Is gospel proclamation still relevant seeing as coming to faith is now more of a journey than a moment?
Certainly it's still relevant.
Coming to faith is a collection of moments.
Some may describe that as a journey but it's a collection of moments.
We live in an instant culture.
When I was growing up the most successful shop at the end of the road was the TV repair shop.
Now even if your TV is 3D, HD, slimline and it breaks, you take it to the dump.
We live in a world where you give up on stuff when it doesn't work.
My mum used to have a load of zips on a hanger for if your zip broke on your trousers, she'd sew a new one on.
Who under 70 does that now
You know, we live in a world where we give up on things quickly, and it used to take one or two moments maybe to come to faith.
Perhaps now it takes six or seven for people.
Six or seven decisions that are all positive.
Therefore we need to give six or seven times as many opportunities to come to Jesus in order to get the same fruit.
People often say as well, "Proclamation evangelism? That's Billy Graham ranting on a platform somewhere."
You know what? There is still a massive space for platform ministry leading people to Jesus.
Coming to Jesus is a selection of encounters.
People will bring you from being negative to being a bit warmer, to being just about ready.
Some of us operate in the area where we can reap the work of many others.
You still need that moment, that carol service, that Easter thing.
In the last six months, I've seen more people come to faith on platforms than I can remember.
Speaking to my friends who are proclamation evangelists, they're saying the same.
"Aslan is on the move, things are happening."
However, we'll only get a few from the platforms.
If the church is going to really transform this nation, "We are gathered to be scattered."
And as we're scattered, we each have to take on what it means to share our faith in that context.
Proclamation evangelism is not just with a microphone.
It is proclaiming with your mouth whose you are.
We need to have people doing that.
And the most powerful thing we all have is our story.
So, my story, you know, I grew up in South London.
I love football.
I love running.
I love all kinds of-
I've got ways of connecting with people.
Then, with the guys I play football with on a Thursday night, with those guys, they like me, because we like the same things.
God is suddenly more accessible because God's invaded my story, and my story connects to their story.
But I need to be sharing with them something of Jesus on the one-to-one, as we're hanging out and things.
Every person has a story.
We need to release people to share their story, engage with others, and bring the God piece of their story into the equation too.
Because suddenly God seems accessible: if I'm OK, and you're OK, and I love Jesus, suddenly Christianity's not weird.
It's really weird when it seems abstract, and we allow the Daily Mail and others to tell people what Christian are like.
Christians need to get in amongst people, be interesting, have hobbies, come off some of those rotas you're on all the time.
The flowers can look after themselves
Get a hobby that involves hanging out with those who don't know Jesus.
Spend time with them, and share something of His love, and how He has changed you
Proclamation evangelism is one-to-one, it's also one-to-thousands
Thank you very much, Gavin.
Dave, right at the beginning of these sessions I spoke to you about the fact of whether we are all called to evangelism, which you said a resounding yes, you've both said that very clearly over these sessions.
And I guess, when it was, if you like, given a term of "friendship evangelism" in more recent years, that made many people who felt, "You know what, I can't speak in front of people, It would terrify me to stand up in front of people" or "I don't have that, that gifting or anointing" thinking, "I can do this."
I can do that.
I can speak to the one mum I've befriended in the coffee shop.
So how important is it for those who perhaps feel even that they don't have the boldness of someone who's clearly a gifted speaker like Gavin here?
What would you say to those?
Well like we said earlier, I think evangelism, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ for salvation, is the greatest act of love one person, one human can do for another.
And it's got to come from love.
Love is what should compel this gospel engagement with people, with the lost.
And that means building relationships.
I heard a great sermon that helped me with this many years ago, about personal evangelism, and it was a sort of three stage thing.
The first stage was, take an interest in someone's life.
Just take an interest in what they're doing in their lives.
Then, ask God what you should say and what you shouldn't say.
And then say it.
Or, you know, do what God.
So, but we often don't pray into people's lives and you know, sometimes we can be compelled, be moved by things that aren't love.
For me, my own story, you know, salvation, I hear this word "journey" all the time and I get what it's about, but sometimes it can be a bit of a cop-out.
There's got to be a point, a point at which you make a decision for Christ.
There's got to be a spiritual exchange that goes on.
You've got to do business with God and for me, it's a point on a process.
There was a process up to a point, and there was a process after the point.
And Paul talks about this in the Bible, about salvation coming to people where they are, where they're making a decision.
But then sanctification, you know, that whole process of growing in Christ, going on as we learn more and more about Jesus, we grow in our knowledge of Christ, and also for evangelism we grow as we give.
I mean, we really forget this.
This is a principle in Philippians: you can't hold this stuff, this good news to yourself if you want to grow in God.
You've got to release it to others.
And it's a very fluid thing, isn't it, the gospel, but, and so is the kingdom.
So, you know, I would say it's a point, it's a process, but it's got to start with love.
We've got to love people.