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Evangelism Outside the Box: New Ways to Help People Experience the Good News Paperback – November 22, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (November 22, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830822763
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830822768
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Many churches feel embarrassed and discouraged about their lack of evangelism, says Richardson, national coordinator of evangelism for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA. Here, he provides a heartfelt challenge, offering an excellent analysis of postmodern thought as the current milieu for evangelism and a brief introduction to many useful resources for practical application. Particularly helpful to many Christian leaders will be Richardson's explanation of the transition from modern to postmodern thought and the ways this change has reduced the effectiveness of "traditional" approaches to evangelism. The depth of Richardson's analysis reflects his experience with campus ministry. While many churches will not encounter the academic level of postmodern thought Richardson describes, the basic patterns (for example, the move from propositional to experiential truth) still hold true. Also remarkable is Richardson's application of ancient patterns to contemporary situations, as when he demonstrates the continuing usefulness of the evangelism models used by John Wesley and Saint Patrick, or interprets Paul's "Mars Hill" sermon from Acts 17. The book's value for study within churches will be limited by the very critical tone Richardson uses for the established church. Also, many of his suggestions assume a large-church context with an army of volunteer helpers. Despite these limitations, this book offers penetrating analyses and useful resources for a crucial area of Christian ministry. (Jan.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Provides a heartfelt challenge, offering an excellent analysis of postmodern thought as the current milieu for evangelism. . . . Offers penetrating analyses and useful resources for a crucial area of Christian ministry." (Publishers Weekly (November 27, 2000))

"Rick Richardson's terrific book will not only increase your passion for evangelism, but it will give you wise, practical and powerful strategies for how you can share your faith more effectively. It's a wonderful resource for individuals, ministries and churches." (Lee Strobel, author of The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith)

"Paul said he became all things to all people . . . for the sake of the gospel. Rick Richardson models that value well, and his book will stretch all of us to think in new ways to reach a new generation with the age-old message of the cross of Christ. Read to it to grow--and then to go." (Mark Mittelberg, executive vice president of the Willow Creek Association and author of Building a Contagious Church)

"Affirming that winning people to Jesus Christ is '100 percent God, 100 percent us,' Rick Richardson shakes off the dust of misconceptions and assumptions about today's seekers, revealing God's handprints on our own culture--a culture full of opportunities, if we'll only see them and grasp them." (Luis Palau, evangelist, Luis Palau Evangelistic Association)

"Rick Richardson's book is disturbing on two levels: first, he refuses to let believers off the hook regarding lost persons in a lost culture. He dares to tell us to transform the culture and not condemn it. Second, he tells us old evangelism ways won't work and suggests a new apologetic--just when the old ways were becoming comfortable to me. Disturbing--disturbing--disturbing. Thank God for those who disturb me!" (Lon Allison, director, Billy Graham Center, Wheaton College)

"We are living at a time of cultural shift. The postmodern mindset is gradually replacing the modern worldview. How can we communicate the gospel to a culture in transition? Do we need to rethink evangelism to reach our generation? In Evangelism Outside the Box Rick Richardson tackles these questions and comes up with some challenging answers." (Nicky Gumble, The Alpha Course)

"This book will be very helpful to those wanting to examine different evangelism strategies for reaching the postmodern world--those not often considered by evangelicals. Richardson's approach to evangelism is historically informed, theologically aware, and he also has a unique gift for synthesizing intelligently and succinctly the thinking of others on this very crucial subject. I found it intellectually stimulating. I think you will too." (Rebecca Manley Pippert, author of Out of the Saltshaker)

"If the contemporary church is going to reach this postmodern generation it will have to embrace new methods of evangelism. Rick Richardson's book is an extremely useful guide for this challenging task." (Lyle W. Dorsett, professor of evangelism and spiritual formation, Wheaton College & Graduate School)

"Reaching this new generation requires that we learn to evangelize an increasingly secularized culture. In his book Evangelism Outside the Box, Rick Richardson leans into past movements of God for valuable lessons, and then combines them with striking insight into today's culture which flow out of his vast experience of reaching university students through his ministry with InterVarsity. The resulting conclusions could dramatically improve church leaders' efforts to reach spiritually lost people--including the many who currently don't consider the local church a viable option in their search for God." (Daniel Hill, pastor of evangelism, Axis Ministry, Willow Creek Community Church)

"There are few truly new books about evangelism, but Rick Richardson has written one. Drawn from his years of work as a campus evangelist as well as his wide and careful reading, Richardson suggests powerful new ways to reach a generation that is spiritual but not religious. Richardson understands postmodern culture and how to make Jesus known in it. He charts a useful course for the church as more and more of the culture becomes postmodern in outlook. I am using this book as a text in several of my courses, including a Ph.D. seminar on evangelism (as an example of how a thoughtful practitioner approaches the ministry of evangelism)." (Richard Peace, Robert Boyd Munger Professor of Evangelism and Spiritual Formation, Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, California))

"Rick Richardson's new book reexplores some key biblical/theological principles of evangelism in light of dramatic changes that are occurring in our postmodern world. As a result of this thoughtful reflection, Richardson offers a set of very innovative strategies of evangelism that is deeply faithful to the Scriptures and highly relevant to today's world. It is a book I will continue to use to challenge my students and myself to go beyond the usual, traditional views and practices of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ." (Dr. Peter Cha, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)

"I finished reading [Evangelism Outside the Box] last weekend and found it to be by far one of the best sources of encouragement and instruction for reaching out to the lost of my generation! . . . In fact, I called up all of my friends who are involved in college and youth ministry and told them to buy and study the book ASAP. It will serve as a guide for myself and many others for years to come!" (Jim Vining, graduate student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)

"Those with a passion to reach the unreached often struggle over how to share Christ's timeless gospel in a timely manner. In this book Rick Richardson sails headlong into the postmodern maelstrom without letting go of the anchor of Scripture. Read this, and feed off Richardson's passion for postmoderns who desperately need Jesus!" (Dr. Alvin L. Reid, professor of evangelism, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary)

"Allow me to encourage you to read Rick Richardson's Evangelism Outside the Box. For those of you on campus staff, encourage your student leaders to read it as well. Rick does a superb job of helping us to consider what evangelism looks like in our emerging campus cultures. The book is clear and compelling--full of new ideas and energy." (Dr. Stephen Hayner, president, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship)

"Evangelism is a central part of the church's mission on earth. Even though each of us is called to witness and share the gospel, it is never easy for most of us. Here is a book that offers thoughtful ways to help many of us get started. Rick addresses our culture insightfully and helps all of us find natural ways to share our faith. I hope many will read this book. I commend it most highly." (Rt. Rev. John H. Rodgers Jr., Th.D., bishop in the Anglican Mission in America)

"Is witnessing for you something like hitting a handball into a sand dune? Lots of effort, little response? Have you found [that] the old answers, the proven methods just don't seem to work? Then read Evangelism Outside the Box. Rick Richardson listens to our culture with sensitive ears, asks probing questions, points to fresh approaches. I believe his book, like Paul Little's How to Give Away Your Faithand Cliffe Knechtle's Give Me an Answer will help us to connect with this seeking generation. I plan to recommend it widely." (Leighton Ford, president, Leighton Ford Ministries)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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And I recommend the book as a useful resource for anyone interested in learning more about effective evangelism.
Chad Oberholtzer
It is the author's premise that if the church is going to reach the postmodern generation it will have to use new methods of evangelism.
Robert Wynkoop
Again he is synthesizing the observations of other brilliant Christian writers, but his application is excellent.
Ryan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Ryan on September 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
I'm just finishing up this book, and I'm already excited about its implications in my own style of evangelism. Richardson seems to articulate what anyone who has been involved in evangelism has probably already suspected... that something is radically changing in our culture which should change the way we approach evangelism. Richardson isn't saying anything totally new, but his synthesis of the information is what makes this a valuable book. He describes well the characteristics of a postmodern generation and then outlines the implications for effective outreach.
A striking point in the book is the observation that eloquent arguments for the resurrection and the existence of God are often not as compelling as they used to be to a "pre-Christian". The urgent questions being asked by postmoderns are not about what is objectively true and verifiable. Rather they are asking questions of identity and belonging, and Richardson explains how Christianity can answer those questions in a meaningful way to this generation.
Richardson's application of Wesley's approach to outreach is also tremendous. Again he is synthesizing the observations of other brilliant Christian writers, but his application is excellent. He has adapted Wesley's "Four Steps into God's Kingdom" to be relevant to outreach today. In Richardson's approach these steps are: "Soul Awakening, Community, Conversion, and Transformation". The key points here are that people's interest in spirituality can be awakened by strategic events and encounters, and that "belonging comes before believing".
I have been strongly recommending this book to the evangelism ministry at our church, and they are going to use it. They are already using Mark Mittleberg's "Building a Contagious Church", so this should be a valuable supplement to that approach.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Hill on March 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
We all sense that the culture is changing rapidly, and we grope for answers as to how that affects our ability to fulfill the Great Commission. The word most used to describe this shifting context is "postmodernism," but few can agree fully on what the term means. With even the definition of postmodernism being such a moving target, defining church outreach strategies seems even more difficult.
Reaching this new generation requires that we learn to evangelize an increasingly secularized culture. In his book, Evangelism Outside the Box, Rick Richardson leans into past movements of God for valuable lessons, and then combines them with striking insight into today's culture which flow out of his vast experience of reaching university students through his ministry with InterVarsity. The resulting conclusions could dramatically improve church leaders' efforts to reach spiritually lost people - including the many who currently don't consider the local church a viable option in their search for God.
In Axis, Willow Creek Community Church's ministry to Gen-X, we have leaned into Rick's learnings and reconsidered some of our approaches to reaching a postmodern generation. That process has given us increased clarity and impact in our own unique setting.
Evangelism Outside the Box avoids the trap of presenting simplistic steps for reaching the world. Instead, a process is proposed that helps churches build relevant and effective ministries for postmoderns.
Daniel Hill, Evangelism Leader for the Axis Ministry
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Christian Cryder on April 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
(...)I've been reading through Rick Richardson's Evangelism Outside the Box, and I thought I'd take a few moments to offer some reflections.

Here's the bottom line up front: parts of this book strike me as shallow and weak (especially in terms of application and practice), but in a number of places - particularly where he analyzes cultural shifts, and considers how our practices are perceived by unbelievers - Richardson is spot on. Where this book is good, its really good; fast-paced, easily accessible, it's definitely worth the price of admission.

I found Richardson's analysis of postmodernism (Ch 2, 3) very, very helpful. While I'm not sure I buy his division of history into intellectual epochs, he understands that strange things are afoot at our cultural Circle K's. He illustrates well how allegiances of modernism are shifting:<ul>
<li>in truth - people are no longer interested in abstract, universal truth; they are looking for a truth that is "local, personal, experiential" - in a word: they want authenticity.</li>
<li>in community - people aren't looking for experts who have all the answers; they are looking for friends who can identify with their struggles - they want "a community to belong to rather than a message to believe in"</li>
<li>in imagination - people increasingly value art, beauty, heartfelt expression over sterile conformity to standards of "rightness" - its not so much what you say as how you say it.</li>
</ul>Richardson offers a great summary of postmodern values:

"This generation of people understand that a picture can be worth a thousand words. They value authenticity as their highest ethic. They can't stand hypocrisy, or 'playing politics.
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