Theology and Practice of Evangelism - Lesson 17

Action Evangelism (Part 1/2)

Dr. Tuttle welcomes George Callendine as a guest speaker. There are transcultural common denominators, concepts and ideologies that communicate with equal effectiveness in every culture, not just cross culturally. Evangelism isn’t anything until it’s action, something starts to move. Wesley’s strategy was identify the neediest people and meet them at the point of their greatest need. The evangelism question is not, “what do I do?” but, “what’s going on?”: Paying attention to what’s going on in the life of the person, paying attention to the environment in which they exist and paying attention to God.

Robert Tuttle, Jr.
Theology and Practice of Evangelism
Lesson 17
Watching Now
Action Evangelism (Part 1/2)

I. Introduction to Action Evangelism

A. Definition and Importance

B. Theological Basis

II. Principles of Action Evangelism

A. Loving God and People

B. Living a Transformed Life

C. Sharing the Gospel Contextually

D. Partnering with Others

III. Methods of Action Evangelism

A. Personal Evangelism

B. Small Group Outreach

C. Large-scale Events

D. Missional Communities

IV. Overcoming Obstacles in Action Evangelism

A. Fear and Resistance

B. Developing Confidence and Skills

C. Evaluating Success

  • In order to share the Gospel, you must know what it meant, and how people are understanding what you are saying. The gospel core is the least you can believe and still be a Christian. If the least you can believe is sufficient to get you saved, then the least you can believe is the most you can require of anyone.
  • Christianity is the only world religion with an understanding of grace. Your most important ministry will be helping people understand how much God loves them. The heart of the gospel is that God loves you. Sin happens when we attempt to live as if there is no God. God, since the fall has done everything he can to establish relationship. God wants to make himself known to you in a way that you can understand.
  • At the Fall, Satan gained control of the world. Jesus takes it back in Revelation 5 because he meets the qualifications. The core elements of the sermons of the apostles are authoritative proofs, prophecies fulfilled, God’s activities described, apostolic eyewitnesses and miracles proclaimed. You will be heard with authority to the degree you are willing to put your life on the line. You die spiritually when you rationalize sin. Wind moves from high pressure to low pressure. We access the power of the Spirit by repenting and believing. Two sins mentioned throughout scripture are self-reliance and oppressing the poor.
  • The lesson tells the story of a professor who faces personal struggles and overcomes them with the help of faith, healing, and learning to overcome sin, ultimately showing that it's possible to prevail over life's challenges with God's guidance.
  • Through this lesson, you learn the core components of the gospel message, its theological themes, and how to effectively communicate it for evangelism purposes.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into leveraging your personal, church, and wider spheres of influence to effectively share the Gospel, overcome challenges, and expand your evangelistic reach.
  • Gain insights into ministry experiences and the power of faith, prayer, personal testimony, and baptism stories to navigate emergency situations that are bigger than yourself.
  • You will learn from this lesson that you are uniquely equipped to minister to those in your sphere of influence and that the church is indispensable for your survival. By treating others with respect and recognizing each person's importance, the church can become the living, breathing body of Jesus Christ.
  • In this lesson, you will learn that people are often hurting, angry, lonely, or tired, ministry requires dependence on God and rejection is important, preaching the text is key, our weaknesses can be our strengths, and close community is crucial for doing the work of the kingdom, while leading someone to Christ without providing ample opportunity for growth and nurture is a mistake.
  • In this lesson, you will learn about Charlie Haley, a man with a pastoral background who is currently involved in retreat ministry and considering going into the mission field abroad. The lesson covers topics related to evangelism and ministry, including tract ministry, follow-up and discipleship, and the importance of love and forgiveness within one's sphere of influence. The lesson also discusses the importance of building relationships and addressing felt needs with spiritual solutions.
  • This lecture begins as Dr. Tuttle is relating a story about a lady he met on an airplane. Jesus chose people as disciples that he could demonstrate by showing and telling them, and then depend on them to reproduce what they had been shown and taught. When Jesus gets too close, we raise the religious question to change the subject. As a result of the sin in the garden, we lost our ability to perceive reality beyond the senses. The Holy Spirit came, not to compensate for the absence of Jesus, but to guarantee his presence. We hold the truth, but the world sets the agenda and has the right to ask its own questions.
  • Often, it is implied that once you commit your life to Christ, all your problems are solved. The Hebrew concept of soul is body, mind and spirit. The Greek concept is that soul and body are separate, and that soul is good and body is evil. Prophecy and spiritual gifts are essential for the body of Christ to function. In the teaching in mainline churches, there is sometimes a disconnect between faith and life.
  • Trusting the Spirit of God is the key in this lesson. By remembering and trusting the Spirit, one can be utterly dependent upon God and do the hard work in preaching. Dr. Tuttle shares his personal experience of trusting the Spirit and provides context for Paul's second missionary journey, including Paul's conversion and early ministry, Peter's vision, and the conversion of Gentiles. The Spirit of God also taught Saul how Jesus fulfilled all of the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah.
  • Through a deep exploration of Wesley's Methodism and Calvin's Reformed tradition, you gain an understanding of their respective theological frameworks, evangelistic strategies, and lasting influences on modern evangelism.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the significance of Wesley's Societies, their organizational structure, theological practices, and the lasting impact on modern church practices.
  • By exploring the Ethiopian Eunuch story, you gain insights on divine guidance, Scripture's role in evangelism, and early church inclusivity, while learning to apply practical evangelistic lessons.
  • Through this lesson, you learn to effectively share the gospel through action evangelism by understanding its theological basis, applying key principles, employing various methods, and overcoming common obstacles.
  • You gain insights into action evangelism's importance, principles, and various methods, while learning to overcome fears and obstacles, and equipping others for effective Gospel sharing.

Dr. Tuttle teaches three critical points around evangelism: how to share your faith story, what evangelism is and how to approach it, and that God has more invested in evangelism than we do – He is in control. God is at work. He wants us to, "show up and pay attention [to the Spirit]," and to care about people enough to "press" them by asking probing questions about what they think and what's going on in their lives.

Evangelism is essentially about the core of the Gospel, ministering in your sphere of influence and sustaining those you reach.

Recommended Books

Can We Talk: Sharing Your Faith in a Pre-Christian World

Can We Talk: Sharing Your Faith in a Pre-Christian World

Those who serve on mission fields in areas where Christian faith is not the dominant religion quickly come to understand a central truth: when one is sharing the gospel, one...

Can We Talk: Sharing Your Faith in a Pre-Christian World

Dr. Robert Tuttle, Jr.
Theology and Practice of Evangelism
Action Evangelism (Part 1/2)
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] The following lectures provided by biblical training. The speaker is Dr. Robert Tuttle. For more information go to WW dot Biblical training dot org. I want to introduce George Carlin. Dean. Where are you? There you are. I was Georgia's teacher in seminary for a season, but where we really got acquainted was we went around the world together. I just drag him along. He and a guy named Steve Sandwich, who teaches at Bethel and St Paul's, who is a psychologist. I fell in love with this guy, had an agenda researching transcultural, common denominators, concepts and ideologies that communicate with equal effectiveness in every culture, not just cross-cultural, not from one culture to another, but in every culture. George really began to help me. I came up with a circular for spiritual loss, a transcultural for spiritual loss. You're the one who first helped me with this. Rather than being linear, you starting with a and ending with a D. I developed a circle as a result of what George was sharing me and his wheel, where you can drop into the circle at any point like they're forced before spiritual laws or our need for community. Everyone has a need to measure up. Everybody. Everybody in the world has an innate curiosity about origin and a need over a power to overcome temptation. So if you if you pay attention to people. You don't have to be so anal. I mean, as an analytical, you understand? You can get to know people realizing you can see how these things surface and then you can drop in to that at anywhere and then work your way around the circle and you come out. What? Jesus, George has this wheel where you can. You can it'll it'll work. It'll work with a cup of coffee.

[00:02:04] This weird, amazing how. And I simply wanted you to realize how relevant that is for evangelism, especially interpersonal evangelism. So I begged him to come. He said he would, and he's here. And I'm grateful for you. You understand? Okay. The reason I'm nervous is because I was speaking to 100 U.S. forest leaders from around the country in Seattle, and I've taken a break and come back. I had had them all day, and I was doing a big I had them like in ten groups. They were going 90 miles an hour. And when I walked in off the break, the room into this low rumble laughter. And, you know, looking around is my fly open. What's the effect on wonder right now? Is my fly over, you know, there toilet paper on my shoe? What's the deal? The head of this, the Forest Service came up to me, shook my hand in front of the whole group and says, George, we're just we're just glad to know that you practice good personal hygiene. That you flush after you use the toilet. Fortunately, I didn't sit down and you wash your hands. I'd left my microphone on and fortunate I didn't sit down to go to the bathroom. Thank God. Never. So I lost that group. That was 11:00. They didn't hear a thing I said the rest of the day. Two years later, somebody came up to me, said, Are you that guy that went to the bathroom in Seattle at the forest meeting? I said, I'm that guy. So I could feel my adrenaline pumping when they started putting this this thing on me. But I'm thrilled to be here. I really am. It's been fun to be on this journey with you in the back row here, and I'm just privileged to have to be able to contribute in a small way to what Bob's doing here.

[00:03:54] Our purpose is to in the next hour or so. Oh, I'm George Carlin. Then I just in a nutshell, my background is in ministry, adult education and business. And here from Fuller is where I studied under Bob Garrett to get my meth. I'm a methodist background, so I took my theology and history from Bob since the early nineties. I've been in consulting since about 86 and full time since 92. I've been on my own since 97. I was a partner with Dr. Robert Terry, who we're going to see some of his work. He has since deceased died of else about five or six years ago. Bob developed this theory and we worked together with it for years. I still continue to use it, but my clients are churches and. And. Businesses and nonprofit groups. And I love see and leaders get it and lead well. I love seeing churches come together. And tackle tough issues and push through tough wall. I love seeing groups of people and teams and individuals move from point A to point B. And get closer to who God made him to be and get closer to each other and closer to God and closer to doing what God's calling him to do. That's what I'm about. That's what I'm about. So what are we going to look at today? We're going to explore and equip. I'm going to add to your toolkit of being able, by exploring and equipping you for what I call action evangelism, is just walk across the room on the reading list for this. I don't know anybody read, just walk across the room. Hybels It's an evangelism. You have what is essentially evangelism is walking across the room when the Holy Spirit says do it.

[00:05:47] It's that gut, that feeling you get, Oh, you're not God. You're not telling me to do that, are you? Because I don't know how this is going to turn out. And the principle is evangelism isn't anything until it's action, until it happens, until something starts to move. It's moving in faithfulness without answers, knowing how it's going to turn out, trusting God. So that's what we're that's what we're going to look at. We're look at a way we're going to way to do that after we kind of get through some of the initial stuff. I'm going to give you an Intro to Action Evangelism. Then we're going to look at action itself and try to understand it better. And then we're going to apply that understanding to issue, framing or diagnosis. That is, how do we how do we in a situation figure out what the heck's going on and so that we get so our response to that can be appropriate and effective. So let's dive into that. Okay. You're not going to hear anything new in this time with me. What you might hear is a twist on the few things that help you see something in a way you hadn't thought of it before. Yesterday, the devotional reminded, helped us remind us of our story. I get intimidated when I'm around Bob Tuttle. I'm not kidding. I mean, I've been on the bus in China where he meets somebody and in 5 minutes he's telling a muslim he's got to become a Christian before he can become a muslim. Well, I watched the guy do it. I get it. I get intimidated when I when I when I read books, when I'm around people that are really good evangelists, at some point, I always have to come back to this place to acknowledge this fact that God has made me He's made me to be George County.

[00:07:36] For good and for bad. And that's where I start as an evangelist. That's where I started my call to share my faith. And so part of it is to acknowledge that and to receive that and to remind yourself, I don't have to do it Bob's way. I'm not going to do the things he does in the way he does them, but I'm going to find my path here in faithfulness. I know you know that. I'm just trying to remind you of that, probably because I've got to remind myself of that. The second thing is we're going to link evangelism to action. I love to study evangelism. I get nervous when I have to actually start doing it. I'd rather study it and think about it and pray about it and ponder about it and talk about it with other Christians than actually do it. But we're really called to link our intent, to move our feet. To walk across the room to engage the process. We serve a God who is active, God created. God is creating. He's continuing to create and transform through us. That's the place in the space we live in. WORSLEY He linked evangelism to action. His evangelism strategy was to points, take the neediest people. And meet them at the point of their greatest need. So then the natural next step that you quickly go to is And what do I do? I've got to go make disciples, I've got to meet needs, I've got to go do something. What am I going to do? And that's where a lot of evangelistic efforts and programs come into play. Do this, do that. Try this. Try that. We get stuck on this? I get stuck on this. What am I going to do when I take my colleague to work? What am I going to say? How are they going to hear it? Am I going to screw up? So what I'm suggesting.

[00:09:50] Is that in order to do this? To do this right. In order to take the neediest people and meet them at the point of their greatest need. You have to first know what? You got to stop. Show up and show up. Woody Allen says 80% of life is showing up. Bob's a show up. And what? Pay attention. I'm always too quick to show up and kick in my plan. As opposed to show up and pay attention. A good doctor, as you know. Takes time to really figure out. What's cooking? Before he intervenes. Anybody? Anybody remember the movie Silent Run? It came out a long time ago. Inside. You remember that silent run? The submarine gets hit. And what is the what? What do they do immediately when the submarine gets hit? They go completely silent. They shut everything down. Why is that? Sonar signals. Their next move could be their last move. So they better be darn sure. What that next move is going to be, they better think about. Carefully. What they're going to do there. Pay attention. Because they might not get five tries and then I get two tries and only get one try. Because once, once the enemy hears that sound, they know exactly where they are. What I'm suggesting here is that we slow down. The evangelism question is not what do I do? Which is too often what I ask, What am I going to do? The evangelism question is what's really going on? What's going on with my friend? I'm going to take the lunch. What's going on with our church that stuck with declining members. What's going on with with whatever evangelistic challenge is before me, whether it's my whole congregation or my my life group. Or my friend that I'm reaching out to our my neighbor.

[00:12:01] The question isn't what do I do? The question is what's going on? What's going on? So here's what I'd like to do. We're going to do four team activities. So here's what you're going to do with your team. You're going to come up with an evangelism problem or challenge or issue. Use a real life case you're involved with, if you'd like. Just share it in such a way that it kind of protects. The situation, but helps you gain insight to that leadership issue. In fact, I would encourage you to use one you've been wrestling with or know somebody else's wrestling with. I like stuff when it's real and we're down in the dirt. I'm going to give you 3 minutes to talk about this and come up with a come up with an evangelism issue. Or a case or a challenge that you want to kind of take and think about and pay attention to. Thank you for those cases. Those are. That's rich. That's. This is rich. I can tell you. You really engage that. Well, thank you for that. Now we're going to hit the pause button on that for a minute, and we're going to come back. Remember, we're talking about evangelism, vandalism. What? Ach shun. It's not evangelism till it's action to something moves. Right. I can. I can think about it and pray about it and talk about it and theorize about it all I want. But I got to I got to get out of bed and move my feet. I got to. Links to action. God created Be yourself. Evangelism is linked to action. God created is creating. And moves in real time, in real space through real lives. To reach those he loves. God's moving through you.

[00:14:00] God is moving through you in each of these situations. Right now, it's all about action, Wesley said. Evangelism Strategies. Two points. What? Number one. Take the eighties. And do what? Meet him at the point of their greatest need. So now we're not just acting. Whimsically, we're acting toward the point of their greatest need as best we can discern it. We're going to act with intention. We're going to pay attention. Take the knee. These people meet them at the point of their need. Where do I get stuck? Don't know if any of you get stuck there. Where I get stuck is what am I going to do? What am I going to say? What are they going to think? I'm always thinking about me. My problem with evangelism isn't the other person, and it's not God. It's George. How's old George going to look? What's old George going to say? Am I going to be an idiot? Well, yeah, probably. But it's not about me. The question isn't, what do I need to do? Question is what's going on? What's going on? I share with Bob last night. He asked me to to reflect on this. I think in pictures I sort of saw three pictures around evangelism. And one of those pictures is paying attention to what's going on in the lives of these precious people right here. And the other is. Paying attention to the environment in which they exist. What do we know about cultural Buddhists from China? What do we know about PK Kids who've been abused? What do we know about people who love to travel and have relationships? You get near church who don't talk about that. What do we know about these people and the culture they live in and the questions they ask? Now, Bob won't tell you this, but I will.

[00:15:59] One of the reasons Bob is so effective in evangelism and others that I know are is he really is interested in people. He strikes up conversations not because he's got an agenda a mile long or he's got a thing he's going to whip out with an answer or a for spiritual loss or whatever. He just wants to know what that what's what makes that person tick. He really is curious. And you know what? You want to build rapport with them. Just shut your mouth and listen and ask a few questions. People love to tell their story. Well, Bob is and he doesn't even know he does it. He just naturally engages a person and wants to know and is curious. And then they start telling their story. The third piece is to pay attention to God. Am I cultivating and nurturing my relationship with God so that when God nudges me, when I get full of myself, I can't feel the brushes and the whispers and the nudges. And on the few occasions when I can get out the way, I have a little more sensitivity. And so a lot of evangelism. You know, for me, studying Buddhism is grunt work. I got to get in there and study something I don't know about. And there's just no easy way around that. You've got to study if you're going to pay attention to the environment, to the culture. You've got to do that way before you meet the Buddhist. And that's a discipline. It's hard work to understand and be a culture list, and you got to discipline yourself in your intimacy with the Lord. And it doesn't happen after you're already on the plane. You've either gotten up that morning and you've surrendered and have been in touch with Jesus that day.

[00:17:42] So you can hear him when you're sitting on the plane next to him or you're or you're not or you're so junked up and full of yourself, like, I get that you miss it. Those are ongoing pieces that are part of this puzzle. For me, as I was thinking yesterday, I've got to be I've got to tune in to Jesus. Am I proactively learning about this person and their environment? And then when I'm with them in my with them, am I really listening? Do they know I want to be with them? Sometimes I ask God to tell me to God, help me love this person. Because if I can get a love for this person, then somehow I want to learn about. I want to learn. I want to learn what it means to be a cultural Buddhist because I love this person. If I can get in touch with my love for the person, it helps me get along. So we come to the question, what's going on? What's going on? Actually, this question applies to what's going on with Jesus today for me in my connected. What's going on in my ability to understand the world. Am I really ready? Do I know? I know where I'm at and what's going on with this person. We came up with four situations to run through this. This grid. That's where we are now.