We live in a world that is torn apart by discord between nations, between political parties, between and within churches, within families… As a follower of Jesus, I look to find how God wants me to speak to and live in the world. I submit five ways for you to consider as you seek to share the Gospel of Jesus in a crazy world.
- Identify yourself primarily as a follower of Jesus. So many times we introduce ourselves by our jobs, by our political preference, by our hobbies, etc. Why do we say that being a Christian is important to us and yet that fact seems to get put rather far down the road of self-disclosure? Are we ashamed of the Gospel? What if we started our introductions by saying we are a child of God, a Christian, or a follower of Jesus?
- Seek authentic relationship development. For those of us who follow Jesus, we believe that such a path is the best option for now and eternity. The temptation is to go too quickly to the desired end of others joining in that journey that we come across as just desiring another notch in my belt for getting someone to church and faith. Rather, the call is to honor one another as children of God, listen to one another’s story, and come alongside a person wherever they are.
- Speak to issues in a way that is consistent with faith. We live in a world that is so often driven by fear and partisan opinion. We will disagree about the issues of life. But we need to be able to point to the Bible and especially Jesus for how we live in our world. We understand that as followers of Jesus we live in the world, but not of the world. Particularly when our culture is less Christian and religious friendly, the task is to speak the Love of God into our culture in a way that promotes the Prince of Peace and the type of unity Jesus prays for in John 17.
- Be a disciple who makes disciples. Once the relationship has journeyed through the above, some folks will want to travel further with you on the road of faith. We plant the seeds and water. We aren’t responsible for the results. God’s Spirit brings the harvest. So we cherish those times when the path leads to eternal faith. When we reach that point, we mentor one another. We share our own story of the movement from milk to solid spiritual food. This assumes that we are ready for the Biblical imperative to share our personal account of the compelling way God has shown up in our own lives.
- Be relevant and Godly in behavior as Church. The two perceptions people identify as reasons to avoid church participation are that what one finds there is no connection to daily life and no better example for life than what the world expresses. This is, of course, a sobering indictment. With the hope that you will have opportunity to introduce people to church life at some point, make sure that the congregational ministry provides relevant intersection of life and faith from the pulpit and in discipleship groups, plus exhibits a community of faith where the command to love one another finds fruition.
Comments? Other thoughts? We live in a time when faith and culture have significant differences. It is a grand moment in which to share the life transforming Gospel of Jesus!