Monday, June 12, 2006

Book Review: 7 Principles of an Evangelistic Life

Doug Cecil has done a tremendous service to the body of Christ in his newest book on evangelism. I have been through so many evangelistic training sessions over the years, its not even funny. In fact, not only have I been through them, I probably have taught them at some point. In all the focus on evangelism methods, it is easy to forget the basics. Cecil helps us not to forget the basics. His book is not so much about using a certain method of evangelism as it is asking the question what kind of life do I need to live to become an evangelistic person. This transition from focusing on what I do to who I am is tremendously helpful and one that is not taught enough in evangelistic ministries. His principles include things like making Jesus primary in your life, passionately pursuing lost people where they are, recognizing that evangelism is more spiritual than methodological, etc. His work is a must read for every Christian who wants to be used by God to expand the family of believers. If we believe our mission as Christians is to make disciples, then Cecil has done us a great favor in clarifying definitions to show us what biblical evangelism is & how it fits into the disciple-making process. I have summarized Cecil's book in about a three page outline, so if anyone wants to get a copy of my outline, let me know & I'll email it to you. But the outline is not sufficient for getting the full effect of the book, because Cecil has great stories, illustrations, and graphics all throughout the book that help make its meaning clear. Highly recommended!

3 comments:

Brent said...

You know, every time I take heat from folks in my church it is usually some variation on "pursuing lost people where they are" and/or (I'm guessing here) more relational in nature than methodological issues.

Does he address those "angles" in his book--the perception of others when those things look a bit "outside the box?" I'd be curious to know...

Keith Ferguson said...

Brent,

He does address the different angles on evangelism; he covers a wide variety of methods in doing evangelism, but his main point is, "are we open to using different methods with different people?" I think this is tremendously helpful as we talk about doing evangelism with people who we have different relationships with - from close relationships (like our parents) to total strangers. He doesn't really address those who are negative toward "outside the box" methods of connecting with unbelievers, but he makes a huge point when saying that most Christians have little impact in evangelism because they have so little contact with the unchurched. His motto is telling: there is no impact without contact. Cecil does us a great favor in challenging us to balance relationship building with actually sharing the gospel. Our tendency is to swing to one extreme or the other, but the biblical model is to do both - build relationships with lost people where they are, and eventually get to the gospel. I personally think people struggle with two barriers to personal evangelism - getting into spiritual conversations with lost people (because most Christians are too insulated from the world) and transitioning to the gospel once they're in a spiritual conversation. But that's a conversation for another blog post.
KF

Tina Lopez said...

keith,
Thanks so much for keeping your blog going. You are always an inspiration to me. You keep me thinking always about the different aspects of Faith. Thanks always for sharing your thoughts, vision, and feelings.
Sorry I missed you all this weekend I truly was looking forward to seeing you all. Blair was admitted to the hospital on Friday and came home on Monday. She is better but still not well so please keep her in your prayers that she gets well. Thanks and we will come see you all soon in austin.
love you all always
Tina Lopez