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Field Work Report


Consider this. A room of theology students will pull apart a sentence, striving to find the truth in it

and correct any error. They will twist words to change minute meanings and they will spend hours

debating over underlying tones and theological hints.

Consider this. A room of children singing a song. They will not understand the complexities of the

song but they will understand that Jesus loves them and that he died for them. They will find joy in

that and will be confident. They won¶t debate. They are sure.

Over the last semester I have experienced both those rooms and have thoroughly enjoyed being in

both situations, each with their own challenges and advantages. In this report I aim to evaluate what

was learnt in the lectures, mostly through the discussions and debates held and the lessons of

evangelistic work on mission and in week to week ministry, in light of the content of lectures.

Lectures

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Romans 1:1-7, Pauls greeting to the church in Rome, contains the word µcall¶ three times. He says that

he is µcalled as an apostle and singled out for God¶s good news¶ (Rom 1:1), he tells the Romans that

they are Jesus Christ¶s by calling (1:6) and in the following verse that they are called as saints. There

is surely a strong element of God¶s sovereignty in this greeting, expounding Paul¶s calling and that of

the Roman church (Sproul, 2009). As we debated the question of evangelists and calling in lectures I

had this passage in mind. It is a simple concept: God calls. Of that I am sure.

³When you get the cross, the cross gets you,´ (Giglio, 2005) Louie Giglio said in a sermon he gave

about grace. He is talking about the way you are gripped by the magnitude of what Christ did on the

cross. When you get it, the grace and mercy and pain and suffering all for us, you can¶t help but be

gripped by it and it changes everything.



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ransfield writes about God, ³He has a passion for lost men and women. He came to seek and save

the lost. He desires not the death of any sinner but that they turn from their rebellion and live. If this is

what God is like, then this is what we are to be like.´ (ransfield, 1998)

Here is the conclusion that I have come to. God calls. He calls us to himself, to be saints, to be set

apart for God¶s good news, through Jesus Christ. When we see that, everything changes. We get the

cross and it gets us. And we evangelise. Not because it is a course church runs or because we feel

guilty, but we want others to know that grace.

We are all called to evangelise. If we don¶t feel that call, I want to ask the dangerous question about

whether or not we ever got grace...

We can debate for hours over whether or not we are called to be 
 , but often that is used as

an excuse by those trying to avoid evangelism in their own lives (Stetzer, 2010). The gift of the

evangelist as spoken of in Ephesians 4:1-11 is not intended to exclude others from the task, but to help

empower and equip them to do it.

  


  

Not to discount the intelligence and work of Fowler and Westerhoff, but I¶ve come to the conclusion

that their theories discount God and therefore should be approached with a considerable amount of

caution. I used to believe that there was a lot of truth behind the theories ± that children would reach a

certain stage of development before they could truly come to faith. That was a narrow view that was

heavily influenced by my own life experiences of not growing up in a Christian family and having no

relationship with God until late adolescence.

I was wrong.

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Conversation in class and experience in ministry showed me that while children cannot understand

complexities of theology, they can understand God¶s love and what he has done for them, and they

can understand God¶s plan for salvation, from Genesis to Revelation if they are taught well at home,

in SRE and church. This can be thought of as nature vs nurture, but also as God¶s blessings (Davies,

2004). The Holy Spirit is present in children and that is what brings them to know God. Our efforts to

share the gospel with children are not equipping them to make a decision in the future, but helping

them to base their lives on God now.

Fowler and Westerhoff are trumped by the Holy Spirit.

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Gospel tracts turn the gospel into a to-do list of statements and often cheesy pictures. They may save

time but you are better off reading through all of rark with someone than opening a copy of Two

Ways to Live. ry opinion is strong, but it is justified. Theological statements have less power than

real stories. People in today¶s culture are not as interested in propositional truths as they are in

experience and stories and relationship ± all of these help them to understand the truths of the gospel,

but the person of Jesus is at the centre and not the facts for them to believe.

This is expanded on further in the report.

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Deuteronomy 29:29 is the short answer to this question, but the best explanation I was given was not

one from a book but one from a conversation with a friend as I sent him confused text messages about

how I didn¶t understand how all of this balanced out. He explained that God has people he has chosen

± his elect, as clearly spoken about in (references?) ± and these people will come to know him. As we

evangelise, through formal preaching events and in everyday life, it is as if we are looking for those

chunks of gold in the mine. We know they are there, but we¶re not sure when and where they will

come up. We need to look, because it is our calling. It is our responsibility to respond to the call of a

sovereign God (Chapman, 2002, pp. 73-79).



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Î erience

 
 

While in Port racquarie I faced one of my greatest fears ± children¶s ministry and it reminded me not

of a fact but more of a feeling. Too often I get caught up in intellectualism and forget the simplicity of

the faith that we stand for. Too often I think about John Calvin¶s view on predestination before John

3:16 will ever come to mind. As children were taught that Jesus is their rescuer - that was all they

needed to know. They didn¶t need us to justify it because they trusted that Jesus could save them, that

he had saved them. Jesus spoke about how we need to come to him as a child. I think this is what he

meant. Not naive trust, but a trust based in a confidence that is rarely seen anywhere but in children,

and with that comes an inexpressible and glorious joy that 1 Peter 1:8 mentions.

  


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Through the complications of apologetics, and the tragedies that life brings in our own lives and the

lives of those we minister to, we must hold to that truth and the simplicity of it lest we forget what this

life and ministry is truly about.

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Students in an Anglican school know the gospel. They¶ve heard it before and the school rules enforce

the µcode of Christianity¶ upon them. They think of Christianity as an institution to rebel against. That

is a generalisation of the population of St. Columba Anglican School, but it is a fairly accurate

representation. The challenge we faced there and face as we enter most high schools is to bring the

gospel to them not as a checklist of beliefs, but as a relational gospel with God at the centre (riller,

2009).

There is Bonnie. A year 10 student I met during a Christian Studies class that they are forced to take.

She has dyed hair, dark eyes and scarred wrists. We talk about music for a while and eventually I get

frustrated with the conversation and decide to employ a tactic that I love more than most ± directness.

I ask her what she thinks about God. We ended up talking for a while about the struggles of life and



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how it is hard to see God in them. I share with her stories about my life and she shares about hers. I

tell her that I know God is in control. I tell her about Jesus and how what he does offers us a firm

foundation to stand on that is the only thing that won¶t blow away in the storm. She doesn¶t convert.

But she does consider.

I pray that she comes to know God.

But the gospel cannot be given in a methodical way. It is a story to share and the centre of it is a

person to introduce someone to ± that is, Jesus Christ (Abbott, 2006). Teenagers do not want to be

told rules or lists. They want relationship and reality (rulier, 2006). Throw out the gospel tracts and

get ready with real life stories of the real life saviour.

Simple, huh?

O nclusi n

Lectures caught me in complications. Field experience taught me the simple truths. Understanding the

concepts helps me to engage more effectively in evangelism and understand my role and more

importantly God¶s role in the process, but evangelism is introducing someone to their Lord and

Saviour Jesus Christ. It is simple.

But it¶s complicated, too.

W rks Oited

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