Peter Roennfeldt talks evangelism by eating

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If You Can Eat . . . You Can Make Disciples is the third book by Dr Peter Roennfeldt and was launched on September 24 at the South Queensland Conference camp-meeting in Brisbane, Queensland. Dr Roennfeldt talked about the inspiration and ideas behind his new book.

It’s a little different in style and length compared with your previous books, so what prompted If You Can Eat?

With this background of the two earlier books, I wanted to outline Jesus’ method in a simple, direct and accessible little book that could be read in one sitting. If You Can Eat is practical—it demystifies witness and evangelism, demonstrates disciple-making is not to be done by proxy or by professional evangelists alone, shows all believers can share their faith without fear, and illustrates that Jesus’ method definitely works in our contexts.

How do you understand that we should relate to people of different faiths or no faith?

Jesus’ training in Luke 10:1-24 outlines a simple process for relating to people of different faiths or no faith—an alternative that is neither aggressively oppositional, blandly compromising, nor simply graciously accommodating—but one that affirms the uniqueness of Jesus, His distinctive message and mission, and the experiences we have with Him. This is an approach that guards against attitudes of pride, superiority and exclusivity.

Dr Roennfeldt says this book can be devoured in one sitting.

Is there a risk in thinking of evangelism too simply?

Yes, I think so. Evangelism is sharing the good news of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection for the salvation of all. But evangelism and discipleship are to encompass all dimensions of life—our mental, physical, spiritual and relational wellbeing.

If we narrow evangelism to ticking the boxes on 28 fundamentals or a fascination with apocalyptic events, we truncate the message of the gospel and stunt our relationship with God. We might know these things but not experience the assurance of salvation nor a living relationship with God, leaving us unable to share our experience with Jesus or invite others to know Him.

How do you observe that the Church’s focus on discipleship is developing and growing momentum across our region?

Here in the South Pacific Division (SPD), many fields and local churches have refocused on Jesus’ commission to make disciples—and new life is being given to church-planting for new disciples. Using the harvest model (Mark 4:26-29) as a frame for multiplying disciples and churches, the SPD Discipleship Ministries Team has been systematically resourcing and equipping leaders across Unions, Conferences and Missions along with their field and district leaders, pastors and local church leaders—and value-adding to the initiatives of each.

Week-long conferences, as well as pastors’ meetings and camp-meetings, have cultivated multiplying disciples and churches ­across most Pacific nations as well as Conferences in Australia and New Zealand.

What are you learning about discipleship?

Anyone can do it—at no cost, except the investment of the time it takes to eat and listen, heal and share, and introduce Jesus. In this setting we have found many members—kids, youth, young adults and older—can introduce Discovery Bible Reading as a simple process that, again, anyone can do! If You Can Eat outlines a journey for sharing the gospel and our full message.

If You Can Eat . . . You Can Make Disciples—along with Following Jesus and Following the Spirit—is available from Adventist bookstores in Australia and New Zealand.

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