So many exciting emotions after Ignite this past weekend! It was far more than we expected in so many ways. Mainly it was more fun that we thought it could be.
So many people have shared their excitement about being a part of this. The sweeping theme was that this was a different kind of evangelism conference or training than any of us had ever experienced.
I've been to dozens of evangelism trainings all over the world, and usually there is a heavy emphasis on intensity, passion and without being stated - guilt. We make evangelism seem difficult and outside our gift zone. We too often make it seem that evangelism depends on the ability of the messanger instead of portraying the inherent power of the Message, and the Soveriegn power of God that flows through those spreading His Message - in His strength, not in ours.
Throughout Ignite, we were awed by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association training and it's balanced and deeply Biblical perspective, as developed by former Navigator Charlie Riggs. It focuses heavily on the Christian's own walk with Christ, and sharing the love of God and doing evangelism with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15). Fundamental Christianity does not produce bullies, it produces martyrs - the deepest kind of love. If we go outside of "gentleness and respect" in our witness or in our attitude towards non-believers, we sin against Christ and His Word. It seemed to me that evangelism was more exciting and "possible" than it is usually framed. Even for my own life.
While visiting the Billy Graham library in Charlotte, North Carolina this summer, a quote stood out to me on one of the walls: "I am convinced that the greatest act of love we can ever perform for people is to tell them about God's love for them in Christ. I have used from twenty-five to one hundred passages of Scripture with every sermon and learned that modern man will surrender to the impact of the Word of God."
This is one of the reasons my heart yearned to use this training - many conferences depend on individual preachers to prepare content, but using this timeless training that is drenched in Scripture allowed us to make a greater impact. More than a million people have been through the "Christian Life and Witness Course" training all over the world over the past seventy years - it's encouraging to think how this has impacted people over that time, as it did for us at Ignite!