NON-emPulse Check-in— November 14, 2010
Quarter Century Quatrain
It’s early. Today finds me on a flight to Las Vegas to take actionable steps to solve NEED’s budget crisis. Not really. I’m heading west to work with one of our Board members there for a few days. And I don’t like Vegas! So don’t think I’m going off to play, to have fun in the sun. Just not like that.
But as our flight clears the horizon, which is quite clear at this hour, it hits me that this is the 25th anniversary of the founding of NEEDinc. Has it been that long? It’s gone by so fast. It seems just yesterday that Starr and I were sitting on the floor of our living room with Steve and Lori Zarichniak musing about the need for a truly culturally sensitive approach to evangelism; one that would be culturally specific, regionally specific, and generationally appropriate as well.
Most Evangelical Christian evangelism of the time was methodological in nature, using some form of a four point outline, which the Christian would read through (sensitively, of course) as a “witness” to the nonChristian. Having done their duty, the Christian would move on or pray the sinners prayer with the new believer and invite them to some form of Christian meeting. It was the moving on part that always bothered me. It seemed so impersonal.
1985 was an intriguing year—WE ARE THE WORLD was recorded in Hollywood, Mikhail Gorbachev became the General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, Commodore launched the Amiga Personal Computer (PC), “NEW COKE” was released, as was the revolutionary FORD Taurus, and Robert Ballard finally found the wreckage of the TITANIC. Of little note in 1985 was the incorporation of New England Evangelism Development— NEEDinc, on November 14th.
In 1989 we started our first international training efforts with consulting in India and Mexico. In 1990, we spread our ideas across America and Canada through the Arrow Leadership Ministries of Leighton Ford and Carson Pue. Since then NEED has worked to help Christians learn to express their faith in culturally appropriate ways in China, the UK, Australia, and Latin America. We continue to minister not only with individual churches and groups across New England, but also larger Christian bodies—United Presbyterians, Episcopalians, InterVarsity, through numerous seminary lectureships, and online publications. [Check out our WEBsite- www.needinc.org].
We are just about to release a new book titled—PARADIGM LOST: Christians living in a postChristian culture, dealing with the difficulties we will face as we attempt to communicate our faith to a clueless for Christ society. Six courses are in process of becoming an internet video training series of 4-6 hours each, with three more in the wings. [ALL at our WEBsite.]
We reached our lifetime goal of helping 600 churches come to grips with the new approaches to evangelism necessary to meet the mindsets of postModerns at year eight. Since then, I come across our ideas almost everywhere I land; somebody knows somebody, who knew somebody who attended a training course a year ago and… . Exactly how we wanted it to happen!
So if you were wondering if NEEDinc has made a difference; well, let’s put it this way—we’re not done yet. Twenty-five years and counting.
Truly humbled by a Holy God!