been minimized. When rightly understood, the gospel allows the believer to grow in both the awareness of their own sinfulness, and become ever increasingly aware that God was holier than we could ever conceive and as a result, our need for the cross and the grace of God to cover us grows as well. It’s mind blowing stuff, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
There are a couple of great things about this resource. First, it’s designed to go through with others in a small group. Second, it’s a booklet. It’s small, yet powerful, and transformative like the gospel itself. Concise, and to the point, this book will rock you, and challenge you to let the gospel inform and transform everything you think and do. Think of this resource as being like a compass for the journey ahead that will always keep you pointed to true North.
2. Reaching The Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art by Peyton Jones
Years ago I found myself facedown in a pool of my own blood as a missionary in the steelworking town of Port Talbot, outside the famous church where Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones used to preach. Somehow, I’d never imagined myself in this predicament while comfortably sipping coffee and reading systematic theology thousands of miles away back home nestled in my megachurch office, cloistered like a monk; reading tales about others who reached the ones I never did.
Fast forward to a number of church plants later, where I’d accidentally planted a church in a Starbucks around a Da Vinci Code discussion group, or led an open discussion in one of the busiest gay coffee houses in Long Beach, and I was a different animal. No less scared, but a lot more bold. There’s no end to what you might try when you realize that Jesus was more radical than you could ever be.
There’s no end to what you might try when you realize that Jesus was more radical than you could ever be.
That said, when I pitched Zondervan with the idea, those weren’t the stories I wanted to tell. I wanted people to know that I was more like Bilbo Baggins, and less like Aragorn. I was the reluctant adventurer, more dragged onto the journey by the Holy Spirit, who like Gandalf, knew that I’d return home never the same again. Reaching the Unreached is a how-to of sorts, for those who don’t want to. Let me rephrase that. They want to, but like Bilbo, the journey itself is where the transformation has to happen.
Using Acts 1:8 as the breakdown of the book, I trace the disciples own journey from reluctant ministers of the gospel, and the transformations that made them the gospel animals we find in the book of Acts. Following the geographic training ground that the apostles traveled, the book traces how to reach your Jerusalem (your community), Judea (the gospel outside of the context you’re used to), Samaria (the marginalized) and to the ends of the earth (every journey starts with just doing something; anything; just not nothing).
Lastly, there’s a bit about the Holy Spirit. Don’t let that weird you out. He’s just not talked about very much in leadership circles anymore, and yet, He’s the prominent figure in the early chapters of Acts. Any book that attempts to talk about evangelism, and side steps Him is mistaking an adventure for a fool’s errand. On your journey towards evangelism, this resource serves as a terrain map.
What if you could gather some of the leading practitioners together in one place and collate some of their best advice, approaches, and strategies for reaching people with the gospel? Well, Exponential thought it’d be a good idea, and they were right.
The topics include evangelism proper, neighboring, ministry in a digital age, culture and society, ministry in the public square, and community impact. Probably the coolest thing about it is that the practitioners such as Alan and Deb Hirsch, Jiri Unger, Alex Absalom, and even yours truly, represent evangelism approaches around the globe. Some of the best practices in evangelism are unearthed as we dig in foreign soils. The resource kit also includes ebooks, videos, and audios, so you’re able to watch in small groups, listen in the gym, and read in your local coffeeshop.
Diversity is the name of the game for this resource, and if you wanted something comprehensive, the Evangelism Resource Kit is a one-stop shop. Think of it as your wilderness survival manual as you continue your journey up the Everest of evangelism. Others have traveled here before you, they’ve left you some kit, because like you, they were once scared, confused, and frustrated.
Are you ready to start your journey? Pick up some of these resources today, and who knows, you may be leaving some helpful kit behind for the next generation as you live out your own story. Just go, but go with God. We’ll see you at the top.
Peyton Jones is a husband, and dad to two amazing girls that he is slowly corrupting to like all things Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and DC. He is a self admitted serial church planter. When Peyton isn’t planting he is an author, speaker, university lecturer, and outreach consultant. Peyton loves to help church planters engage in front line 1st century style church planting as well as help established churches think like a church planter in order to regain their edge and missional focus. Check out more from Peyton here.