Evangelism Outside the Box
It used to be that providing clear evidence for the resurrection of Jesus or the reliability of the Bible was a pretty effective way to reach people with the Good News. But today, many folks think all truth is relative, even our historical and scientific data about Christianity. So how can we reach them?
We need new ways of telling people the old, old story. We need to look again at our usual mental habits if we want to reach people who have a brand new mindset of their own. We need to get outside the box of ideas and practices that are sacred to us but are not sacred to God. That's what Rick Richardson's book is all about.
Here are fresh perspectives on relying on the Holy Spirit, awakening spiritual interest in others, appealing to what they value (instead of what we think they should value) and leading them into a transforming experience with God. Also included is Richardson's Circles of Belonging, a new, straightforward presentation of the message of Jesus (yes, it can even be sketched out on a napkin!) that is true to Scripture and true to the new way people live and think.
As an experienced evangelist and leader of evangelism programs, Richardson offers in this helpful book the principles and practices that will help us all grow in love for--and communicate effectively with--people who need Jesus.
"Reaching this new generation requires that we learn to evangelize an increasingly secularized culture. In his book Evangelism Outside the Box, Rick Richardson leans into past movements of God for valuable lessons, and then combines them with striking insight into today's culture which flow out of his vast experience of reaching university students through his ministry with InterVarsity. The resulting conclusions could dramatically improve church leaders' efforts to reach spiritually lost people--including the many who currently don't consider the local church a viable option in their search for God."
"Evangelism is a central part of the church's mission on earth. Even though each of us is called to witness and share the gospel, it is never easy for most of us. Here is a book that offers thoughtful ways to help many of us get started. Rick addresses our culture insightfully and helps all of us find natural ways to share our faith. I hope many will read this book. I commend it most highly."
"Allow me to encourage you to read Rick Richardson's Evangelism Outside the Box. For those of you on campus staff, encourage your student leaders to read it as well. Rick does a superb job of helping us to consider what evangelism looks like in our emerging campus cultures. The book is clear and compelling--full of new ideas and energy."
"Those with a passion to reach the unreached often struggle over how to share Christ's timeless gospel in a timely manner. In this book Rick Richardson sails headlong into the postmodern maelstrom without letting go of the anchor of Scripture. Read this, and feed off Richardson's passion for postmoderns who desperately need Jesus!"
"I finished reading [Evangelism Outside the Box] last weekend and found it to be by far one of the best sources of encouragement and instruction for reaching out to the lost of my generation! . . . In fact, I called up all of my friends who are involved in college and youth ministry and told them to buy and study the book ASAP. It will serve as a guide for myself and many others for years to come!"
"Rick Richardson's new book reexplores some key biblical/theological principles of evangelism in light of dramatic changes that are occurring in our postmodern world. As a result of this thoughtful reflection, Richardson offers a set of very innovative strategies of evangelism that is deeply faithful to the Scriptures and highly relevant to today's world. It is a book I will continue to use to challenge my students and myself to go beyond the usual, traditional views and practices of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ."
"There are few truly new books about evangelism, but Rick Richardson has written one. Drawn from his years of work as a campus evangelist as well as his wide and careful reading, Richardson suggests powerful new ways to reach a generation that is spiritual but not religious. Richardson understands postmodern culture and how to make Jesus known in it. He charts a useful course for the church as more and more of the culture becomes postmodern in outlook. I am using this book as a text in several of my courses, including a Ph.D. seminar on evangelism (as an example of how a thoughtful practitioner approaches the ministry of evangelism)."
"If the contemporary church is going to reach this postmodern generation it will have to embrace new methods of evangelism. Rick Richardson's book is an extremely useful guide for this challenging task."
"Is witnessing for you something like hitting a handball into a sand dune? Lots of effort, little response? Have you found [that] the old answers, the proven methods just don't seem to work? Then read Evangelism Outside the Box. Rick Richardson listens to our culture with sensitive ears, asks probing questions, points to fresh approaches. I believe his book, like Paul Little's How to Give Away Your Faithand Cliffe Knechtle's Give Me an Answer will help us to connect with this seeking generation. I plan to recommend it widely."
"We are living at a time of cultural shift. The postmodern mindset is gradually replacing the modern worldview. How can we communicate the gospel to a culture in transition? Do we need to rethink evangelism to reach our generation? In Evangelism Outside the Box Rick Richardson tackles these questions and comes up with some challenging answers."
"Rick Richardson's book is disturbing on two levels: first, he refuses to let believers off the hook regarding lost persons in a lost culture. He dares to tell us to transform the culture and not condemn it. Second, he tells us old evangelism ways won't work and suggests a new apologetic--just when the old ways were becoming comfortable to me. Disturbing--disturbing--disturbing. Thank God for those who disturb me!"
"Affirming that winning people to Jesus Christ is '100 percent God, 100 percent us,' Rick Richardson shakes off the dust of misconceptions and assumptions about today's seekers, revealing God's handprints on our own culture--a culture full of opportunities, if we'll only see them and grasp them."
"Paul said he became all things to all people . . . for the sake of the gospel. Rick Richardson models that value well, and his book will stretch all of us to think in new ways to reach a new generation with the age-old message of the cross of Christ. Read to it to grow--and then to go."
"Rick Richardson's terrific book will not only increase your passion for evangelism, but it will give you wise, practical and powerful strategies for how you can share your faith more effectively. It's a wonderful resource for individuals, ministries and churches."
"This book will be very helpful to those wanting to examine different evangelism strategies for reaching the postmodern world--those not often considered by evangelicals. Richardson's approach to evangelism is historically informed, theologically aware, and he also has a unique gift for synthesizing intelligently and succinctly the thinking of others on this very crucial subject. I found it intellectually stimulating. I think you will too."
"Provides a heartfelt challenge, offering an excellent analysis of postmodern thought as the current milieu for evangelism. . . . Offers penetrating analyses and useful resources for a crucial area of Christian ministry."
1. What's Our Box?
2. Understanding Today's Questions
3. Responding to Today's Questions
4. A Theology Strategy for Reaching People Today
5. The Power of Team
6. Friendship Prayer
7. A Biblical Model for Awakening Souls
8. Awakening Souls by Connecting to the Culture
9. Awakening Souls by Challenging Pre-Christian People
10. Developing Genuine Christian Community
11. Drawing Pre-Christians into Seeking Community
12. Conversion for Pre-Christian People Today
13. Inviting People into the Circle of Belonging
14. Transformation: Getting Growing a True Christian Identity
15. Getting Staying Outside the Box
Afterword: To Pastors and Leaders of Churches Ministries
Appendix 1: The Rise Fall of the Modern World
Appendix 2: Leading a GIG
Appendix 3: GIG Studies from the Biographies of Jesus
Appendix 4: The Alpha Course
Appendix 5: A Sample Seeker Retreat
Appendix 6: Circles of Belonging Training Sheet