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  • "A Musing Pastor"

High Quality Evangelism.

Decided I wanted to have more tools in my toolbox along the lines of life-saving techniques so I signed up for CPR classes. Our instructor did an excellent job with the materials and allowed us opportunity to practice what we had learned. The follow-up written test was more difficult than I imagined. Have you ever taken a test where each of the four answers sounded right but only one was the best response?

I passed the test....barely and will receive my certification card soon and will be able to help someone in duress if necessary. One of my take aways from the afternoon of learning was the oft used phrase, "We want to use 'High Quality CPR' at all times." It got me to thinking more closely on how to do chest compressions and rescue breathing and to do these with excellence. During our team work on the manequin, I paid closer attention to detail and following proper protocol in life saving techniques. On more than one occassion, I watched my partner and gave positive feedback when she was doing everything well.

After practicing our skills, we would debrief and discuss how we did and what could have been done better. We were thankful for the knowledge of our instructors and their willingness to share their experience with us. Each year brings new changes on how to save lives. Years ago, it was cutting edge to do a blind mouth sweep, 5 chest compressions, and a breath into the lungs. Today we learned that mouth sweeps are not called for, 30 compressions are started immediately, and then two 'one' second breaths are normal procedure. In places where an AED is available, it is employed as quickly as possible. More effective techniques mean more lives might be saved. These saved lives come about as a result of research and development of more effective means of training in life-saving.

Shifting gears brings me to this question. Are you saved (from the curse of sin)? If so, how were you saved? Did you experience another believer patiently walking beside you, growing a trusting relationship with you, then introducing you to Jesus Christ? Or, were you told to accept Christ or possibly burn in hell?

Churches have employed many different avenues to bring people to faith in Jesus Christ. In some it was standard procedure to scare people into a relationship with Jesus. I personally don't think that particular method of evangelism truly embodies the mercy and justice of God. I will admit, many people I know are followers of Jesus because of the aforementioned technique. I question the quality of the procedure and the outcome of one who serves God out of a sense of duty and fear rather than love and devotion.

How do we engage evangelism? Do we use antiquated techniques that don't connect with our current culture. Or, are we willing to study our culture and realize that 1950 style evangelism scares more people away from Jesus than brings them to Him? Frankly, taking someone to meet Jesus is less likely to occur than the alternative of bringing Jesus to the person where they live. Relationship building is essential in 2016. Trust and genuineness must be hallmarks of followers of Jesus. Allow space for conversation and share life with another person. Allow the seeker to ask questions and you model for them the faith you have in God and Jesus Christ.

"Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:9, NIV)

Read the four Gospels and watch how Jesus connected with His surroundings. Listen to His words and look at His actions. He was genuine, he offered hope and displayed God's power, he held people accountable, and he demonstrated grace and God's redemptive nature.

Think you and I can model this simplistic approach in our evangelism? What would the world look like if we carried Jesus with us wherever we went? How would it sound to offer grace and mercy to those who are struggling with sin and faith? We're only talking about eternal life and death here. Unfortunately, many church folk, dare I say, many churches have lost their passion for lost souls. Might be why the world is in such disarray. Join with me as we consider offering high quality evangelism to our firends, neighbors, and total strangers.

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