Rethinking Evangelism – Live a Questionable Life!

I’ve been listening to the free webcast of Exponential and just heard a great message from Michael Frost about rethinking evangelism. It was great to be at Exponential last year, and I’m enjoying the webcast, too ~ though the Orlando weather is making being there so much more enticing! It’s 40 degrees warmer there right now and the wind is about 40 mph slower! (Seriously, who lives in a place where wind causes power outages ~ the current weather warning for us right now!?)

Jumping off from 1 Peter 3:15, he paints a picture of life lived so differently from the dominant culture that Jesus is made evident, questions are asked, and we are able to articulate the hope we have in Him. This is what made the early church so effective. They loved people that were unlike them so well that people wanted to become like them! That’s not the predominant view of those outside the church today. They don’t see us running the best hospitals because we actually love the sick. They don’t see us giving the best customer service because we really do love the guy at table 7. They don’t see us going out of our way to love the unlovable.

It’s not all our fault ~ many often do those things and love their neighbors very well. But we’ve been painted in a lot of public perception as anything but the loving movement that Jesus initiated. Unfortunately, we’ve too often given them a lot of ugly colors to work with. It’s a problem when we claim to be all about grace and forgiveness but don’t show any more of it in our daily living than anybody else does.

Frost says, it is the vocation of every Christian to be intriguing by living a weird, counter-cultural life that looks like Jesus’. By that I don’t mean standing up against the culture, taking up arms in a culture war, or shouting from the rooftops all that we’re against. I’m not talking about picket signs and boycotts. It’s about living a life that’s filled with hope and faith and love. Not just love for God, though. Definitely that should mark our lives more deeply than anything, but also, we should show genuine love for the people around us (even the ones we’re being told to boycott). When we do, that’s unusual. That’s different and questionable. And it causes people to ask questions.

Are people wondering what’s happening in your life? Is there someone outside of your safe church family that you’re loving so well because of the hope you have, that they and others are wondering about that hope… and even finding a little of it for themselves? If not, here are a few really simple ideas to get you started:

  • Volunteer to go along as a sponsor for a school field trip.
  • Stay in touch with other parents and teachers after the event. Join some kind of community service oriented group in your town and take whatever jobs the rest of them don’t really want.
  • Help out with a school’s tutoring or after-school program.
  • Be a mentor for someone who needs one.
  • Listen, really listen to your customers and co-workers. Invite them to share their stories with you.
  • If you work in a church, get out of your building more often and interact with your community IN your community (not just in your safe hovel of books and church clutter).

Sharing the good news of Christ (evangelism) is about sharing life, His life, with the people He’s placed all around you. You don’t have to go door to door or pass out tracts on the street corner. In fact, most of us should probably never, ever do that. But every one of us should live a life that is so strangely loving in our culture, that people take note and wonder what the difference is.

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