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Finding Common Ground: How to Communicate With Those Outside the Christian Community...While We Still Can [Paperback]

By Tim Downs (Author)
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Item description for Finding Common Ground: How to Communicate With Those Outside the Christian Community...While We Still Can by Tim Downs...

2000 GOLD MEDALLION WINNER When it comes to reaching the new generation for Christ, are believers truly sowing for the future--or just reaping the benefits of past evangelistic efforts? Tim Downs suggests practical ways for today's Christians to cultivate fruitful relationships in our communities, and bring our troubled culture the healing it needs so much. In a world that's growing more hostile to the gospel, what can Christians do? How can we communicate with our unbelieving friends and coworkers in a way that won't seem pushy, intolerant, or judgmental? In a world that's heard it all before and no longer seems to care, where do we begin? By Sowing. In Finding Common Ground, Tim Downs reminds us of the forgotten biblical art of sowing and shows us practical and effective ways to: * Bring up spiritual subjects with busy and distracted people * Use secular movies and books to talk about biblical ideas * Overcome prejudice and stereotypes in our listeners * Keep open doors of communication with even hostile opponents * Move everyone we meet a step closer to the gospel

Publishers Description
When it comes to reaching the new generation for Christ, are believers truly sowing for the future, or just reaping the benefits of past evangelistic efforts? Tim Downs suggests practical ways for today's Christians to cultivate fruitful relationships in our communities, and bring our troubled culture the healing it needs so much.

Awards and Recognitions
Finding Common Ground: How to Communicate With Those Outside the Christian Community...While We Still Can by Tim Downs has received the following awards and recognitions -
  • Gold Medallion Book Awards - 2000 Winner - Missions/Evangelism category

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Moody Publishers
Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.02" Width: 6.08" Height: 0.51"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 9, 1999
Publisher   MOODY PRESS BOOKS #13
ISBN  0802440967  
ISBN13  9780802440969  

Availability  1 units.
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More About Tim Downs

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! TIM DOWNS is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Indiana University in Graphic Design. After graduation in 1976 he created a comic strip, "Downstown," which was syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate. His cartooning has appeared in more than a hundred newspapers worldwide. In 1979 he joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ, where he founded and directed the Communication Center, a communication training facility. He continues to serve as a speaker and writer. He and his wife, Joy, have spoken at FamilyLife Marriage and Parenting Conferences since 1985. He is author of "First the Dead, Less Than Dead, Chop Shop, Head Game, Plague Maker, Shoo Fly Pie," and "Finding Common Ground," which was awarded the Gold Medallion Award in 2000. He is also co-author of "Fight Fair" and "The Seven Conflicts: Resolving the Most Common Disagreements in Marriage" along with his wife Joy. Tim lives in Cary, North Carolina, with his wife and three children.
JOY DOWNS is a 1979 graduate of Indiana University in Journalism. After graduation, she joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ where she served as a radio writer and producer and helped direct the Communication Center, a communication training facility of Campus Crusade. Joy and her husband, Tim, have spoken at FamilyLife Marriage and Parenting Conferences. Together they have co-authored two books entitled "The Seven Conflicts: Resolving the Most Common Disagreements in Marriage" and "Fight Fair!: Winning at Conflict without Losing at Love." Joy lives in Cary, North Carolina, with her husband and three children.

Tim Downs currently resides in the state of North Carolina.

Tim Downs has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Bug Man Novel
  2. Bug Man Novels

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Evangelism > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Apologetics
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Finding Common Ground: How to Communicate With Those Outside the Christian Community...While We Still Can?

A Step-by-Step View of the Long Journey Ahead  Mar 27, 2006
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." What a profound insight for Christians to bear in mind as we seek to change a generation, a world. Many authors have offered us elaborate, inspiring ideals (the journey), but when the ideals have been explained and embellished, we are left with no idea what the first step toward reaching those ideals could be.

Downs will not leave you in this lurch. "Finding Common Ground" is a no-nonsense read full of practical application, driven by some of the best ideals Christianity has emphasized in the past ten years. It is evident that Downs

1. values the privacy, feelings, and true eternal destiny of each and every person his readers will approach after reading this book.

2. is deeply concerned for those who will be inspired to reach a decaying culture; he has not advocated "weird evangelism" using what I call TnL ("Tract and List") methods.

3. speaks from a long history of personal experience, a thoughtful perspective on the culture we inhabit, and most importantly, a high view of the biblical text.

Such works are few and far between, but greatly needed in a Church full of well-intended but sometimes awkward evangelists and outreachers.

It seems undeniable that evangelism in the coming century will not hinge as much on proclamation as it will on persuasion. How do we begin? By finding common ground.

Excellent, accessible work!  May 27, 2005
Here's a book that all new Christians should read (before they develop severe insecurities because they can no longer relate!) don't get me wrong, this one is for all Christians, but I just wish it had been available to me 20 years ago. Very insightful into the condition of a believer who really cares about those he/she comes into contact with on a daily basis. Mr. Downs points out that we (as believers) often only see the non-Christian as a potential believer, never accepting them for who they are (unless of course they were to recite the four spiritual laws!). This is an extremely helpful book and I recommend it to everyone! Could be retitled "How to be normal, even when everyone thinks you're nuts". The best point Downs makes is that we see the unsaved as potential harvests, and that's damaging because we can only harvest that which has been sown. Tim challenges us to attend to sowing the Gospel, and allowing the Holy Spirit to do the harvesting (since that's His function anyway).
Read this once a year!  Sep 20, 2003
Go with me on a little imaginary journey. Imagine you've decided to "bite the bullet" and join a friend for some street-corner evangelism. Close your eyes. What do you imagine? Are you clutching your pamphlet-of-choice with sweating, trembling hands? Muttering an incoherent prayer to the Holy Spirit to "be with you" as you walk out your door, as your stomach tries to reject the notion that it's responsible for your digestion? Breaking out into a cold sweat as you approach your first person?

When author Tim Downs was in college, he had this experience ... and worse. He and a friend approached a young man on campus, who listened to their opening line, averted his eyes, and began walking away. They dogged him all the way to his dormitory, all three now at a dead run, trying to get through The Four Spiritual Laws while in breathless pursuit. In for a dime, in for a dollar! Needless to say, the door was slammed and the young man's impression of Christians was not improved.

In Finding Common Ground, Downs bucks standard evangelical thinking. He believes we are so certain we are living in the end times, that we are trying to "harvest" without first "sowing". When we rush evangelism, we are engaging with others in such a way that it's really more about us than about them. And in the process, we are needlessly driving others away from engagement in issues of faith.

He argues that recent growth in the numbers of people coming to faith are the result of those in previous generations who created a culture where faith was possible. They were sowers. And if we don't learn to sow, we will be like farmers gathering all the harvest without doing any planting. There will be no harvest for future generations.

In talking about what it means to be a sower, Downs gives many examples from his own life and others, which I always find so helpful. One section that I especially appreciated was the one where he described a day in the life of a sower, all the folks he made contact with who are in varying places spiritually, and how he interacted with each of them. A notion he holds very strongly is that talented, devoted individuals in the workplace who ask the question "should I be doing full-time ministry?" are too often encouraged to come out of the workplace, get some seminary training, and then return to try to leverage their contacts in their former workplace. His contention is that they are most valuable where they are, and most credible without the specialized training.

Downs also lays down some helpful fundamental principles, such as asking good questions that provoke thought rather than defensiveness, hearing the underlying world view in a person's statements so that you can respond to that rather than the statement itself, finding points of agreement as a means of lowering walls, balancing love and justice (love: only telling them the truth when I feel they're ready to hear it [Jn 16;12]; justice: the times when it's just important to tell the truth, whether we feel they're ready to accept it or not), recognizing the value of indirect communication, and more.

I found this to be one of those books with such a rich "harvest" of thoughtful ideas that I had to go back and highlight it and read it through several times. I just may make it the first book ever on my "Read Every Year" list.
Changed the way I live my daily life!  Feb 11, 2003
This book is the best book i have ever read on how to share your faith in a real, relavent, non threatening way with the people you work and live around that are not open to the Gospel of Jesus Christ! This is a must have for any believer who is serious about their faith.
An evangelism must read  Jan 15, 2003
If you are an evangelical Christian, this is a book that comes highly recommended.

I purchased this book at a conference after a friend of mine (who hadn't even read it!) suggested it to me. It is perhaps the best book on evangelism that I have read (with Becoming a Contagious Christian by Bill Hybels a close second). Any Christian could share with you the importance of evangelism, and most could probably offer a suggestion of "how to". But this book breaks out of the box that so often limits our evangelism efforts.

As someone trained and practiced in the use of the Four Spiritual Laws (a gospel presentation frequently used by Campus Crusade for Christ, the organization of which Tim Downs is a part), I am relatively comfortable in "random" evangelism. But I have often struggled with reconciling such evangelistic attempts with being a "real" person. This book has helped me (and continues to, along with prayer and Scripture) to bridge that gap. Mr. Downs goes far beyond just a gospel presentation, but instead points readers in the direction of allowing their Christianity to spill over into every area of their life, thereby breaking the limits we so often place on our own evangelism efforts.

But beyond that, he also focuses on how to communicate with those who don't share the same worldview that we have become indoctrinated in. Many times, I've found that outreaches offered around me have been appealing to those who have grown up in the Bible belt and share this worldview, though don't actually consider themselves believers. But these often don't appeal to people who specifically disagree with elements of my worldview. How, then, do we reach out to these people?

This book is full of relevant, scriptural insight. It is worth every dollar you spend.


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