Reimagining Evangelism: Inviting Friends on a Spiritual Journey, By Rick Richardson

Reimagining Evangelism

Inviting Friends on a Spiritual Journey

by Rick Richardson
Foreword by Brian McLaren and Luis Palau

Reimagining Evangelism
  • Length: 176 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: June 26, 2006
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3342
  • ISBN: 9780830833429

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Finalist, Fourth Annual Outreach Resource of the Year

Sometimes talking about Jesus with your friends can feel like trying to close a deal on a sales call, pushing something on people they may not really want. But what if you thought of it more like inviting them on a spiritual journey?

Imagine being free to be yourself and free for the Spirit to work in you. Imagine that it doesn't depend on you alone but that you can be an important part of a witnessing community. Imagine telling people stories instead of trying to download content.

Here is your invitation to reimagine what evangelism could be for you.

"As a businessman who strives to integrate faith at work, I struggle daily to be active in sharing my faith. The message of this book has given me new hope and excitement to invite friends on a spiritual journey."

Robert J. Priolo, P.E., M.B.A., business leader

"Reimagining Evangelism is unnervingly good and dangerous. Good because it causes you to reimagine what it means to share Jesus with others on a spiritual journey. Dangerous because it leads you into transformational encounters."

The Reverend William Beasley, Anglican Mission in America

"Reimagining Evangelism provides a powerful paradigm shift in evangelism, refreshingly relevant and practical for today's culture. Just imagine engaging in spiritual conversations in such a way that people actually look forward to the adventure with anticipation and intrigue. Rick Richardson shows us how to make that happen! He's done a terrific job of empowering ordinary Christians to reach ordinary people with God's extraordinary message of forgiveness and life change."

Garry Poole, director of spiritual discovery, Willow Creek Community Church, and author of Seeker Small Groups

"Reimagining Evangelism is a book that every Christ-follower should read! Rick Richardson takes a word (evangelism) that scares all of us and helps us to see it as something adventuresome. Reimagining Evangelism is all about building spiritual friendships, living in community and a great excursion with God's Spirit. I love the challenge Rick gives us to help people find their way back to God."

Dave Ferguson, lead pastor, Community Christian Church/NewThing Network

"All too often the church and the small group become the 'bushel' talked about in the kids song--'This Little Light of Mine.' More than a strategy, Reimagining Evangelism is a powerful way of life that allows everyone to be involved in sharing the love of Christ with others even if they don't have the 'gift' of evangelism. Rick challenges us to take our faith to the streets, discover stories, develop deep relationships and even have fun together with other Christ followers and with seekers. An assimilation tactic that allows seekers to 'belong before they believe.'"

Randy Frazee, teaching pastor, Willow Creek Community Church, and author of The Connecting Church

"In Reimagining Evangelism Rick Richardson has refreshed our understanding of Christ's Great Commission. Trust is the issue--only a trusted friend can enter the inner life of post-Christian people. There is no instant intimacy or trust, for it only emerges over time on a common journey. That is why conversion is a journey, not simply a jump. Rick clearly shows how a journey with a Christian companion of honesty, vulnerability and integrity can open a heart betrayed by the experience of religious flummery. Christians and non-Christians alike have been 'turned off' by quick-fix and manipulative methodologies. Rick has done a great service to the kingdom by expressing these important truths in an especially helpful way for our post-Christian, postmodern time."

Paul Larsen, President Emeritus of the Evangelical Covenant Church

"Does your evangelism lack vitality? Do you get turned off by the sales approach to evangelism? Do you struggle experiencing the Good News as good news?

"Rick Richardson replaces the old sales image of evangelism with the new images of travel guide, detective, collaborator, listener, storyteller and matchmaker. All these images are more compelling and motivating than selling Jesus to non-Christians!

"Rick's thought-provoking presentation of the gospel message gives a fresh vision of God's awesome love and desire to transform the whole world. It's a Big Story that you will want to share with your friends.

"Reimagining Evangelism will change your evangelism paradigm, and renew your passion for joining the adventure of inviting friends on a spiritual journey."

Terry Erickson, National Director for Evangelism, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

"Rick Richardson has done an outstanding job of weaving together the tapestry of contemporary culture with the mandate to bring the good news in its timeless truth. He does a phenomenal job of updating evangelistic methods for today--avoiding the irrelevance of the '70s techniques and the pitfalls that many 'postmoderns' easily fall into. Before you are done with this book, Rick will turn you from a 'gospel salesman' into a welcoming 'tour guide.'"

Mark Ashton, lead pastor, Christ Community Church (CMA), former pastor, Willow Creek Community Church

"I loved this book. It's so warm, inviting and full of stories I can relate to. Reimagining Evangelism teaches and models how to share your faith in a way you will like--and so will your friends."

Kevin A. Miller, Vice President, Christianity Today International

"This book is fresh, provocative and insightful. If you've been running from the 'E-word,' let Richardson give you a new vision for what evangelism can look like in your life, and in this culture. You'll be surprised--and motivated! Rick is a source of teaching you can trust; grounded in orthodoxy, but proven in experience."

Mark Mittelberg, international writer and speaker, and coauthor of Becoming a Contagious Christian

"I love Rick Richardson's view of evangelism as a journey with people who are moving toward God. It breaks the old perspective of evangelism as only getting people to cross the conversion line. How freeing! And imagine when that idea is coupled with the reality that it takes a community to save a soul. Lights will go on for many with this important book."

Lon Allison, Director, Billy Graham Center, Wheaton College

"Rick Richardson loves evangelism but hates clichés. Many believers (and unbelievers) have come to think of those two words as being inextricably linked. But Richardson is not about to surrender the spiritual practice of soul care for the people Jesus misses most to a religious marketing machine gone bad. In Reimagining Evangelism he introduces us to postmodern cultural realities and challenges us to see the big story of Jesus. A must-read for people who are done with programs but need a new paradigm to help them navigate the cultural twists and turns they find themselves swimming in."

Jim Henderson, frontman for Off the Map, and author of a.k.a. "Lost"

"This book gives language to the emerging forms of evangelism we see surfacing in many places--from a revised understanding of our role as Christ's ambassadors to the roles of friendship, community, narrative and invitation in helping people discover new life. Readers will experience Reimagining Evangelism as a breath of 'cosmic fresh air'!"

George G. Hunter, Distinguished Professor of Evangelization, School of World Mission and Evangelism, Asbury Theological Seminary

"Richardson's book is a breath of fresh air."

Andrew D. Kinsey, Mission Studies, 2008

Richardson's book offers fresh thinking and practice on faith-sharing.

Missiology, July 2007

Richardson, with his up-to-date cultural analysis, solid biblical exegesis and global perspectives from non-Western believers, has woven a tapestry of witness that is both joyful and compelling.

EMQ, July 2007

"A well-written, easy-to-read, evangelical perspective on sharing your faith. . . . It should prove to be a positive contribution to the expanding corpus of literature on this topic. I'd recommend it to both youth workers and mature students who are in need of a concise, accessible framework for sharing their faith."

Jason Santos, The Journal of Student Ministries, May/June 2007


Foreword by Brian McLaren
Foreword by Luis Palau

1. Re-imagining Evangelism: Salespeople or Travel Guides?
2. Rediscovering the Holy Spirit: Collaboration Versus Activism
3. The Witness of the Community
4. The Art of Spiritual Friendship
5. The Power of Story
6. Jesus Outside the Box
7. Great News!
8. Invitation to a Wedding: Journey Versus Event

Appendix 1:Building Trust in a Multiethnic World
Appendix 2: The Great News: The "What's at the Center?" Gospel Illustration
Appendix 3: Models of Conversion
Appendix 4: Spiritual Gifts and Witness

About the Author


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Rick Richardson

Rick Richardson is director of the Billy Graham Center Institute and its Church Evangelism Initiative, and professor of evangelism and leadership at Wheaton College Graduate School. He previously served as evangelism and discipleship pastor at Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois, and helped launch Willow Creek Community Church's first multisite campus. His books include Reimagining Evangelism and Evangelism Outside the Box.