Kirk Cameron — Teen Star Turned Evangelist
Many will see him forever as the teen heartthrob of television's Growing Pains, but today Kirk Cameron would like you to remember him as an evangelist who taught you to help people recognize their desperate need for Jesus Christ.
The church too often has tried to sell non-Christians on the benefits of a relationship with Christ, Cameron noted, without first convincing them that they desperately need salvation. Through a new reality-based TV series, The Way of the Master, he relays evangelism strategies that can make the process natural and effective.
"I can tell you that of all the things I've done in my life, of all the people I've met and the places I've been, absolutely nothing compares to the joy of knowing Christ, of being forgiven of my sin, and of being in a right relationships with my Creator," Cameron said at a recent NAMB-sponsored "Elevate" conference. "There is nothing more important than that."
It was through sharing his faith with others that Cameron discovered some frustrations with contemporary evangelism. Too often, he said, the focus is more on worship of God than on being obedient to God's command to share that relationship with others. He used the analogy of a firefighter at a burning building standing outside and watching while the building burned, hesitant to bother the people inside.
And when Christians do try to share their faith, the approach often is based on "selling" the benefits of Christianity rather than convincing people that they are lost without Christ.
"Until a man is humbled and brought to his knees in repentance, he will never experience the grace that God has extended to him on the cross," Cameron said.
In the upcoming TV series, The Way of the Master, Cameron and his partner, Ray Comfort, confront people on the streets about their relationship with God. One method, he said, is to ask them if they have ever lied, stolen, had an adulterous thought, or violated any other of the Ten Commandments. Finally, the evangelist is able to suggest that by the person's own admission he or she is "a lying, thieving, blasphemer, and an adulterer at heart." And when the person brings up God's mercy, the Christian can point out what they would think of a judge who offered forgiveness to a criminal brought before him just because he confessed.
The Way of the Master will air on NAMB's FamilyNet network beginning this fall and is currently airing on other Christian networks. Additional information and downloadable resources are available at www.thewayofthemaster.com.
ERLC Launches Voting Initiative
The head of the Southern Baptist Convention's moral concerns and public policy entity believes the 2004 election may be one of the most pivotal elections in U.S. history. Thus, Richard Land told the SBC's Executive Committee, he is spearheading a voter education and registration drive, iVoteValues.com, to encourage Americans to vote their values, not their pocketbook or their political party.
At the heart of the initiative is the push for voters to vote their values, Land said. The effort's Web site, www.ivotevalues.com, lists those broad values as life, family, and freedom. The Internet site eventually will offer voters a side-by-side comparison of the major presidential candidates' values, gleaned from their statements on key issues and their political party's platforms. Among the issues that will be covered are abortion, fetal stem cell research, same-sex "marriage," the Pledge of Allegiance, and the public display of the Ten Commandments.
"We learned in the last presidential election that every vote counts," Land said, noting that political observers estimated 4-5 million evangelical Christians sat out the 2000 presidential election campaign, perhaps making the race much tighter than it otherwise would have been.