Thursday, January 19, 2012

Doug Pagitt's Evangelism in the Inventive Age

I like Doug Pagitt. My wife and I met him on the North Little Rock stop of his book tour for A Christianity Worth Believing. He was working his way through the room, chatting and laughing, shaking hands. He made his way over to us and visited for a couple of minutes before moving on again. A friendly, likable guy.

So now we come to his new book, Evangelism in the Inventive Age, the latest in his “Inventive Age” series, and I’m predisposed to like it, too. Doug posted a message on his blog about giving away pre-release .pdf copies of the book if some people would be willing to blog about it, and I jumped in with both feet.

Does your evangelizing seek to bring people into conformity or help them achieve transformation? This is one of the first issues tackled in section one, and I think it’s a good question, highlighting a common problem we run into: people often reject our evangelism efforts because they sense we’re trying to control them, that we want them to conform to our way of life.

Doug goes on to point out the effectiveness inherent in each approach. Think weight loss. If you go on a crash diet, you might lose weight and hit your target. After the diet’s over, however, your weight creeps back up and you find yourself back in the same boat or worse. If instead, you transform the way you eat, picking new, healthier patterns and habits, you might lose weight at a slower rate, but the change is more likely to be permanent.

“Conformity is temporary,” Doug says, and then goes on to deal with how to engage in transformative evangelism instead. It involves the word resonance. You hear people say “Oh, that resonates with me. I’m really in tune with that,” all the time, and Doug makes good use of it here, so the stage is set.

Next up, sections two and three, where Doug gets more into just what this “Inventive Age” is all about.

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