This blog is a summary of a talk given at the BOLD Evangelism Conference a few months ago. The talk is about cultivating a Spirit of Evangelism in our Churches today. The talk is below and REALLY important! Listen as you go to work, school, or go about your day. There are more amazing talks that you can listen and learn from this link. Let this be a beginning of having a changed mindset.
Have you ever heard that change is good? Change is not something we should shrink away from. Change is progress.
It is important to note that we are not changing the Faith, but progressing towards Mission as a way of life. We would actually change back to the original mindset. The Mind of Christ. The Mind of the Early Church was Mission and Evangelism. It is the Orthodox Way.
The goal is to have the Mind of Christ and the Mind of the Early Apostolic Church so the Mind of Evangelism can flourish in our Churches today.
We are not used to it because our mindset over the years, due to persecution, was more preserving the Faith. Or trying to adjust to immigration in a new county.
We are in a different stage now and it is time to go back to our original mindset. It will take great patience and humility for the Church to get back again.
Below are points on how we can reach the original mindset again:
- We need the Mind of Christ.
fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus Philippians 2:2-5
It is our aim and goal to have the Mind of Christ. The way He thought and the way He served and moved. This is the way we should go towards.
The Mind of Christ is not merely having programs but loving others better than myself. Loving the unlovable, unbeliever and the lost sheep.
We need to be students again of the Mind of Christ and the way He wants it.
What are some of the characteristics of the Mind of Christ so that we can attain it?
I must care about spiritually minded things and not have a carnal mind. (Romans 8:5-6). A carnal or earthly mind filled with selfish desires is death to evangelism and reaching out to all people. The spiritual mind cares about the salvation of others.
The problem is not having evangelism programs in my Church but not having a spiritual mind.
Humble Mind not Double Mind
Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Romans 12:16
Today we hear a lot of opinions and we are set in our own ways. Are we open to listen and discuss? There are so many visions and opinions and not much humility.
Early on in my priesthood, I was very stubborn and shut down other ideas. I have since learned a valuable lesson in humility.
There are many verses in the Bible and the Early Apostolic Church that shows a focus for being like-minded and one minded (Romans 15:5, 1 Corinthians 1:10, 2 Corinthians 3:11, Philippians 1:27).
Like-minded means that there are no divisions among us. Yes, we will have disagreements and we will be different than each other but we have to work towards being one in our Churches.
It is ok to meet and pray and discuss ideas of how to make the Church grow and for the church to have the Mindset of Christ and Mindset for Evangelism.
We can’t look down at someone who didn’t experience what I experienced. For example, I have been in Africa for over 12 years and have some mission and evangelism experiences. I can’t come back to the States and judge everyone for not having the same focus.
No matter where we are in the Church and what we believe, never lose the unity and being of ONE mind. It is a process and we will get there as a Church. Let’s be patient during the process but let’s move one step.
Pray to Renew your Mind
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2
This should be our prayer to get to the Mind of Christ. God renew my mind. Let Your will be done in my life and in our Church.
Don’t let us be like the world and conform to it, but help be part of saving it.
Before you are set in stone with something, let’s pray for God to renew our mind and soften it.
2. Mind of the Early Church continued to have the Mind of Christ
If you read the Book of Acts, you will see the great love and unity the Early Church had for each other. Because of that, many were being saved daily (Acts 2:42-47).
The Faith was not just statement in the Creed that was recited. It was the way they lived because of what they believed.
I think that is the biggest change we need to ask God to renew in our mind and our heart.
May we have the Mind of the First Church. We need to return to it.
3. Mind of Evangelism Today
Here is the hard part that I have seen in the Church today. We all have so many different ideas, cultures, beliefs, personalities, and baggage. All of it comes together at once and we become hard-headed on what we think should be done.
It is hard to find 7 people to agree together on any given topic. If we can’t be like-minded and have one mind, how are we going to reach out to even more different ideas, cultures, beliefs, races, personalities, and baggage?
We have to prepare ourselves and our churches for what God is getting ready to do. The harvest is ready (John 4:35) so GO!
As Orthodox Christians, however, many of us fall into a stubborn way of protecting the faith. Some would say that you should be like St. Athanasius and St. Basil so the faith doesn’t get watered down.
But don’t stop having the Mind of Christ while you do that. Let us be firm to protect our faith in a godly, humble way.
Let us listen and discuss and keep the forum open so we can grow our Churches in the mission area God has given us.
Main goal of this talk is to have the Mindset of Evangelism we will need for all to reach towards the Mind of Christ and the Apostles.
Let us work together without bullying each other or judging each other or hurting each other.
Imagine what the Church would look like in 5o years in North America and the rest of the world if we have the Mind of Christ, Mind of Apostles, and the Mind of Evangelism.
Will our children and their children still be in the Church?
We need to pray to change the mindset.
We are on the same team. Let us work together in to reach out. Let us look back to go forward.
Mission Assignment: Changing the Mindset of the Church begins with ME! Let us pray to have the Mind of Christ, Mind of the Early Church and Mind of Evangelism and to continuously renew this mind until we reach that perfection.Tags: apostles, bold conference, changing mindset, early church, Evangelism, humble mind, humility, mind of Christ, mindset, Mission, original mindset, orthodox, preserve faith, unity