Monday, June 18, 2012

Old School EV (Seniors 2012)

Historically, Campus Crusade for Christ (or Cru as we are now called) has been infamous for walking up to people and intentionally starting a conversation about God, often sharing the short 4 point Gospel outline originally put together by Bill Bright.   It was first titled "the 4 spiritual laws" and that's certainly been the name that stuck, but over the years it's taken on new titles (and colors) including our present rendition which we call the "Knowing God Personally booklet" or the "KGP"
There is great value in learning how to share your faith using a simple outline or pamphlet even though they are limited and nobody has ever written the "perfect" one.  (A common critique is that pamphlets, tracts and illustrations are "reductionistic" and fail to convey the fullness of the gospel.  That's true.  And actually, every time the Gospel is shared it is necessarily "reduced" in some way for the sake of time, intelligibility and preaching, in Bible study or in pamphlets.)

On the whole Cru doesn't do as much "cold contact" evangelism as we used to.  This is mainly because it doesn't connect with people like it used to.   I think this is because the Biblical presuppositions that most short pamphlets rely on are not as familiar to people and are definitely not as embraced.  With that, our culture is generally more skeptical towards Christians, the Bible and the Christian message than it once was, and when you are initiating conversations with strangers, it's harder to engage in a way that builds adequate trust and addresses the important questions that people are wrestling with.  Therefore, we spend more energy building relationships and fostering a Gospel saturated community on campus.   We move out engaging the people around us lovingly, demonstrating the power of Christ actively and proclaiming the good news conversationally.  In our ministry at Cornell, we rely on our Community Groups to be our primary vehicle for evangelism and discipleship. 

But, that doesn't mean that we don't still get out and do a little "old school" evangelism anymore.  I believe that there is still a place for going out intentionally and starting conversations with people about our glorious God.  As a ministry, we want everyone on campus to hear the good news.  And since the day I got here, there have been at least a few students who wanted to get out every week and share their faith in this formal manner.  We don't necessarily use the booklets every time, but students do go out and intentionally start spiritual conversations with others.  To those who say that doesn't work anymore (especially at a place like Cornell) we simply point to student leaders like Kejing who came to know Christ in large part because of conversations started when some students went out sharing their faith one afternoon.  God works in all sorts of ways!

Over the years we've had "Thursday EV".  It's a pretty simple format.  A group of students will get together about dinner time and spend a few minutes praying and talking about the gospel.  Then they will pair up and head out either to dinner or to another place where students are hanging out and initiate a conversation or two about Jesus.  Then, if time permits, they'll come back together to pray and praise God for the opportunities he provided.

To me, one amazing thing about the "Thursday EV" on campus is the way that it has consistently been led by really quiet people.  You might think that this type of overt conversation starting would be a job for the gregarious, but unbelievably it's been just the opposite.  Over the years, the people who have faithfully carried the leadership mantle, organizing and carrying out these evangelistic efforts on campus each week have been incredibly introverted people.  Guys and girls who are naturally very quiet and reserved get together to proclaim the gospel.  In fact, I would say that the greatest benefit of this ministry outlet is the way it's enabled some of our most reticent students to step out with faith-filled boldness.

Among this years seniors who were a big part of the Thursday EV were Tom Rudelius as well as Albert Chen and  Andrew Ferguson.

Albert Chen actually came to Christ here with us during his freshman year.  Over the years he was a faithful part of our EvMOSGo team as well as our tech team.  In addition to leading out in evangelism, Albert helped our ministry get involved in community service projects like Cornell's "Into the Streets."

Albert is a man of genuine compassion and was a true 'behind the scenes' leader in our ministry.  Next year he'll be at University of Wisconsin Madison continuing his studies in microbiology.

Andrew Ferguson shared at our End of the Year Dessert, and his comments are posted below.
Andrew Ferguson on far right with fellow Cru Seniors Owen Amadasun, Kufre Inyang and Nelson Maldonado

I've been in Cru since my second semester of freshman year. Ever since I came, one of the biggest things that was emphasized was evangelism. At Cru I really gained an understanding of the importance of being missional and helping to lead others to Christ.  The very first time I ever did EV was my freshman year.   That night I was with Daniel Cox and Bezhad and being new to this I sat back and watched at first. Then for the next person we approached, I decided to give it a go and tell a bit about the gospel. At that point I realized that even though I grew up in a Christian home going to church every Sunday, I still wrestled with articulating the gospel clearly. Fortunately, it was late at night in College town and the fellow was drunk and so he may of not took to heart the misleading statements I made that night. 

Last year I started going to the Thursday EV and that really encouraged me in being more bold and realizing that EV is not as intimidating as it might seem. They introduced me to [some different tools] which I found to be a good initiator for gospel centered discussion that made it much less daunting for me since I was still a beginner. Doing EV with some of the guys like Nick, Kufre, Tom, and Regi has challenged me to grow in this area of my faith and it has encouraged me as I saw fruit from it. At  times, I was surprised by how God put words in my mouth while evangelizing to say things in ways I myself had never thought of. 

One time Bryan from the Korean Church and I did EV during Cru's Thursday EV  and we had a good conversation with an agnostic using the Perspective cards, however, it didn't end in any prayer of repentance and acceptance of Jesus so I forgot about it. A semester later I saw this person in one of the on campus prayer meetings and I talked to her and she told me that she had started going to a Chinese fellowship and that she has become more serious about her faith. That really encouraged me and helped me realize that although we can't always see how God is working in peoples hearts, we just need to be faithful laborers and sow the seeds of the gospel and water through prayer and leave God to perform the rest. 

(Mt 28:19) Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
-I want to encourage you to step out and EV.

(Mt 13:23) But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
-Inevitably, you will end up sowing on good ground and reaping a harvest.

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