LOST IN AMERICA: How You and Your Church Can Impact The World Next Door
by Tom Clegg and Warren Bird
(c) 2001 Group Loveland pp.176 price 31.95
There is an openness to and search for God in our culture. This book is about having relationships to draw people to Christ. Tom Clegg was a missionary in Africa who had to leave and tells briefly of his journey to become a missionary in America. Warren Bird explains his passion for reaching the lost and being a difference maker in his community. The intro. closes with an interesting prayer that will help the reader benefit from this book.
SECTION ONE Changes
Ch. 1. Church Is Different.
It is crucial that we accept our spiritual environment for what it really is, i.e. ‘Houston, we have a problem!’ A serious intention to reach those around us will probably require a change in our priorities.
Ch. 2. Are Futuristic Trends Different? (Deadly Statistics)
Church attendance is decreasing. Conversions in churches are rare. More churches are closing than opening. Church "efforts" in evangelism are ineffective. Other religions are experiencing conversions and Christians are dropping out. Decline in Christianity has been going on for fifty years. There seems to be very little difference between churched and unchurched regarding their beliefs and behavior.
Ch. 3. People Are Different.
People are looking for spiritual meaning in life but they are not looking in church. Guilt and duty don’t motivate people like they used to. "People are interested in issues, causes, and activities."p. 43. People are seeking for transendance, significance, and community. Jesus’ message appeals to these three needs. If these needs are not met in our lives we will not do well in meeting them in other’s lives.
Ch. 4 The World Is Different.
"Today’s world has shifted Christianity and the church from the mainstream to the margins of culture." p.56. The message of the gospel is no longer politically acceptable to many people. The problem is more cultural than theological. An increasing number of people in our culture are uninformed about Christianity.
SECTION TWO Choices.
Ch. 5. How Did Jesus Respond?
Jesus poured Himself into a small group who became the proclaimers of the gospel. They understood their leader and the message He had given them. Like Jesus, we won’t give up on people who need saving. When people discover who Jesus is they will not reject Him. Our task may not be viewed as easy but it is not complicated.
Ch. 6. What Could Every Church Do? As churches and church members. we need to think and act like missionaries in our community. Churches need to become outward focused. Have a plan Be intentional, Begin with neighbors. Become aware of why people avoid church.
Ch. 7. What Am I To Be? Friendships and relationships are more effective than programs. Relationship bridges produce credibility for sharing.
SECTION THREE Challenges
Ch. 8 Pray As you Have Never Prayed Before.
Prayer is key in being who we are supposed to be and doing what we are supposed to do. Twelve ‘specifics’ are suggested concerning the ‘what’ of prayer. In terms of priority, prayer needs to become a first response instead of the last resort. A number of good stories are related about the effectiveness of prayer in people’s lives.
Ch. 9. Love As You Have Never Loved Before.
Christians generally are not known for their love and generosity. The challenge to love is really very simple but the evidence is overwhelming that says it is not happening.
Ch. 10 Going Where No One Has Gone Before - Next Door.
Having non-Christian friends outside the church has to become an intentional priority. "The problem for most people is not a lack of social skills but a lack of God’s perspective."p.135. Eight specific suggestions are given for people who need help in the ‘how to’ of making connections.
Ch. 11. Is That Your Final Answer?
The priority of evangelism has not changed over the years. It is a matter of life and death. Our opportunities are of eternal significance. We can anticipate a party in heaven because of people who have come from death to life and we have the privilege of being a part of that process.