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2 Thoughts You Don’t Want Christians Having After An Evangelistic Event

Which of these scenarios can you sympathise with?

1. “I wish I hadn't brought a friend”

My friend was urged by his pastor to bring a friend to an upcoming men's event, where a special guest (prominent in the Anglican church) was coming to speak. He did this, and his friend accepted. What happened next was shame.

The guest speaker was poorly prepared. In fact, he hadn't prepared at all, and told the attendees that. Instead of speaking, he opened up the event to questions.

This made a terrible impression on the unbelieving guest (“You couldn't even be bothered to prepare?!”), and my friend wish he'd never asked his colleague. It will take a very long time for my friend to extend an invitation to an evangelistic event again.

What elements can result in a bad evangelistic event? Here's a couple:

  • Lack of preparation by the speaker.
  • Poor emceeing/hosting. Particularly when it distracts from the main message.
  • Cringe elements.
  • Unexplained Christian elements (launching into prayer without explaining what you're doing).
  • Using Christian jargon. This is hard – because it's so entrenched in Christian culture we often don't even know we're doing it.
  • Using unnecessary Christian elements – for example, congregational singing. You might disagree, but in a culture where singing in groups is unusual, I think this is unnecessary.
  • Not delivering on the promoted theme. This can be perceived as a ‘bait and switch'.
  • Taking too long to get to the promoted theme.

What would you add to this list?

Whatever the elements, these things can have a lasting impact, and result in you being far less likely to invite a friend in future.

2. “I wish I had brought a friend”

The second thought is related to the first.

Many Christians won't bring a friend to an evangelistic event because their experiences with these events in the past has been so poor.

But not all events are poor. Some events are well executed – sensitive, low on cringe and high on clear gospel communication. That's certainly our prayer and desire with the Search for Success with Francis Chan and John Lennox this August.

And when these events are good, Christians leave thinking “I wish I had brought a friend to this event.”

The challenge

The challenge, of course, is that Christians don't know what to expect. They hear about evangelistic events, but don't know if it will be one where they wish they hadn't brought a friend, or one where they wish they had!

Pastors and event organisers might dismiss this and say “You shouldn't worry about this – your responsibility is just to invite friends and allow God to do the rest.”

But to this, I would say:

Have you, pastor, invited your friend to this event?

If you, as the event organiser have enough confidence in the quality of this event to invite your friends – I'll consider doing the same.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. joanna

    May 24, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    I would add taking an offering to the list of things to avoid. Even with a preface that people don’t have to give, it still tends to be really really awkward at evangelistic events and risks reinforcing the stereotype that some churches are very money focused.

    The big reason I’m really hesitant to invite friends to evangelistic events is faulty or underdone explanations of the gospel, especially when followed by an alter call. Of course there’s generally not room for a super detailed explanation of everything, but the basics must be gotten right. I’ve been to too many evangelistic events where I’ve felt very torn about people going forward for the alter call because the explanation they heard was missing so many very important facts and was so shot through with problematic theology that they probably had no meaningful understanding of what they were committing to. For example, messages along the lines of pray this prayer because God will make your life awesome and full of purpose that make at most passing references to (or omit entirely) things like Jesus, sin, the cross, repentance ect. Sure, God can save people through even the worst message, but often he lets our bad theology and approaches result in their natural negative consequences.

  2. Steven Kryger

    May 26, 2014 at 11:20 am

    That’s a helpful reflection Joanna, thank you. This hasn’t been my experience – thankfully, but it’s a very real problem with some evangelistic events.

  3. Steven Kryger

    May 26, 2014 at 11:20 am

    That’s a helpful reflection Joanna, thank you. This hasn’t been my experience – thankfully, but it’s a very real problem with some evangelistic events.

  4. Andrew Vella

    May 27, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Wow I had no idea they were so expensive. If a church has a good responsive theme it would take less than 2 hours for me to make them a very simple android app that displays their site. The only cost is to get access to the Google play store which is a one off fee of $25 which then allows a developer to upload as many apps as they want…

  5. Steven Kryger

    May 27, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Hi Andrew, that’s good to know. What are the costs for iOS development?

  6. Andrew Vella

    May 27, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    I think it’s about $99 per year to have a iOS app account. You also have to program on a mac, where as with android you can use any platform.

    With windows phone 8 and windows 8 you also need to program on windows and that has a yearly store price of about $20 or $110 depending on if you want to put apps on windows 8 PC’s as well as windows 8 phones.

  7. Bodacious Media

    September 14, 2014 at 10:01 am

    I wanted to let everyone know that I am offering custom development with not set up costs. I will make you anything you want with push notifications, just anything at all. I want churches to reach people for Jesus http://bodaciousmedia.com Joe Sprott

  8. Bodacious Media

    September 14, 2014 at 10:01 am

    I wanted to let everyone know that I am offering custom development with not set up costs. I will make you anything you want with push notifications, just anything at all. I want churches to reach people for Jesus http://bodaciousmedia.com Joe Sprott

  9. Bodacious Media

    September 14, 2014 at 10:01 am

    I wanted to let everyone know that I am offering custom development with not set up costs. I will make you anything you want with push notifications, just anything at all. I want churches to reach people for Jesus http://bodaciousmedia.com Joe Sprott

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