Flounders' evangelism"EVANGELISM" AT FLOUNDERS'
HEADQUARTERS IN FLORIDA
Since the time Southern Baptist Theological Seminary grad Timmy Brister moved to Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida, pastored by Flounders' leader Tom Ascol, I have been amused by taking note of the methodology demonstrated in regard to proposed "church planting."
Brister has written on "evangelism" and "church planting" as if he knows how to get the job done; but so far, he has seemingly been otherwise engaged in a variety of activities other than evangelism. For example, see here.
It seems that the Brister approach to evangelism depends upon a lot of "research" and "survey" work about the residents who live in the locale where the Flounders want to "plant" a church. For example, Brister says on his blog:
What I did was gather the total attendance of all Southern Baptist churches according to the 2007 Annual Church Profile, and the number came to just under 1,800 people. Then, having gathered information from other denominations, I came up with a close proximate number of 2,900 people in a population of over 67,000 residents. Granted, there are residents who may attend church outside the city (as some of our members do), but I can safely say that 60,000+ residents are unchurched–9 out of 10. And this in the Bible belt of the South. There are other charts and graphs, but I will spare you all the details.
This is but a small sample of what Brister apparently has been doing in lieu of old fashioned "highways and hedges" evangelism.
Ernest Reisinger, founder of the Flounders, alleged that the Book of Acts is the "sacred manual of evangelism" (Today's Evangelism, page 73), but if so, Brister -- and I assume Ascol -- seems to prefer another method to what Reisinger recommended.
If Brister is right about the stats, he could use the book of Acts method and reach at least "9 out of 10" of the "unchurched" in that area with the Gospel message. He refers to having "other charts and graphs," but what has been done by way of "highways and hedges" evangelism?
You don't find the "elect" by charts and graphs, but by spreading the Gospel net. They must hear the Gospel to be called (2 Thessalonians 2:14). Their names don't show up "highlighted" on charts and graphs, for whatever the charts and graphs are worth.
Way back in the 1950s, when I was about Brister's age, I preached a revival meeting in a small church in a small West Virginia town of a few hundred people. During the day, I walked up and down the streets, witnessing to anyone I met who would listen, passing out tracts, and inviting people to the services. I did not need any graphs and charts to preach the Gospel to every creature. They were all over the town, up and down the streets, in the houses, in the businesses, etc. By the time I left town, many of the people had seen my face and heard my voice. One person in that meeting, who was a youth at the time, is pastoring a Baptist church today.
Those who spend their time on making "charts and graphs" would better spend their time and effort, in my opinion, doing what Jesus said -- "Go." The only thing you need is a map -- if even that -- perhaps to assist you in remembering what streets you have covered.
At any rate, we'll have to wait and see how successful Brister's "charts and graphs" evangelism proves to be. Will it replace Reisinger's "sacred manual of evangelism" in our day and age?