Discipleship: The New Evangelism

Are these two important elements of the church trending together?

The Roman's Road. FAITH. The Four Spiritual Laws. The bridge illustration. These are all names of good, useful tools for evangelism—and I'm sure you can add to the list. The goal of each is to introduce someone to a relationship with Jesus Christ in a simple, straightforward way. And they have worked well. Really, really well.

The question is not whether they have worked, but are these the best models for evangelism in today's culture?

That Was Then

It's worth asking the question because the times, they are a-changin'. The postmodern mindset is one of exploration, journeying, and mystery. It craves depth in all aspects of life—whether in relationships, experiences, or faith. Given this shift in our culture, is there a new way to engage in evangelism that connects specifically to this new kind of mindset?

It's also worth asking the question because, back when we were doing the research project that would eventually lead to the formation of Threads, a question was asked to those both inside and outside of churches, both believers and non-believers. The question was simple, but has big implications: Does the idea of a deeper Bible study interest you or discourage you?

Before we talk about the answer, consider some of the assumptions that led to the seeker-sensitive model of church that was visible throughout the country just 20 years ago. The assumption was that people needed to be introduced to the concept of faith at a church. So, any attempt to go too deep would inevitably scare people off. They were, after all, just "seekers"—those coming to try out religion and faith and see what it's all about. The goal was simply to get them to come back again, and then eventually move ...

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