What if you knew that by simply crossing the room and saying hello to someone, you could change that person’s forever? Just a few steps to make an eternal difference. It has nothing to do with methods and everything to do with taking a genuine interest in another human being. All you need is a heart that’s in tune with the Holy Spirit and a willingness to venture out of your “Circle of Comfort” and into another person’s life. Just Walk Across the Room brings personal evangelism into the twenty-first century. Building on the solid foundation laid in Becoming a Contagious Christian, Bill Hybels shows how you can participate in the model first set by Jesus, who stepped down from heaven 2,000 years ago to bring hope and redemption to broken people living in a fallen world. Now it’s your turn. Your journey may not be as dramatic, but it can have a life-changing impact for someone standing a few steps away from you—and for you as well, as you learn the power of extending care, compassion, and inclusiveness under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The highest value in personal evangelism is cooperating with the Spirit, says Hybels. This means playing only the role you’re meant to play—walking when the Spirit says to walk, talking when he says to talk, and falling silent when he suggests that you’ve said enough. Hybels encourages you to “live in 3D” ... Developing friendships Discovering stories Discerning appropriate next steps ... as a means of learning to understand the Holy Spirit’s promptings. With fresh perspectives from his own reflections and experiences collected during his most recent decade of ministry, Bill Hybels shows with convincing and inspiring clarity the power of this personal, richly relational approach to evangelism. The stakes are high. The implications are eternal. And you may be only a conversation away from having an eternal impact on someone’s life—if you will just walk across the room.
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Bill Hybels is the founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., and chairman of the board for the Willow Creek Association. The bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Leadership Axioms, Holy Discontent, Just Walk Across the Room, The Volunteer Revolution, and Courageous Leadership, and classics such as Too Busy Not to Pray and Becoming a Contagious Christian, Hybels is known worldwide as an expert in training Christian leaders to transform individuals and their communities through the local church. He and his wife, Lynne, have two adult children and two grandsons, Henry and Mac.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Just Walk Across the Room Participant's Guide Introduction Shortly after Jesus' resurrection, he appeared to his disciples on a mountain in Galilee. The wide-eyed group sat with rapt attention as he delivered a few standing orders to be carried out until he returned. Remember what they were? 'Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you.' Matthew 28:18 -- 20a, MSG Immediately after recognizing what's commonly referred to as the 'Great Commission,' the next thought that crosses your mind (if you're like many Christians) is smothered with obligation . . . or worse yet, with guilt. I know I should be accomplishing the Great Commission, but I can't seem to get past that first word . . . Go. We go all the time. We go to work, go home, go out to eat, go shopping, go to sporting events, go to bed. But something deep inside us knows that Jesus' 'go' carries with it a very different connotation. His 'go' means our feet have to get unstuck from where they're currently planted. It means we have to agree to action. It means we have to accept a little risk and stick one foot in front of the other to engage with another human being . . . having no idea where it all will lead. A daunting task for some, to say the least. Friends, if your desire to 'go' and reach out to the people around you is strong, but you find yourself perpetually stuck in 'stay' mode, this study is for you. Statistically, only 10 percent of any congregation would raise their hands if asked who has the formal gift of evangelism or who does any evangelizing on a regular basis. Which means there's a substantive number of believers sitting around you each weekend who are all locked up when it comes to pointing those outside the faith toward God. Just Walk Across the Room: The Four-Week Experience is a campaign designed to raise the value of evangelism for everyone in your church. This means that at the end of four weeks' time, they will have a fresh understanding of what 'evangelism' really means, as well as a dose of inspiration regarding how to get it done. In addition to having some unexpected fun this month, I think you'll come away from the experience anxious to 'go' in ways you've never before dreamed. One closing thought before you dive in: Jesus' mountaintop speech to the disciples that day didn't end with his memorable series of commands. Probably detecting a little nervous energy in the audience, he concluded things with a single promise (and aren't we all glad!): 'I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.' Matthew 28:20b, MSG As you work through the material over the coming weeks, remember that evangelism isn't something you have to 'gear up' for. Fundamentally, evangelism is about submitting to God's agenda in a social situation, in a conversation, in your moment-by-moment life. And, like Matthew's gospel says, he will be with you every step of the way. Bill Hybels Founding and Senior Pastor Willow Creek Community Church The Single Greatest Gift [Look to Jesus] Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a human being, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death --- even death on a cross! Philipp ians 2:6 -- 8 Before You Meet 1. Read the introduction and chapters 1 and 2 in the Just Walk Across the Room hardcover book. 2. Complete the 'Simple Steps We All Can Take' activity introduced during the weekend worship service (see page 10 for details). Note: If you are using this small group curriculum outside of the Just Walk Across the Room four-week campaign, simply disregard any item with a footprint symbol beside it. 3. Begin praying for one or two people for whom you want to take a 'walk across the room' during this four-week experience. Beginning on page 69 of this participant's guide, you'll find space to log your prayer requests and the answers you receive. Simple Steps We All Can Take If you are a Christ-follower, consider how you wound up in the kingdom of God. Most likely, your story involves someone, somewhere who took a risk to walk across a room in order to point you toward faith. Maybe they extended a hand of friendship or engaged you in conversation. Regardless of the details, the end result was you submitting your life to God. If you still maintain contact with this person, then fill out and mail your 'God Used You to Help Point the Way' note of gratitude to him or her today. If you're not in touch with this person any longer, you may instead choose to mail your card to someone who epitomizes what it means to be a walk-across-the-room person, actively living out their faith in their day-to-day lives. Big Idea --- The Single Greatest Gift The single greatest gift Christ-followers can give to the people around them is an introduction to the God who created them, who loves them, and who has a purpose for their lives. Nothing beats it --- not monetary gain, not job opportunities, not recognition or accolades. This is what evangelism is --- constantly watching for ways to give that gift to someone living far from God. The Single Greatest Gift 11 Session One Overview This week, as you view the story of Brian Anderson, a vice president with a development consulting firm in Chicago and former soccer coach for Bill Hybels' son, watch for: * Why Christ's walk from heaven to earth is a model for us all * How learning from the Master --- Jesus Christ --- can help you become a 'walk-across-the-room' person starting today * What it means to pay attention to and be led by spiritual promptings Video Opener (2 minutes) Play the session one video opener on the Just Walk Across the Room Four-Week Experience DVD. Icebreaker (6 minutes) Think of your favorite interest, hobby, or recreational activity. Who would you like to spend a day with in order to soak up their knowledge and expertise in this area? Why? Video Teaching (15 minutes) Play the session one teaching segment on the DVD. Use the space below for your notes. Video Observations The Single Greatest Gift 13 Group Strides, Part A (31 minutes) 1. What part of Brian's story had the greatest impact on you? Please explain. 2. As you think back on your own journey toward God, who is the main person who 'took a walk' for you? 3. How would you describe the way in which this person reached out to you? What part of that experience was most affirming or encouraging to you? 4. Reflect on a time when you believe you helped point someone toward God. Perhaps you said to a friend, 'I'll pray for you,' or you invited a neighbor to a Christmas Eve service. How would you feel if you discovered that this person wound up putting their trust in Christ as a result of the spiritual impact you had on their life? 5. What does Luke 19:10 say about Jesus' mission in coming to earth?
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