Making the God Connection – 1 of 3

mmg tiny       by Mary Margaret Gibson
This is the first of a three-post series on Making the God Connection.  First, is an update on who is actually doing evangelism these days.  SMSC-trained pregnancy center staff and volunteers are so accustomed to sharing the gospel–and it is so often well received–that it’s good just to check the temperature “outside” the center from time to time. In post 2, we’ll look at how to make The God Connection very quickly with someone who has come for help to your pregnancy center or other life ministry.  In post 3, we’ll offer you a neat new parent’s class to help them hear the gospel themselves and then learn to Make the God Connection with babies 0-3 years old!

In December, the Barna Group sent out an update with the interesting title, “Is Evangelism Going Out of Style?”  You can find the article at https://www.barna.org/barna-update/faith-spirituality/648-is-evangelism-going-out-of-style#.Ut66p9HnZjo

Salvation is to be found only through trust in Jesus Christ as Savior, and we spend our days training folks and equipping them to share that good news.  So we were mighty interested in the information in this article.  Here’s some news that may surprise you:

The Most Evangelistic Generation    They’ve been called “the social justice generation,” and for good reason—Millennials are actively taking up the cause of the poor, the oppressed, the orphan and the widow. Yet the most common critique leveled at this surge in social compassion is that it comes at a great expense. Sure, skeptics argue, they might feed the hungry and free the captives in this life, but what about the next? According to this view, Millennials are elevating physical needs over spiritual needs and forgoing evangelism altogether.

     Yet the latest Barna research reveals this is not the case.

    In fact, in answer to the question of evangelism on the rise or in decline, Millennials are a rare case indeed. While the evangelistic practices of all other generations have either declined or remained static in the past few years, Millennials are the only generation among whom evangelism is significantly on the rise. Their faith-sharing practices have escalated from 56% in 2010 to 65% in 2013.

     Not only that, but born again Millennials share their faith more than any other generation today. Nearly two-thirds (65%) have presented the Gospel to another within the past year, in contrast to the national average of about half (52%) of born again Christians.”

This is encouraging news indeed!  It tells me that more and more people in the age group served by SMSC-trained pregnancy centers may have heard the gospel somewhere!  It also tells me that there are probably young people in every church who share the gospel regularly.  It gives me great hope that as we share the gospel in pregnancy centers, we may find that Millennial folks may see life ministry as a way to combine their desire for social justice and mercy with a clear, simple way to share the gospel in conversation.

We’d be very interested in your opinions about this article.  Do comment.

Movie and DVD Resources for the Pregnancy Center

Many SMSC Pregnancy Centers are using DVDs or movies on the life of Christ to help share the gospel.   We recognize there are times when a client might be willing to watch a video or two as part of the incentive program and you can augment that video about Jesus with a gospel presentation.

Below is a list of resources and recommendations we have put together to help support you in thinking about how to use some video resources. The first three are movies and the last two are the May I Ask You A Question?/ Bad News, Good News in DVD format.

We hope these ideas help you expand the great work you are doing!

1.  Here is the link for the streaming version of the Jesus film, available in many languages, so you would even have it for those folks whose first language is not English:  http://www.jesusfilm.org/film-and-media/watch-the-film   It would be possible to have both the Jesus film and the Children’s Film available on demand.

2. TBN’s movie, The Revolutionary, www.TBN.org  is very good.     A clip for this and MANY others is available at this You Tube site a veritable hub for Jesus-related films, clips and sources:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAekTRzw-BE   This is a great collection of short subjects.  So easy to make these available wherever you do your incentive programs, etc.  This is the link to the first section of The Revolutionary:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQpyvJD8T7A&feature=related which starts with the Christmas story and is the Life and Teachings of Jesus.

3. The Gospel of John, a full length film – here’s a review:

July 19, 2005 (LOS ANGELES) The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) is rolling out the proverbial red carpet as “THE GOSPEL OF JOHN” will be shown in its entirety with no commercial interruptions on the world’s largest religious network on Friday, July 22 at 7:00 pm and again on Saturday, July 23 at 2:00 pm (PST). Paul Crouch Jr., Vice President of Administration and frequent host of the popular TBN program “Behind the Scenes,” officially announced that the network has secured the exclusive rights to broadcast the world premier of “THE GOSPEL OF JOHN,” the story of Jesus Christ’s life as told by the apostle John and narrated by internationally acclaimed Canadian actor, Christopher Plummer, a veteran of over 80 motion pictures. Plummer, no stranger to the genre of Biblical cinema, says he welcomed the opportunity to participate in the word-for-word version of “THE GOSPEL OF JOHN” as the film’s narrator. According to Plummer, he was absolutely riveted to the story in the film. “For many, it’s part of their childhood, yet for the first time it seemed totally fresh and new to me,” he says. “The world premier of “THE GOSPEL OF JOHN” on TBN is a clear example of this network’s ever increasing commitment to broadcast thought-provoking venues that impact people from all walks of life in a positive and uplifting manner, while engaging their mind as well as their spirit,” reports Crouch, the eldest son of TBN founders Paul and Jan Crouch.

4.  Here’s our recommendation for how to use movies:

      — Show the movie

      — Add one of the following two You Tube evangelism videos from Evantell to the movie presentation.  Feel free to use these separately, of course, and put them wherever they are useful to your ministry:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUe9ZgADBNQ  This is May I Ask You a Question? And it is exactly as you present it so you can hand out a tract to someone and watch this together at any time.  Then you can follow up with the last part of the tract and discuss it, hopefully leading to a decision to trust Christ!

Overcoming the Tyranny of the Urgent  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hwDy8i5U8k  also from EvanTell.  This is a longer (7 min) video with rationale and the Bad News/Good News in it.  We have had very good reviews of this one and it can be used as a stand-alone presentation or as part of a discussion – for example at a Parents Class or Pre-Natal class with a chance to talk with a counselor afterward to go over the tract or another of the booklets you have from SMSC

Sharing a Message of Grace

Guest Blogger
Elaine Ham, Plans For You
SMSC Master Instructor

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This the first in a series of guest blogs focused on Evangelism Basic Training for pregnancy center staff and volunteers.  Our guest blogger today is Elaine Ham, a SMSC Master Instructor. She has trained hundreds of volunteers over the years and has over 16 years of experience in working with pregnancy centers. We couldn’t think of a better person to write about the fear of offending an abortion-minded client in sharing the gospel.

Every client advocate who has ever counseled in a pregnancy center knows the sudden rush of fear that envelops us when a young, single client learns she is pregnant. We ask a question such as, “What are your plans for your baby’s future?” and pray that whatever she says will not include the word “abortion.” The bad news is that her response almost always does include the “a” word, whether she’s just thinking about it or she has already made the decision to abort. As Paul said in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Without a relationship with Christ, neither we nor our clients will ever make Godly decisions.

The good news is that no matter what has happened in her past, God loves her unconditionally and showed that love by giving His Son to die on a cross for her so that her sins might be forgiven. But how do we go about sharing that without causing offense or watching her make a quick exit from the counseling room? We know the comfort she is seeking and the answers she needs are found only in the loving arms of our Savior, Jesus Christ; yet we also have another voice speaking into our ear telling us not to go there, she would probably say no or think we’re a religious fanatic.

When God called me into the pregnancy center ministry 16 years ago, I heard that same voice and felt those same insecurities. The difference between then and now is that I didn’t recognize the source of the voice, and I spent nearly a year running away from God’s call. Thanks to the wisdom of a Godly pastor, I finally understood that those discouraging thoughts were intended to distract me from hearing God’s voice and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with those in need of God’s Amazing Grace.

As a client advocate, you have experienced the forgiveness and all-consuming love of God that can only be received through believing in Christ alone for salvation. You are in the counseling room because God has placed you there for the purpose of sharing that message with broken women who are looking for answers. You have been given the privilege by God to deliver His message of grace to your client and to lead her into God’s presence. In so doing, you have also given her the comfort and hope she is really seeking that will allow her to choose life for her unborn child.

Where do you start? How about with these words?—“May I ask you a question? Has anyone ever taken a Bible and shown you how you can know for sure that you’re going to heaven? May I?” You will soon find you are in for the most exciting experience of your life. Hang on and watch God work.

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Author Info:  Elaine Ham is a full-time on-site trainer and pregnancy resource center coach for the company she founded in 2000—Plans For You, Inc., creator of the Baby Bottle Boomerang. She has helped centers across the country raise over $75 million for their ministries. She also served as a PRC director and director of development at Piedmont Womens Center in Greenville, South Carolina for eight years and as National Consultant for the North American Mission Board/SBC and its 275 affiliates for seven years. Elaine is a SMSC Master Instructor for EvanTell/SMSC and a Licensed Life Affirming Specialist with Heartbeat International. Elaine Ham can be reached through her website, www.plansforyou.org.