A few years ago, I was invited to have lunch with an attorney. As we connected over lunch, I asked him about his practice. He informed me that he worked for Microsoft in their evangelism department. Thinking that I misheard him, I asked him to repeat himself. He repeated with clear pronunciation, "I work in the evangelism department!" The more we talked, the more I realized how Microsoft defined evangelism. It used to be called Marketing, which is fine when you are simply trying to sell a product or an idea. But when you are starting a movement, it's not about selling something; it's about conversions. Yes, converting people into loyal brand members and tribal family members.
I immediately saw the impact that this mind shift could have. Evangelism is a form of gathering people to an ideology.
This reminded me of the time that I went to Africa to conduct meetings for Rwandan refugees. We had lots of issues with the vehicle as we traveled. The road that we traversed was dirt and had potholes about every foot. It did not take long for this rough terrain to break the hitch and then the axle.
We managed to find a little village that had a welder. At least that's what they called him. After much difficulty, we got the truck to him. He walked to the back of his house, and he pulled out his welding equipment. It was simple, yet innovative: an extra-large car battery and jumper cables. He attached one end to the part that was to be welded and the other part to soldering metal. Off he went working on fixing the vehicle. As he worked vigorously on the project, we could see that the blistering heat was getting to him. I asked if he wanted a drink. He said, "Yes, a Coke, please."
We hustled off and got him a Coke. Once he received it, he stopped working and sat down to enjoy his Coke. We didn't want to ruin his treat by saying, "Hey, why are you not working as you drink your Coke? In America we can drink and work, buddy!" That is what I was thinking, but looking at the smile on his face, I didn't want to steal his moment.
After a few sips, he asked us, "What are you doing in Africa?"
said, "We are going to tell people about Jesus."
He said, "That is great! Where is Jesus?" At that moment I realized that Coke had been spreading its goodness better than modern Christian disciples. Coke created a movement in this tiny village in the middle of nowhere. Yes, he had no knowledge of Jesus. Yet, he was fully aware of Coke.
I learned that day what Microsoft, Apple and Coke understood. That evangelism is about gathering people to a dream, idea, or belief. It has to do with moving people into a community unified by a common belief and language. Community is when people gather around common language and ideologies.
Tribes gather around beliefs or for the sake of survival, brought together by common tribal speech. Doctors have their language ... business people have their own language ... actors have their language. Christians have their own language. Each family has its own language. It's what gathers and/or separates us. The language is a byproduct of a common goal and interest. Language gathers people into tribes.
The key to community is to find the tribe that is speaking your language. The group that is conducting the activities that you want to be a part of.
"A man is a method, a progressive arrangement; a selecting principle, gathering his like to him; wherever he goes." —Ralph Waldo Emerson
This quote best describes Jesus. In fact, we can see five stages of gathering from when he recruited His disciples.
These five stages of gathering are found in the Scripture passage in Luke 5. It reads as follows.
"One day as Jesus was preaching... He noticed two empty boats at the water's edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there (Luke 5:1-3, NLT).
- Curiosity: Peter stepped into the boat out of curiosity. Your language must first evoke curiosity.
The passage continues.
"When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish." "Master," Simon replied, "we worked hard all last night and didn't catch a thing. But if you say so, I'll let the nets down again" (Luke 5:4-5).
- Intrigued enough to investigate deeper: Your desire for more meaningful things will intrigue them to go deeper with you.
"And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear!" (Luke 5:6).
- Evident Increase: They need to see you in action and productive.
"A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking" (Luke 5:7).
- Ownership: This is when the gathered becomes a gatherer. The culture, marketing and evangelism are in the mouth of the people.
"For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed" (Luke 5:9-10).
- Awestruck: Awesome results produce brand loyalty. The gathering has a life of its own.
They all became fishers of people. You also must become fishers of people in your business, family, ministry and life. Belong to a community. Don't forsake community. Grow with others and become a part of a movement. You becoming a gatherer can improve your business, ministry, family and the society you live in. You too can make a difference. Use the five stages of gathering to find your community. This is the Jesus way.
Tracey Armstrong is a minister, author, social and economic entrepreneur and a success coach to achievers and wealth builders. Tracey believes God's people must have spiritual, social and economic influence. Tracey and his wife, Nathalie, are also the pastors of Citadel Church, located Bellevue, Washington. Together with their team, they are committed to making and equipping disciples for the Kingdom of God. Visit citadelchurch.com, traceyarmstrong.com, and destinychannel.tv for more information.
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