FAITH Evangelism

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Martin, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. Martin

    Martin
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    I was reading a thread on this board about evangelism/baptism and it got me to thinking about the Southern Baptist F.A.I.T.H. program. My church does not use FAITH or any other such program, but I know churches that do. In fact I know of one particularly large church up in Fayetteville, N.C. that requires people go through faith before they can be on a witnessing team. While I don't believe that is a bad thing, I wonder how effective having people memorize a method of evangelism is. After all in Scripture we see the Apostles and Jesus use different styles with different people. I don't see a cookie cutter approach to evangelism being promoted in Scripture. I have the same concern with such programs as Evangelism Explosion. I have to wonder how effective these type programs are. I suppose my main concern is that these programs might push folks through a route that may not end up in salvation.

    I am not being critical of FAITH, since I know very little about it, but I do worry that such programs promote a legalistic form of easy believism.

    What do others here think about this?
     
  2. Revmitchell

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    I am about tired of programs that pop out every year. Maybe we should disciple people and then we wouldn't need programs but we would just know what we believe, why we believe it, and how to present it using scripture. Doing this would allow for the leading of the Holy Ghost in each moment.

    1Pe 3:15
    But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
     
  3. preachinjesus

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    I think FAITH is nice. To me it is a big box denominational with a pretty steep learning curve. The whole training process is quite cumbersome. I will say that I like that it absolutely requires the senior leadership to buy in and participate in the training with their people and as a prerequistite for a church. That is good.

    We've got too many mega-church pastors who just show up on Sunday and talk a good game about evangelism but have lost touch with the true nature of every day, incarnational evangelism.

    FAITH and EE don't make sense to me. Just my thing. They are deeply imbued with process and procedure and an honest question from an unchurched person could definitely derail the whole thing. As well I think they start too didactically and aren't concerned with where people are individually. The Gospel should be approachable at the personal level imho.

    As I communicate the Gospel through speech and action I prefer a methodology that lets me talk about my story than a planned presentation. I've found with the 20somethings and collegiates I work with that they are incredulous and deeply suspicious of acrostic style and canned evangelism. Granted I can handle most honest and serious questions theologically and philosophically, but that is due to my studies and the gifting of the Holy Spirit.

    That said my mom is a big FAITH person and loves it. She has used it frequently and seen lots of fruit for the glory of God.

    Ironically the SBC rolled it out in an ultra-huge, financially bloated, presidential push that went no where and has pretty well abandoned it. We've got a crisis here people. While I agree that in the new century propositional evangelism is going by the wayside due to the progress of a more fibrous societial ethic, contextualization is big for me, we still need people to get behind some plan for sharing the Gospel.

    I'm a missional follower of Christ. I believe my life's goal is to be the greatest representation of Christ to those who might otherwise see Him during their lives. I don't believe I need to be in ministry to do that. Lot's of my 20something friends agree too. That said one of the big hang-ups they have is being able to seriously talk about that Gospel they are so devoted too.

    I don't think cookie-cutter works either. Canned presentations and classical evangelism methods don't work with the emerging generations. They want something more textured for their lives. Big campaigns won't work...that said we do need some kind of teaching from our denomination that leads people to learn how to effectively share their lives and stories and not another program then we need the leadership have the fortitude to stick with it for at least five years.

    This new evangelism campaign every year thing stinks and is throwing away the stewardship of our people. :)
     
  4. blackbird

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    I'm going to "second" the right reverend's remark here-----I've known churches and pastors who have the mentality

    "If your church isn't doing EE------you're out of God's will!!"

    "If your church isn't doing FAITH " " " "

    "If your church isn't doing CWT . . . "

    It all boils down to individuals witnessing to individuals-----one on one--at work, at recreation(the gym, Karate class, etc) wherever people gather ---- a Christian can witness verbally of the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus
     
  5. Martin

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    ==I think those remarks just about sum up my concern with FAITH. I believe witnessing should be a personal thing, not some cookie cutter formula that someone has set to memory. We should witness to people in their personal context and though the message never changes the way we present the message should be tailored to the person we are talking to. That is what Jesus did and that is what the Apostles did. The Bible never presents a cookie cutter, one size fits all, approach to evangelism and there is very good reason for that.


    ==Sadly you, and I would like to think myself and many others on these boards, are the exception and not the rule in the modern evangelical church. We study about theology, history, and things like that. Most people in the pews rarely to never think about those things. The result is that most pew warmers are not ready to be confronted with serious questions. If they were to be confronted with tough questions they would be in trouble.

    Btw, I don't believe it is just the 20somethings and collegiates who don't like canned messages. If someone comes to my door, or walks up to me on the street, and starts with some canned/memorized message I am very unlikely to listen or to take them seriously. In my opinion the best kind of evangelism today is personal evangelism.
     
  6. John Toppass

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    I think the F.A.I.T.H program is a very useful program. I have seen those who were shy and unsure about witnessing, but after the FAITH program they gained a confidence in themselves and started to sew seed and reap a harvest. After a while the program becomes part of the person in most cases they will add to it and change it a bit but stay within scripture. Many a person has come to know Christ due to someone sharing with them by using a program that taught them to react and stay on point.

    Many a church stays stagnant because of the automatic criticism that programs receive from stagnant leaders who forget it is not their church but it is the Bride of Jesus. Too bad, when they say or act "this is the way we have always done it" they do not seem to remember it didn't work then either.

    All in all, FAITH program is a great tool but it is not the end all answer to all witnessing criteria. It is well worth looking into and using.
     
  7. dh1948

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    Many years ago I heard a preacher tell about a conversation he had with a fellow pastor. The pastor asked him what evangelism program he was using. His response was that he was using EE (prior to FAITH strategy). The pastor said he didn't like that program. The other pastor who was using EE asked him what soulwinning program he was using. His response was that he wasn't using anything. The EE pastor said, "I think I will keep on using mine. I like it better than yours."

    FAITH was in use long before its founder became SBC president. FBC Daytona pioneered the strategy. Note the use of the word "strategy." It is not a program. It is a method that teaches people how to share the gospel. I don't see any problem in teaching people how to do that. One of the common reasons people give as to why they do not share their faith is that they do not know what to say. FAITH is a good way to teach them. It gives them confidence.

    I have used the FAITH Evangelism Sunday School strategy since it first became available. People who had never shared their faith now do so without hesitation. I remain sold on it.
     
  8. Martin

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    ==That is certainly the other side of the coin. Programs like FAITH give people something to work from, something to give them confidence (etc). However I do wonder if a series of theology lessons would be just as effective. This is why I made the point in the OP that "I am not being critical" of the program, I just have some concerns.


    ==The problem with that is, of course, the Bible does not endorse FAITH or EE. These are programs people have come up with to help others obey the command of Scripture to evangelize. Simply because a pastor does not approve of FAITH (etc) does not mean he is "stagnant" nor does it mean that the church he pastors will not be a outreach church. My church does not use any of those programs however nobody could accuse it of not being evangelistic. I get concerned when I see pastors, and others, imply that those who don't use programs like "FAITH" or "EE" are somehow not as evangelistic. That is one of several reasons why I openly expressed concern in my OP about these programs promoting an legalistic form of easy believism. These programs don't save, nor are they Biblically endorsed, they are nothing more than systems that people have invented. Are they bad? No, but that does not mean that we should accept such programs uncritically. One point of programs like FAITH that concerns me is the "pray this prayer" focus. I am concerned that the "sinners prayer" has caused much confusion and some false conversions. Praying a prayer is fine, and most people get saved when they say a "sinners prayer", however there is no word for word formula. It is the heart, it is the confession. A person can pray the sinneres prayer until their tongue falls out of their head and still be lost.

    I have some real concerns with these programs. I am not saying they are all bad or useless, just that there are some points that I think need to be addressed before we open our arms to such programs. Before I would recommend FAITH to my pastor and church, these concerns would have to be addressed.
     
  9. PeterM

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    I tend to think that the more tools you have in the toolbox, the more effective you will be. EE, FAITH, GROW, etc. are all good in the sense that if they are implemented correctly they can get folks plugged in and invested in sharing their faith. A church's personality will also play a big role in what strategy will be effective.

    As a pastor, I want to get my folks to form good habits. Sharing your faith should be seen as a good habit that needs to be encouraged and ultimately formed, but it takes time and consistent gentle encouragement. Once folks share their faith (and even get a chance to take part in some harvest), it becomes a fabulous "addiction".
     
  10. sag38

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    I use FAITH to help church members learn how to share their faith. Those who allow God to use them eventually leave the FAITH outline behind as they gain confidence and trust in the Holy Spirit to use them as instruments to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Someone has to start somewhere (for me it was CWT). And, when I first started witnessing on a regular basis I used CWT. But, I soon found myself leaving that crutch behind and relying more on the Holy Spirit than some canned outline that I struggled with anyway.
     
  11. StefanM

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    If it helps you, use it. I don't like the idea of requiring training in a specific method, nor I do like requiring a specific method to be used. Aside from this, I have no problem with using a method or no method at all. It's not a sales pitch anyway. The Holy Spirit can draw a person through FAITH or EE just as easily as he can through any other presentation of the gospel.
     
  12. John Toppass

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    When I said "Many a church stays stagnant because of the automatic criticism that programs receive from stagnant leaders who forget it is not their church but it is the Bride of Jesus."

    I also followed in the next sentence with "Too bad, when they say or act "this is the way we have always done it" they do not seem to remember it didn't work then either."

    I believe this qualifies what meant when the whole paragraph is quoted.

    Too many times different ideas are dismissed without any reasonable scrutiny. I commend you in using all your resources to check these out.

    I think that all programs, strategies or methods should be checked and those who use them should be comfortable with teaching them and make sure they are scriptural.
     

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