Author Archive Solomon Dimitriadis

Agape Europe – Our Values

In Agape Europe we conduct our lives and work based on these foundational values

— GOD’S SUPREMACY —

The overriding principle of our lives as Christians is the recognition of God’s supremacy. We commune with Him in prayer, we expect divine guidance and intervention, and we seek to make ourselves available for His use.

— FAITH —

Humble dependence on God should characterise our Christian life. By living Spirit-filled lives, we expect to see God move through us as a ministry and as individuals to accomplish the tasks He has given us and help build His Kingdom.

—UNITY—

Demonstrated unity speaks loudly to the people of our time. As we move forward to accomplish God’s work, we need to love and embrace one another as brothers and sisters in the faith. This starts within our own organisation, but also sets the standard for cooperation with others.

—RELEVANCE—

No matter how professional, well planned or strategic our activities may be, they still need to be relevant to the people of today. We need to communicate and act in ways that are culturally appropriate, understandable and attractive, but without compromising on biblical values.

—FRUIT—

The result of our work should be visible in fruit as defined by God’s Word. Our hope is to see conversion, changed lives, church growth and evidence of spiritual maturity in individuals. This causes us to evaluate the work we do, willing and ready to adjust our strategies.

—GROWTH—

Two obvious signs of growth should be spiritual multiplication and the existence and expansion of our movements. We also want to see our staff, volunteers and disciples actively growing in their faith, and the growth of our organisational capacity to keep pace with our movements.

Christian Apologetics Course at Tyndale

Christian Apologetics Course PA610

Since 2016 every fall semester I am teaching the Christian Apologeitcs course to M.Div students (master of divinity) at Tyndale. It is an international setting, students come from all continetns and from different church backgrounds. This makes the course even more interesting than studying it only in a western country setting. It is an enriching experience.

I personally have studied at Tyndale in 2000-2003. It was a good preparation for both my current student/campus ministry, but also for further accademic studies. There is a practical emphasis in this course. We try to find ways to apply what we learn during the course but also for our future ministries.

Short description of the course

This class is for the Master of Divinity program, but it could be an elective for the Master of Evangelical Theology program. The Christian world view will be related to competing world views, e.g. postmodernism, deism, atheism, naturalism, materialism, pantheism. Also covered are the nature of the relationship of faith and reason and other apologetic issues, such as the problem of evil, the possibility of incarnation, the case for the resurrection.

Here you can find more information about the different programs of the school.

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Teaching and Speaking Schedule 2019

Solomon’s teaching and preaching schedule for 2019

10th March 2019 Grace Church in Amersfoort.

19th May 2019 Grace Church in Amersfoort.

27th October 2019 Grace Church in Amersfoort.

17th November 2019 Grace Church in Amersfoort.

September – December 2019 Christian Apologetics PA610 at Tyndale Theological Seminary

 

Listening, asking questions and evangelism

Is listening and asking questions a good way to do evangelism?

This was a question I received recently from a student. In this post, I will share a few thoughts related to the question of listening, asking questions and evangelism. It is a good question because we do find passages in the Bible that clearly tell us to proclaim, persuade and also warn people. What is then the place of listening and asking good questions in our efforts to communicate the good news to students at the university? Here are some thoughts that could help.

Warning has a place in evangelism

It is true that warning has a place in evangelism. The student mentioned Ezekiel 33:7-9 where it says that God made the prophet a watchman over his people. The prophet’s responsibility is to warn the people of the dangers that are coming on them. If he will not warn the people then he is not a good watchman. How does this apply to evangelism? It has to do with stewardship and accountability. It teaches that those who have knowledge about a certain situation and do not share this knowledge with others will be held accountable.

Stewardship and evangelism

The apostle Paul expressed similar thoughts about our responsibility as Christians to communicate the good news with others. He says in Romans 1:14 (NIV) “I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.” Here he talks about our responsibility by using the image of a debtor, someone who owes something to others. The idea here is that God gives something to us so that we will pass it on to others. In this sense, we owe it to them. It is destined not only for us but also for them.* A student ones told me “if it is important for us (Christians) then it is important for them (non-Christians) too.” She was 100% right! Take a few seconds to reflect on this. C.S Lewis once said that “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”

Initiative and evangelism

Here is the question then, how can we warn others in the university setting? We can warn them by making the effort to initiate conversations about God, the meaning of life and truth. This can be done in a gentle and friendly way. During these conversations, we can listen carefully so we understand what others think. We can also ask good questions and challenge the students to think further. Sometimes a good question can make the whole difference in a person’s life. At the same time, we share what the Christian faith has to say on these topics. In this way, we function in a real sense as their “watchman.” The Apostle Peter reminds us of the importance of a good attitude, ” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” 1 Peter 3:15. (NIV)

Different levels of evangelism

It is also important to remember that there are different levels to do evangelism. Lindsay Brown, a university evangelist in Europe, used to say that there are at least three levels of university evangelism that we have to use interchangeably and continuously throughout the academic year. It is like a pyramid, the first level from the ground is person-to-person evangelism. The second level is small group evangelism. The third level is public proclamation. What follows is a short description of these levels.

Person-to-person evangelism

Person-to-person evangelism can be done in two ways. We can share the good news with those we know and meet on a daily basis. But we can also go to the university and initiate conversations, with those we don’t know, by using conversation tools such as a questionnaire, the perspective cards or soularium. During these conversations, we can ask good questions and help students either correct some of their assumptions of the Christian faith or share what we think about it. Sometimes all it takes is an explanation. “Explanation” is important in evangelism and apologetics because there are many myths circulating about the Christian faith. In my experience in university evangelism, this is indeed often the case.

Small group evangelism

Small group evangelism is either a Seeker Bible study, a Student Alpha course or a Christianity Explored course. It can also be an Open House where students meet in an informal way to socialize, eat together and also talk about a topic that the students find interesting. In this meetings, we can openly share what the Christian faith has to say on these topics. It is an enriching experience to have these Open House meetings.

Public proclamation

Public proclamation has to do with presenting a clear Christian view on a certain topic. The talk is focusing on making clear what Christianity has to say. For instance, it can be a topic that has to do with science vs faith, the basis of morality, the dignity of human beings, and any other existential topic that is dealing with origin, meaning, and destiny. At the university setting, this is usually done during a mission week.

Why is listening and asking good questions important?

Listening is important because we first need to understand what other students think about a certain topic. We also need to understand their worldview, their experiences, struggles, and questions. Someone said that in a postmodern society the most important evangelistic skill is listening.

Good listeners wanted

A good listener is always appreciated. We usually get irritated with people who don’t listen carefully and therefore have the tendency to misunderstand us. Alister McGrath ones mentioned that people have different reasons to reject Christianity. Reasons of the mind, of memory, of culture, and of the heart. If we become good listeners then we will be better prepared to understand them and therefore also ask good questions to help them think further. We read in Proverbs 20:5 (NIV) “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.”

Asking good questions helps to clarify things. For instance, If someone rejects the reliability of the Bible then a simple question as “have you looked at the evidence about the reliability of the Bible?” can help that person become aware of a “myth” he might have accepted without investigating the resources.

Some useful resources for students

For a short training on listening and asking good questions and book suggestions, you can have a look at our European website, look for training for evangelism. If you have any questions or thoughts to share then leave a comment.

Notes

* You can find a good explanation of this in John Stott’s commentary on the epistle to the Romans chapter 1.

 

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The dangers of solitude student life for international students

A church service for international students

A church service for international students this coming Sunday, November the 19th, at Mount Zion church in Delft.

I will give a talk as a guest speaker on the theme “the dangers of solitude student life in The Netherlands.”

I will address some of the dangers of solitude student life. I have asked a few international students about the challenges they are facing while studying outside of their own cultural background. I will address some of these from a Christian perspective.

The focus for this church service coming Sunday is for students. Students are warmly welcomed. More information about the time and address you can find in the following here Welcome Service for New Students 2017RF2

For directions see also here

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