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Creative evangelism ideas

Meeting people where they are

In many closed and semi-closed countries of the world, official mission work is not possible. Cross-cultural workers obtain access by other means, obtaining jobs or college courses. This is called Creative Access and such countries are termed ‘Creative Access Nations’ (CANs). It is a legimimate, ethical, and necessary way to reach people.

In the our secular western world, creative strategies are increasingly important online as we seek to engage with people who have a postmodern or New Age worldview and fail to engage with anyone else. But this is a diminishing pool. In very few countries in the western world do even 5% of their populations attend church regularly. The very high percentage of church attenders in USA is a unique phenomenon, which may perhaps prevent some Christians in that country from seeing the opportunities for creative evangelism. In the non-western world and the 10-40 Window, where Christianity is a misunderstood minority religion, the need for creative evangelism is equally pressing.

The significance of creative evangelism has never been greater. By 'creative evangelism', we do not imply any watering down of the message. This has often been the response of non-biblical churches trying to adapt to modern culture. Creative evangelism is the presentation of the full biblical Gospel, but through unusual means, to audiences who would be unlikely to hear a more conventional message.

Gray Matrix and creative evangelism

We can use the Gray Matrix (a two-axis version of the Engel Scale), to depict visually some creative evangelism strategies which reach deep down to people who are potentially hostile and unknowledgeable about the Gospel. The star-shape (shall we call it the ‘Battle Star’?) represents a range of such creative strategies. These strategies are defined as X5 or X6 on the X-Spectrum.

The way that the Holy Spirit has led Christians around the world into unusual outreach strategies is quite remarkable – and it deserves a website of its own. These approaches usually use a version of the Bridge Strategy. They include a wide range of approaches, such as drama, storytelling, comics, film, dance, the arts, conjuring, escapology, puppets, and servant evangelism.

God can lead us, often through group brain-storming sessions, into quite remarkable ideas. Dream dreams! Envision visions! Please send us examples of creative and innovative evangelistic strategies.

It is interesting to consider that Google requires of its engineers that they spend 20% of their time (one day a week) thinking about and trying new creative ideas of their own. Half their product launches result from this ‘20% time’.

Creative evangelism online

The Web lends itself to such innovative strategies because it is a pull medium. It can target any affinity group of people on a worldwide basis. Many of these showcased sites are using very creative approaches. Here is one you must try: Essay Generator. And how about a Lego church?

But the need is enormous. These sites are only scratching the surface of an enormous evangelistic opportunity! Ask God to show you a creative strategy that could be used online.

How to be creative?

Are there any conditions we can fulfil in order to be creative - to 'think outside the box'? Professor Richard Wiseman speaks of ‘gorilla moments’, based on an interesting video experiment.

Christ the Beginning

Guest feature by Gordon Bailey

Gordon Bailey has throughout his ministry emphasized the need to be ‘creative’, and feels passionately the need to 'go out' with a message that relates to people where they are, rather than waiting for them to come to where we are. He also strongly affirms that effective ‘communication’ must include ‘communing’ with people – that the Gospel should flow across a real relationship. He leads a team that ministers within UK schools, and also offers one-day training programs. Gordon has also written a number of books. His strongly-felt conviction is that Christians must move from their comfort zones to where people actually are: that we do not wait for them to come to us, but go out into the byways to search for them.

Christ names himself ‘the beginning’ – the alpha of everything – leaving true believers with no choice but to ensure that everything they believe and do as a result of their beliefs, begins with the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul also refers to Christ as the beginning in his letter to the Colossians.

All aspects of worship, fellowship, and evangelism – as witnessed in the lives of believers – should be tracable back directly to Christ’s life, ministry, teaching and example. Sadly, many of the ways in which professing Christians express themselves and their faith cannot be traced back directly to Christ. Some teachings, especially those which have resulted in serious divisions within the Church, do not trace back at all!

Is it time I examined everything I believe and everything I do, in order to check their true origins? Why do I believe that? Does the Lord Jesus teach it, exemplify it, and did he do it? Why do I worship as I do, fellowship as I do, evangelize as I do? Does Jesus, in his life, ministry, relationships with non-believers, or in his teachings and commandments, tell me this is the way I should behave?

Let us consider ‘evangelism’ as it has been generally practised by the churches, over the past few centuries. Despite the fact that Jesus never did it, churches have so often restricted the establishment of relationships with not-yet-Christians to those who would come to a place where the churches had established themselves: the church building, the stadium, the tent, the hall.

Jesus came to earth from heaven, at his Father’s urging, and later said, “As my Father sent me, so I send you." (John 20:21). To his disciples He issued the command “Go into all the world, to every creature," instructing them to communicate to those who were yet to believe “all that I have commanded you”. (Matthew 28:16-20)

The activities of the first disciples can be summarised as “we have come to tell you”. Sadly, over recent centuries, most so-called evangelism has to be summarised as “you must come and hear us”. We have stood Christ’s teachings and example upside down, turning his will for us inside out. All because we have not begun with Christ, but have taken our example from someone other than Him. If I do not begin with Christ, as a believer I haven't begun! I am still on the starting line of the race He has set before me.

The preaching of the Gospel of Christ has so often been restricted to those who would attend the meeting or the rally; or those who are compelled into church at christenings, weddings, and funerals. Where can we trace this back to? Certainly not to the person and work of Christ.

The sower went forth to sow. He did not sit waiting in the seed barn, praying for the field to come to him!
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