- Paperback: 221 pages
- Publisher: Zondervan; Revised ed. edition (May 2, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0310210089
- ISBN-13: 978-0310210085
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 151 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Becoming a Contagious Christian Paperback – April 20, 1996
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From the Back Cover
Evangelism doesn't have to be frustrating or intimidating. Bill Hybels and Mark Mittelberg believe that effectively communicating our faith in Christ should be the most natural thing in the world. We just need encouragement and direction. In Becoming a Contagious Christian, Hybels and Mittelberg articulate the central principles that have helped the believers at Willow Creek Community Church become a church known around the world for its outstanding outreach to unchurched people. Based on the words of Jesus and flowing from the firsthand experiences of the authors, Becoming a Contagious Christian is a groundbreaking, personalized approach to relational evangelism. You will discover your own natural evangelism style, how to develop a contagious Christian character, to build spiritually strategic relationships, to direct conversations toward matters of faith, and to share biblical truths in everyday language. This landmark book presents a blueprint for starting a spiritual epidemic of hope and enthusiasm for spreading the Gospel.
About the Author
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.
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They present a practical form of personal evangelism that can help the ordinary person in the pew overcome their shyness or fears in talking about their faith in Christ.
I was once the obnoxious in your face evangelist, but I've changed. Becoming a Contagious Christian helped me change my approach to personal evangelism and now I teach these same principles in my materials throughout the US and Latin America.
I have made them my own, rephrased them to suit me, and these principles are integrated into the DNA of the evangelism style I teach.
The primary topic of course is relational evangelism, and the idea of forming “strategic friendships with non believer’s” with the goal of helping them become fully devoted followers of Christ.
I found the book very helpful in stressing
* a holy lifestyle
* relational connections to non-Christians, and
* training in being able to clearly communicate a gospel script.
I read evangelism books for a living, and many focus on just one of those three.
The core of the teaching of Becoming a Contagious Christian is summed up in this principle:
Close Proximity + High Potency + Clear Communication = Maximum Impact
Close Proximity centers on forming relationships of integrity. I can testify from my workshops that many lifelong Christians have no irreligious friends and don't even know how to befriend a non-church goer. Hybels and Mittelberg give the reader several practical steps to form relationships with non-Christians.
High Potency centers on living a holy life – a life that demonstrates the work of God, and a life that bears witness to the truth within us.
Clear Communication calls us to share the gospel with words. This book doesn't teach that you life is the only witness you need. Instead the authors remind us that we need to communicate the gospel with words as well.
Maximum Impact is all about how to help a person become follower of Jesus.
The greatest contribution this book makes is the recognition of various evangelism styles.
In the book, Becoming a Contagious Christian, Bill Hybels and Mark Mittelberg point out that there are a variety of different evangelism styles.
Confrontational: Peter, Acts 2.
Intellectual / Philosophical: Paul, Acts 17.
Testimonial: Blind Man, John 9
Invitational: Woman at the Well, John 4
Serving: Dorcas (Tabitha), Acts 9: 36ff
Signs and Wonders: First Corinthians 2:1-5.
To this list, I would add “Chance Conversations,” based on Phillip and the Ethiopian Eunuch.
This list has become a fountainhead for a lot of other teaching. For example, it is the foundation for Jeffrey Johnson's work, "Got Style?", which helps your church decide the best evangelism course based on it's personality.
Some who read this book claim that it presents a "man centered" form of evangelism and minimizes the work of the Holy Spirit.
However, being familiar with Hybels' writing and teaching, this critique holds no water. Hybels clearly speaks of the role of the Holy Spirit in evangelism. He tells stories where he feels the nudge of the Holy Spirit. These quotes also go to show that Hybels knows that the Holy Spirit has an active role in evangelism.
Another common critique is that it is relational evangelism. Most of these critics come from the viewpoint that one doesn't need to build a relationship first before the gospel is shared. If you are a fan of the urgent confrontational style of evangelism, for example, Way of the Master, then this material will bother you because of its emphasis on building relationships and earning the right to be heard.
If your church doesn’t believe in engaging the culture and having relationships with non-churched people, then this book will be so against the grain of your church’s DNA that it won’t work period [there are some very separatist type churches out there].
The final critique I see most often is that this book is not theological enough. If you want a theology behind evangelism, then I agree – this book is not oriented in that way. It is extremely practical in how to talk with people, how to be genuine with people, and how to have spiritual conversation. This wasn't written as theology book, nor does it pretend to be one.
This book has had a tremendous impact in my own life. I do what I do in my international ministry, in part because of teaching like what is contained in this book.