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An Outsider’s View to Door-to-Door Evangelism

  • Posted on: 16 May 2017
  • By: Keith Reed

Locked doorThe Mormons came back.

They knocked on my front door on a Monday evening at the typical time: shortly after our dinner table had been cleared and just before our kids’ bedtime.*

I had not met the two young men who stood on my porch, but I quickly learned one was from Sacramento and the other from Salt Lake City. One introduced himself with the title of Elder, the other with only his first name. While they talked, my daughter gripped my hand and pirouetted from time to time. This wasn’t new to her either.  

Visitors from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have made it a habit to stop by our home. A few years ago, my wife and I invited a small group of missionaries into our home to discuss their faith in greater depth. This led to a series of meetings over several months and gave me the chance to participate in an Alpha course with a couple from the local LDS ward. The missionaries from that first meeting have returned to their respective hometowns, but the cycle of visitations is now continuing. New faces, new introductions, but very similar interactions.  

After I bid them farewell, I collected my thoughts and reflected on how it felt to be an “outsider”the person perceived to need the faith being presented. Many times, Christians try to think with this mentality so they can communicate the gospel message more effectively. But thinking from a certain perspective is much different than experiencing it firsthand.

Here’s what I learned from my latest interaction:

They came with a purpose

Pranks aside, people don’t knock on doors without a reason. Salespeople want me to change my gas or internet provider, my neighbour asks me for a favour, my friend arrives and doesn’t want to barge in. There’s always a reason for knocking.

Developing a Missional Mindset in Your Church

  • Posted on: 10 May 2017
  • By: Keith Reed

What does it mean to be on mission for God? In a previous blog, I explored Six Marks of a Missional Church from Acts 2:42-47. In this article, I want to explore this theme further and unpack ways we can develop a missional mindset in our churches. 

A Missional Church is Incarnational

A missional church recognizes that most people will not come to a building to hear the gospel. People in a missional church are actively bringing Christ to those who desperately need him. Just as "the Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood," so too, those on a mission incarnate and share the gospel with those around them [1]. 

For the past 18 years, my family has lived in a nine-unit townhouse complex. Even though we’ve contemplated buying a detached house many times, one of the main reasons we choose to stay is because it’s easier to do life with people when you live close to them. It’s definitely harder to avoid your neighbours when they’re standing ten feet away (although we do manage to do this sometimes). Over the years, we’ve been able to share the gospel with several of our townhouse friends. At least two of them have accepted Christ.

We took this living-in-close-proximity-thing one step further last year when we moved into an apartment building with refugees for seven months (you can read about our adventure in the Do Something blog). We did life with these newcomers to Canada and had many opportunities to share Christ. In fact, it was sometimes ridiculously easy to talk about our faith.

Of course, not everyone lives in an apartment or a townhouse. The point is that we need to find ways to move into people’s lives—to build relationships, to be a blessing, and to share the gospel as the Holy Spirit opens up people’s hearts to hear it (see Six Ways Anyone Can Share Their Faith for more ideas).

A Missional Church Equips and Empowers Individuals to be Active in their Harvest Fields

It’s one thing to talk about being a missional church, but how do we mobilize the masses to live missionally? Let me suggest five ways: 

Betrayed by Busyness

  • Posted on: 4 May 2017
  • By: Keith Reed

Blur of busynessBusyness is the hymn of our age. Our mantra, our anthem, our expectation.  

Unless you’re Eugene Peterson. 

Peterson defines "busy" as the symptom not of commitment but of betrayal. Busy pastors are not demonstrating devotion; they are exercising defection [1]. 

Peterson first published these words in 1981, but ministry professionals have hardly heeded his counsel. As I think of the pastors I know and when I reminisce on my time in that role, I don’t believe there’s a more fitting descriptor for the state of the pastorate than busy. The demands of church ministry are rising, the focus of parishioners is dwindling, and the results of our disciple-making efforts are plateauing [2]. Is it any wonder then, that our typical response is to increase our labour and fill our calendars with more? 

Peterson reveals two causes for his own busyness and he describes each as ignoble: 

I am busy because I am vain 

Peterson draws a connecting line between busyness and the allure of success and his comparison speaks even louder today. In a recent United States study, researchers found that a busier person is thought to have higher status [3]. This may explain why free time is frantically consumed by fruitless activity—perhaps it is this perception that fuels our resistance to be still.  

I worked at a golf and country club for several years when I was a young adult. The course was only closed two days a year, so there were many poor-weather-days when I was left with almost nothing to do. But my boss loved to remind us that we weren’t being paid to do nothing, so I learned how to develop endless ways to appear busy. I once overheard my boss tell a co-worker, “You can’t just stand there even if there’s nothing to do. Do what Keith does—he always looks busy.” It didn’t take long for me to discover it was more valuable to look busy than to do something productive. If I don’t consciously fight against this false value, I fall into the trap of doing busy work instead of important work.  

I am busy because I am lazy 

Laziness breeds busyness despite masking itself as an unlikely precursor. Peterson explains that when pastors allow others to decide their schedule, they become slaves to unnecessary assignments that detract from their core responsibilities. Many pastors will accept these tasks as part of their jobs, but Peterson offers a different perspective: when pastors abdicate their essential work, it’s an indication of their propensity to cater to the desires of others and their unwillingness to stand up for the priorities of the pastorate. 

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