We have seen over the last few days two biblical examples of the ways that the church has engaged culture. Today, we will begin looking a the evolution of modern methods through which the church engages culture. We will introduce the method and discuss some pros and cons of the method and its impact or lack of impact on a post-modern, post-Christian culture.
Evangelism Explosion (EE) is an outreach and evangelism method developed by Dr. D. James Kennedy. It focuses on going either door to door or up to random people on the street and asking them questions about their faith. The questions are usually initiated through telling the person that you are taking a survey. This survey is built around two fundamental questions that are suggested by EE:
- Do you know for sure that you are going to be with God in heaven?
- If God were to ask you “why would I let you in My heaven?,” what would you say?
These are opening questions that are used to engage the individual in a spiritual discussion. These questions are then typically followed up by presenting the person with a tract such as EE’s “Do You Know?” The person when walked through the tract is then given a chance to pray to receive Jesus Christ as his or her Savior in response to the gospel presented by way of tract.
Pros: This is a good method for evangelism in that it presents an easy way for someone to begin to share his or her faith with others. It clearly sparks a discussion through some questions, clearly presents the gospel by way of a tract, and easily transitions into a time of decision.
Cons: The first negative that I see in this form of evangelism is that it can easily seem like a sales pitch. I can remember several times over the course of my time in college at UAB that I have been approached by individuals and church groups seeking to present the gospel in this manner. It seemed really confrontational and like a sales pitch. The groups would line up outside of the student center and pass out tracts and ended up seeming just like the fraternity who had been in that spot the week before trying to recruit new members. Students and young adults are one of the most marketed to generations ever. They are constantly confronted by sales pitches and people desiring their time and money. This form of evangelism seems to fade into the noise of their lives and is tuned out and ignored by them. The second negative is that this form of evangelism requires no relationship. Due to being sold to constantly and being lied to via marketing, students are very skeptical. Someone who presents the gospel in a forcible marketing style manner would definitely be someone worth doubting whether what they had to say was trustworthy. This evangelism plan does not allow time for a relationship of trust to begin to be built between the person sharing and the person listening. This lack of trust leads to another area of ineffectiveness in this method. The third negative is tracts themselves. Tracts in general look and feel old and disconnected from the person you are speaking to. They have a tendency to have unattractive designs and to make assumptions about the individual being shared with that may not be true. The fourth negative is that in today’s post-modern society the questions which imply that there is a place called heaven that exists and that the person would desire to go there might not be true. In a culture where individuals can grow up with no religious background or in a worldview that is totally opposite than the Christian worldview, these questions themselves become debatable. This is another possible problem with this method of evangelism.