I’ve culled the table below from Mark Driscoll’s Radical Reformission and hope he doesn’t mind. It highlights the difference between routine presentation and reformission participation evangelism and has helped me think not only about personal, friendship evangelism but about how we should seek to grow our small groups.
It is obvious as I read the table that both types of evangelism involve some sort of friendship or sharing lives. The question Driscoll seems to raise is: at what stage should Christians begin to invest their time, energy and emotions in a relationship; before or after the conversion of their friend?
|Routine Presentation Evangelism
(believe in Jesus and then belong to the church)
|Reformission Participation Evangelism
(belong to the church and then believe in Jesus)
|Gospel information is presented.||A genuine, spiritual friendship between a Christian and a non-Christian is built.|
|Hearers are called to make a decision about Jesus.||The non-Christian sees authentic faith and ministry lived openly and participates in it.|
|If an affirmative decision is made, the person is welcomed into the church.||The gospel is naturally present in word and deed within the friendship.|
|Then friendship is extended to the person.||The non-Christian’s conversion to Jesus follows his or her conversion to Christian friendships and the church.|
|The convert is then trained for service in ministry by being separated from the culture.||The church celebrates the conversion of their friend.|
The difference between the two is not only the much earlier formation of a genuine friendship in the reformission model but the direction of mission. The routine model, I believe, highlights the relatively low investment in friendships outside church as the model seeks to draw people into the church culture before friendships are built. The second model highlights the model of getting out into the surrounding culture and investing real time, energy and emotion in making real friends (1 Thess 2:8). The difference can be shown like this:
This model should influence the way we think about growing our small groups. Rather than draw people into existing circles of friends, we should set up groups within existing friendship networks, meeting where they already meet, which is (in spite of all I have said against it) the essence of the homogenous church growth principle. More on this in a later post.