Planting Missional Churches 6: Scales and Matrix and Journeys

I’m doing a few series kind of interacting with and starting discussions about themes in some books on church planting. This series comes out of “Planting Missional Churches” by Ed Stetzer.

In his book, Stetzer shares the “Engel Scale.” You may have seen this. It’s a way of thinking about where a person is at spiritually. Rather than viewing people simply as believers or non-believers, this helps you to realize that someone may be at a “-8” (no effective knowledge of the gospel), or a “-6” (awareness of the gospel), or “-3” (decision to act), etc. And so, rather than just trying to get someone to “accept Jesus” we realize that we need to consider where they’re at, and then take them step by step to where they need to go.

He also shares the “Gray Matrix” which is another way of determining where a person is at spiritually. This “map” focuses on the amount of knowledge a person has, and the degree to which they are open or closed to the gospel. Again, this understanding should help us know the best approach to leading the person to a committed faith in Jesus.

Stetzer then presents his own version, “Stetzer’s Evangelism Journey.” It is more sophisticated tool, very good, and one of the reasons you should buy this book.

So, honestly, when you encounter a non-Christian, do you view that person simply as a non-Christian or as a person who has no effective knowledge of the gospel? As simply a non-Christian, or as someone who is knowledgeable but closed to the gospel? and how do you find that kind of information out about the person? (maybe by asking questions and listening) (sounds crazy but it might just work!)

Also, when you preach, do you view the non-Christians in your audience simply as non-Christians, or are you discerning about WHY they’re not Christians? Do they need to hear the gospel? Understand the gospel? Be convinced of the truth of the gospel? Discover the relevance of the gospel to their lives? What steps do they need to take, and how can you help them take those steps?

And, by the way, if you think that we just need to preach the gospel, and that understanding your audience and molding your presentation to their degree of understanding and openness to the gospel is not biblical … ummmm … you’re wrong. Want to see it? Compare the sermon Peter preaches in Acts 2 in Jerusalem to the sermon Paul preaches in Acts 17 in Athens.
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