- Get Grounded In The Gospel
- Learn Your City's Story
- Engage In The Life Of Your City
- Discern Your City's Idols
- Retell Your City's Story With The Gospel
When I was in high school I worked in landscaping: trimming hedges, mowing lawns, planting trees, hooking up decorative fountains and surrounding it with decorative rock. It was hard work, but something I enjoyed as a young man. And it provided me with a killer tan.
The owner of the business lived on a farm that had a well. This wasn’t a bucket on a rope well; it was equipped with a pump. And if you’ve ever pumped water from a well you know that the pump never works right away. You have to “prime the pump” by cranking the lever a few times. A pump that hasn’t been used for a while is full of air from the pump down closer to water level. It takes a couple of pumps on the handle for the water to fill the tube that delivers it above ground. It’s those first couple of pumps that bring the water to ground level and to usefulness.
As missionaries and evangelists for the supplier of living water, we have to prime the pump in our own hearts so that we are ready to tell all of our King. We need Gospel-readiness and Spirit-reliance right there at ground level. We need to battle with sin and push back against apathy. Evangelism is one of those things that takes God-confidence, courage, and risk. We need a heart that has been primed through dying to self, a reoriented life, a renewed mind, fixing our eyes on Jesus, filled with His Spirit, meditating on His Word, loving Him with all our strength.
Too often we haven’t prayed as we should and wrestled with our fleeting emotions, doubts, and timidity. We haven’t developed a state of readiness and anticipation. We won’t dispense living water efficiently and effectively unless we prime the pump of our hearts, remembering who God is, what God has done, who we are, and what God has called us to do. We need daily motivation for Gospel-readiness.
When we drink from the stream of living water at the outset of our day, and throughout our day, we’ve already brought it to ground level and are ready to point others to it. We will not only find our thirst quenched, but we will be motivated by our own satisfaction in Jesus Christ to help others to quench their thirst.
What do you do to prime the pump for evangelism? What resources do you use other than Scripture?
Unless there is God. If the God of the Bible exists, and there is a True Reality beneath and behind this one, and this life is not the only life, then every good endeavor, even the simplest ones, pursued in response to God’s calling, can matter forever. That is what the Christian faith promises.
Release the APE is all about activating the Apostolic, Prophetic, and Evangelistic vocations into the world. We are committed to telling real time APE stories, sharing thoughts that shape the APE, and encouraging believers to live into APE vocations so that all the potential for God movements can be unleashed everywhere.
You may know A.P.E.S.T. from Alan Hirsch's books & teaching. That's where the APE comes from. Who should read the blog? Here's their list
- If you have a deep passion for ministry but you never saw yourself as a traditional pastor and don’t desire to be one.
- If you are a pastor and love it, but want to engage further material about releasing catalytic leaders in and out of your church.
- If you love challenging the status quo in Jesus name.
- If you love starting things for God
- If you have a deep sense for justice (hello prophetic leaders)
- if you love seeing people come to faith (we will have lots of conversion stories)
- if you feel alone in your mission and need inspiration and community
- if you love the missional church movement
- if you believe that the mission of God should and can be carried out by every day ordinary people.
- if you are crazy about seeing that happen too
- If you want mentors and friends who will push you to risk, try, and do things in Jesus name you thought you never could do!
I align with several camps: I'm baptist. I'm reformed. I'm missional. Etc. This looks like a good site for the missional camp to engage, so I'll be reading. Would love to know what you think about their site as the first couple of posts have gone up: "Release the Apostolic, Prophetic, Evangelistic" Part 1 & Part 2. Also check them out on Twitter, Facebook.
It sounded like a cheesy title, but Michael Frost (Exiles, The Shaping of Things to Come, ReJesus, The Road to Missional) delivered a simple, thought-provoking breakout at Exponential 2012 that I listened to by podcast last night. He compares a good marriage to how we say "I do" and "To death do us part" and the ongoing romance with our spouse with how a church loves her neighborhood (or city). I'd have some minor quibbles, but it was quite helpful for me.
Here are some of his thoughts and points from my sketchy notes, which you can see are comparable to marriage. Should we commit to our neighborhoods (cities) to a lifelong romance, till death do we part? Good thoughts here...
- Move in to the neighborhood God has sent you to
- Listen to your neighborhood
- Talk to your mayor, police chief, fire chief, school principals
- Eat in local restaurants, get in local cafes, walk the neighborhood
- Ask people what they want, long for, desire
- NOTE: Interesting section on midnight-5am "street pastors" 16:45 mark
- "Listen to your neighborhood, it is telling you--if you listen hard enough--how to evangelize them, how to serve them, how to unleash an awareness of the reign of God in that place."
- Partner with your neighborhood
- Stay for a long time in your neighborhood (sickness or health, rich or poor, till death do we part)
- You will move culture to a tipping point by transforming hundreds of thousands of villages across the nation.
- If this place goes down, we will go down with you.
I was very isolated from my laptop on vacation (which lasted 2 weeks), but I did find stuff that looked interesting on my feed reader and my Twitter feed and then saved them for later. Here are a few things that caught my eye...
- Tim Keller: 4 Wrong Answers To The Question "Why Me?" | In Defense of Apologetics
- David Murray: Spiritual Strength Training Pt 1 | Pt 2: 7 R's of Soul Care & Maintenance
- Seth McBee wouldn't quit talking about this book (kindle edition) & wrote The Neighborhood Mission Start Up
- Joe Thorn: Plant Midwest
- Matt Smethurst: Unbelievable Gospel: A Conversation With Jonathan Dodson
- Christianity Today gives Wayfarer: The River 4/5 stars
- Joe Gorra: Evangelism & God's Presence (a review of The Sacrament of Evangelism)
- Chris Lagerlof: Rethinking Evangelism
The salternlite blog transcribes 10 "evangelism tips" from Tim Keller. I believe these come from this talk. By the way, for some reason blog trolls love commenting on how "preach the gospel" isn't on the list. If you assume Tim Keller isn't talking about preaching the gospel in and through these things, you are dense and your comments will not be appreciated. For those of us who are thinking about how we can bring the gospel to our neighbors, these suggestions should be simple and helpful. A bit more context is given at the end.
- Let people around you know you are a Christian (in a natural, unforced way)
- Ask friends about their faith – and just listen!
- Listen to your friends problems – maybe offer to pray for them
- Share your problems with others – testify to how your faith helps you
- Give them a book to read
- Share your story
- Answer objections and questions
- Invite them to a church event
- Offer to read the Bible with them
- Take them to an explore course
Keller suggests, according to salternlite, to start with 1-4, move to 5-7, and then 8-10. Too often we start at the bottom.
Over the last couple of weeks I've been enjoying working out with Jerram Barrs audio from his two classes on Francis Schaeffer (Early Years & Later Years) at Covenant Seminary. Specifically, I've been listening by streaming through the Covenant Seminary Worldwide Classroom app on my Android phone.
I've thought for several years that one of the best things that could happen in American churches is that we would take a more L'Abri-like approach to our mission. You can read the Schaeffer's ministry at L'Abri in The Tapestry (out of print, but I just picked one up used but in perfect condition for $25) and L'Abri. I think churches like Soma Communities are doing this kind of thing better than most.
Whether or not you pick up the books, please go pick up these very helpful, free audio classes from Jerram Barrs are hard to beat as resources in thinking about mission, apologetics, living missionally, hospitality, etc. Download Francis Schaeffer: The Early Years and Francis Schaeffer: The Later Years now. You can get them through iTunes, or stream them over the Worldwide Classroom. While you are at it, find more great stuff from Jerram Barrs including his books The Heart of Evangelism and Learning Evangelism From Jesus.
Jeff Vanderstelt of Soma Communities talks about how missional communities (mc's) do mission. If you aren't familiar with missional communities, or the way they are done at Soma, this is fascinating. He talks about every member mission, how and why mc's write their own covenants after choosing a people group they intend to reach together, how the church commissions them for the mission, coaching mc's get, and more. The covenant answers: "What would it look like for us to radically reorient our lives on a daily, weekly, monthly basis to reach those people together?"
Molly and I had a great talk with Jeff Vanderstelt of Soma Communities while at Together for Adoption in Phoenix. Jeff and I have talked a couple of times, and I find his love for Jesus, the Gospel, the church, and the lost world compelling. In our talk at T4A we covered stuff on church life, preaching, evangelism, family, community and a lot more. He pastored us, and encouraged us, and answered our questions, and honestly, he just loved on us and longed to help us. We've been talking about that discussion every day since, multiple times a day. It's the most important thing that happened at T4A for us. And let me add, the best things of every conference I've ever attended have happened in the margins, not in the sessions and breakouts. Those can be amazing, but talking one on one with people has been best for me.
Let me introduce you to Jeff Vanderstelt and Soma Communities in Tacoma, Washington through this video. It's done well, and tells a story of what a Jesus community should look like. Let me know what you think.
Here's my growing list of open-air preaching posts, quotes, and as I find ones worth recommending, resources. I'm only going to link the resources I like best, and there's a lot of stuff I don't like. For future reference, this page can be found under "Compass" on the right side-bar.
- *The Gospel in the Open-Air Again | start here
- Guidelines for Open-Air Preaching
- Open-Air Preaching is Optional?
- Missional Open-Air Preaching
- Steps Toward Open-Air Preaching
- Open-Air Preaching, Gospel Power, & Interruption
- Preaching Has Great POWER
- The Future of the Evangelist
- The Dismissal of Open-Air Preaching | Spurgeon
- Open-Air Preaching and Revival | Richard Owen Roberts
- What Is Preaching? | John Frame
- Need for Hundreds of His Noble Order | Spurgeon on Flockhart
- The Great Benefit of Open-Air Preaching | Spurgeon
- Beyond the Walls of your Meeting House | Spurgeon
- Faces Set Like Flints | Spurgeon
- The Ultimatum of God | Spurgeon
MY RELATED POSTS
First three are precursors to the open-air series above. I didn't know they were going to spark so much on the blog.
- Why Jesus Taught In Parables: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 - these written with open-air in mind
- 10 Commandments for Reluctant Evangelists
Lectures To My Students | Two chapters on open-air preaching. Easily the most helpful stuff I've read on the subject. I believe he shows the best grasp of the goodness of and need for open-air preaching. His teaching on the how, where, when is just as relevant today as ever. Principles stay the same.
Open-Air Preaching: A sketch of it's history and remarks thereon | Not sure how much of this is from Spurgeon's book or elsewhere.
Evangelism in the Early Church | One of the key sources I've used to think about open-air preaching as seen in the Bible.
Thirty Years That Changed The World: The Book of Acts for Today | There's a small section in which Green talks about Acts preaching and then proposes some ways to do open-air today. I don't love all his suggestions, but it's worth checking out.
Here's a list of books I own on revival that I'll be using in one way or another for my current sermon series Revival: Longing for a Surprising Work of God.
I tried to list them in the order of how much I expect to use (or depend on) each one for this series. I'm referencing a number of other things as well (articles, audio, websites) but this list is for books alone.
UPDATE 2.8.11: I added some new books at the bottom, and a few comments in parentheses where I have something to say, so far.
- Revival | Martyn Lloyd-Jones (classic)
- A God-Sized Vision | Collin Hansen & John Woodbridge (so good, fun read)
- Revival Year Sermons | C.H. Spurgeon (great, moving)
- Lectures on Revival | WB Sprague (helpful)
- The Power of Prayer: The New York Revival of 1858 | Samuel Prime
- The Works of Jonathan Edwards (2 Vols)
- The Puritans: Their Origins & Successors | D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
- Puritan Papers (first 3 vols) | J.I. Packer & M. Lloyd Jones
- Revival & Revivalism | Iain Murray
- Pentecost Today? | Iain Murray (really helpful & corrective on revival mistakes)
- Preparing Your Church for Revival | TM Moore
- Praying for Revival | Eric Hayden (just ok, like a Bible devotional on revival)
- Thoughts on Religious Experience | Archibald Alexander
- Salvation In Full Color | Richard Owen Roberts
- Repentance | Richard Owen Roberts
- Give Him No Rest | Erroll Hulse (lots of great stuff, inspiring truths, quotes)
- Jonathan Edwards: A Life | George Marsden
- A God Entranced Vision of All Things | John Piper & Justin Taylor
- Jonathan Edwards | Stephen J. Nichols
- Revival Praying & Revival God's Way | Leonard Ravenhill
- Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire | Jim Cymbala
- Come Down, Lord! | Roger Ellsworth (I finally located it today!)
Additions as of 1/20/2011...
- The Puritan Hope: Revival & the Interpretation of Prophecy | Iain Murray
- The Revived Puritan: The Spirituality of George Whitefield | Ed. Michael Haykin
Additions as of 2/8/2011...
- Revival | Brian Edwards (highly recommended by others, amazing so far, fav so far)
- Lectures on Revival. By Ministers of the Church of Scotland | Richard Owen Roberts, ed
- Scotland Saw His Glory | Richard Owen Roberts
- The Turn of the Tide | W. Vernon Higham
I'd love to hear your suggestions for other books on revivals or about revival. I also assume as I peruse my personal library I could add a few to this list that I overlooked.