Page 2 Outreach
the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”• Spiritual birth, just like physical birth,is fundamentally a process. It is clearlyunderstood to be the result of some-thing that took place earlier followedby a season of gestation (pregnancy).The process of coming to a consciousfaith, once the work of God has begun,is what could be thought of as spiritualpregnancy. Theologically we call thiseffectual calling.• God uses the prayers of others, thewitness of friends and family, thepreaching of the Word, and even suf-fering to bring us to this place. But
once we nally come to a vital faith,
we can look back and see God’s hand atwork long before we believe.• The birthline diagram makes theobvious point that one who is alivegrows up. Growth is a slow process,with many starts and stops, but the dayof delivery is the beginning of a newphase in the overall process. Theo-
By Dr. Alan J. AveraONA Executive Director
As a busy pastor, I appre-ciated tools that helpedme apply the Word of God to people’s lives.The spiritual birthlinediagram is a tool I have used in my pas-tor’s class, a class for helping potentialnew members prepare to take the vowsfor church membership. This has beensuch a helpful tool to me, that I now askSteve Smallman to explain it to the stu-dents taking the evangelism course eachsummer at Erskine Theological Seminary.In
Spiritual Birthline: UnderstandingHow We Experience the New Birth
(Cross-way, 2006), Stephen E. Smallman writes:“The simple concept of comparing physi-cal and spiritual birth has stood the testof time and has proved invaluable inhelping people understand the teachingof Jesus about the new birth.” In John3:1-8 Jesus tells Nicodemus, “I tell you
Fall 2010 Page 3
By Dr. Jan SattemONA Board ChairmanGood Shepherd ARP,Houston, TX
Marion is a grandmother. She came toBob and Pat’s house because they hadbeen friends over the years and nowthey were hosting a Bible study. Theyhad become genuine Christians last yearand were invited to our church afterone of our “bringers” overheard themdiscussing their search for a church at aHalloween party. Bob had been raised inthe church and had not graced the door-
way in over thirty-ve years. He nally
got it and the Holy Spirit got him.Bob and Pat brought others. Sully andMary came. They met the Lord. Pam P.came. She had recently rehabbed from anear fatal stroke and knew she was herefor a purpose. She met the Lord. Janecame. She knew the Lord but was notbeing fed where she was. John and Pamwere invited by Bob and Pat and theymet the Lord too. Sometimes, Bob and
Pat’s friends ll two rows at church!
Recently, they hosted a
study in their home, andMarion had heard about Bob’s trans-formation and wanted to experience
it rst-hand. Marion sat each week in
the study and silently wished that herfaith had Bob’s fervor. She wondered,“If God could work so powerfully andstrongly in someone like Bob, could Healso do it in her?” Marion had attended alarge church in our area, but Bob’s faithalarmed her. She knew she did not havethat.One Sunday I said, “There may evenbe someone here today who is hearingme talk about this genuine faith andthey know in their heart of hearts thatthey don’t possess it. Won’t you comeand talk about it with me?” Marion andI met a few days after that. I had thedistinct privilege of introducing her toBob’s God. Soon Galen, Marion’s grand-son, will be leading our worship team.Here is what is instructive for me-
these folks are almost all over fty,
most are over sixty, and some in theirseventies. Generally I start by handingthem the pamphlet
Your Spiritual Jour-ney
. I say, “Why don’t we get together
Fear: How do you transition from anormal conversation to one about theGospel?
Alan was very clear and simple with hisresponse to this fear. Be yourself and let
the conversations naturally ow from the
relationships you are building. This tooka lot of pressure off of me. Sometimes Ineed to hear, “Just be Clint.” That soundsso simple, but it is a necessary lesson tolearn, or, at least, be reminded of.
Question: What about evangelism
...ONA Can Help
Continued from page 1
logically we call this growth sanctica
-tion.• The birthline diagram helps peoplethink about where they are in the over-all process, and it helps a pastor un-derstand better how to function as a“physician of the soul” in the person’slife.
Using the Birthline Diagram
By Stephen Smallman
The birthline diagram is useful inhelping believers sort out their own con-version experience, but I have also foundit helpful in conversations with thosewho seem to be on the way to Christ. Iwill get to know them (or perhaps I havecome to know them through repeatedvisits to the church or as neighbors orfamily members), but I ask questions tolearn about their background and spiri-
tual inuences. I then explain that I see
the term, “born again,” as a picture of how God works in the heart, and drawout the “birthline” as a simple timelinewith a dotted “X” through the middle,representing the time of actually comingto faith, or conversion. In almost everyinstance, the timeline opens the way fora person to describe their own journey,and from that a conversation about the
Gospel itself will ow naturally.
The key, in my experience, whatever“tool” we use, is to learn to listen withgenuine interest, and try to ask insightfulquestions. The Spirit is the one who mustchange the heart, but we want to be hisinstrument.If you want to know more, go to thewebsite: www.birthlineministries.com.
training for the congregation?
Alan provided samples of two re-sources:
Be-coming a Contagious Christian
is just what its nameimplies, the exploration of Christianity.It uses the Gospel of Mark to help pres-ent the Gospel to both church mem-bers and non-members.
Becoming aContagious Christian
is a resource fortraining church members to share theirfaith.Alan has invited us to get togetherwith him again in the fall to follow-up.Note: The ONA staff is available as aresource to pastors and churches.
Spiritual Birthline: An Invaluable Tool
Conception Delivery: the baby criesLife Begins
Conversion: Faith, Repentance
Physical BirthSpiritual Birth- Regeneration
Based on John 3:1-8
One of my favorite para-bles in the New Testamentis the parable of the mus-tard seed. Church plants, like that seed,start out small, but grow into usefultrees that, Jesus tells us, attract birds.At Connections Presbyterian I supposewe have been successful in bird feedingevangelism. Our converts have found us,coming with broken “wings.” They areunmarried couples, those who are be-lievers in God but not resting in His Sonfor salvation, and those who have whatappear to be insurmountable family, le-
gal, or nancial problems. All of those
birds have found shelter in the branchesof God’s church. We have been able toshare the Gospel in word and deed untilthey undergo an amazing transforma-
tion. Those birds become branches!
There are lots of evangelism plansout there, but Jesus said that the grow-ing church, providing rest in His namewould be how the Kingdom would ad-vance in this world.While none of our members considerthemselves great one-on-one evange-lists, all take joy in the way God hasused us together as His tree. As a churchplanter, I suppose that I had in mind whatkind of birds God would bring. I could
not have been more wrong! God did
not send the healthy, beautiful, sweetsinging birds of my imagination. InsteadHe sent us birds from rehab, unmar-ried households, and bankruptcy courts.They all needed a tree where they couldbe transformed into branches.
Birds in the Tree
By Dr. Bob Illman, Connections Presbyterian Church, Huntsville, ALBy Rev. Rick AndersonTri-State Community ChurchChester, WV
We believe that sharing the Gos-pel starts with prayer. We drive aroundand pray for the residents in our com-munity asking for opportunities. Weare also working on building and utiliz-ing a prayer team. I send notice to ourteam a few days before we go out andthen upon return I send them a report.The ministry really affects the prayerteam—they look forward to seeing howGod is answering prayer.
God gave us an opportunity at a Sat-
urday ea market. We approached both
shoppers and venders. I introduced my-self as the pastor of Tri-State Community
Church and said, “I nd that I not only
need to study Scripture, but I alsomust be out talking with people in orderto preach. Do you mind if I ask you acouple of questions?” Praise be to Godthat almost without exception everyonewas pleased to talk with us, in fact some
thanked us for talking with them!The rst person we talked with was
a woman named Tina. I asked her if shebelieved that Jesus could save her from
her sins and she said, “No! I am toobad!” We told her about the forgiveness
that we have found in Christ- forgive-ness available only by trusting in Jesus.Next we spoke with a musician andI asked him, “If you die today and Godasks you why he should let you into hisheaven, what would you say?” He smiledand quickly said, “Lord, you should letme into your heaven because I havebeen a faithful musician and I have madepeople smile. I want to play with all of
your great musicians!” We small talked
about music for awhile, then I said, “If we could get to heaven by being a goodmusician who makes people smile, thenwhat is Christ doing on the cross?” He
said, “Aaaah! I knew you were going to
get me. That is a good point. I neverthought of that.” I said, “are you readyto repent and trust solely on Christ foryour salvation?” He said, “I am. I am.”One of the last guys we spoke with wasexceptionally broken. He had a churchbackground and knew the truth. He hadonly seen his wife one time this year andhad not been going to church. I invitedhim to Sunday worship. He said he hadto work. Then I invited him to a Thurs-day Bible study and he said, “I am notup for going to church.” I responded andsaid, “See, when folks say they do nothave time to go to church, there is al-most always much more going on thanthe time factor. You know that you needto get back under the Word.”These are just some of the peoplewe talked to. Please keep all of theirprecious souls in your prayers, alongwith the several others that I did notmention.
Pray that God wouldgive
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