Unbinding the Gospel: Real Life Evangelism

unbinding-the-gospel207For six weeks this summer, Pastor David Wehrle and Seminary Intern Sung Woo Lee will lead Leonia United Methodist Church in an exploration of evangelism – regarded by many mainline Protestants as the dreaded “E-word.” This preaching series will take a deeper look at the Lilly Endowment study findings found in the book by Martha Grace Reese.


Evangelism books generally presume everyone wants to do evangelism, so they tell you how to do it. Four years of Lilly Endowment-funded research has demonstrated conclusively that most people would rather go get a root canal than think about evangelism!

Unbinding the Gospel is based on research, and doesn’t leap to the hows of faith-sharing. This small group study will help you grapple with fundamental questions before it moves to the hows:Why share our faith? Why do evangelism?

Author, pastor, researcher and lawyer Martha Grace Reese discovered that most mainline Christians don’t share our faith because we aren’t clear why we should. (She calls evangelism the “E-word” because it’s not a good out-loud word in most churches!) Unbinding the Gospel will help you get past the E-word stigma, answer the fundamental “why” questions, connect with the power of a deep faith in Christ, begin to pray for real and start to share your faith with enthusiasm and theological authenticity.

Unbinding the Gospel is endorsed by the heads of seven denominations, evangelism experts and pastors. It is grounded in a four-year, Lilly Endowment study of superb evangelism that included 1,200+ interviews, 50 site visits and a major survey of congregations doing the best job reaching unchurched people. Unbinding the Gospel has sparked a transformation in understanding, thinking, habits and practices of prayer and evangelism in churches of all sizes, cultural and geographic settings and theological understandings.

It works! It is accessible, joy-filled, reasearch-based, spiritually mature and beautifully written. It is not a quick fix. God can change our churches into vibrant, enthusiastic, articulate communities of faith if we will change our habits.

From the Reviews:

“…the `don’t ask, don’t tell’ evangelism program will not reverse the trend. Humor, whimsy and joy in the faith will serve us better. Reese’s book is written to provoke, to tease and to charm us back into telling our story.”

— The Christian Century

“…with clarity and sound theological grounding, we are invited into a grand adventure….could be a watershed book for mainline Protestantism.”

— Congregations

“Don’t miss this one!”

— Evangelism Connections

“[Reese’s] ideas are resonating with enthusiastic clergy & lay audiences all across the …theological spectrum.”

—Christian Feminism Today