The new Young Christian is rethinking evangelism in a new way. Here are a few thoughts to get you inspired to share Jesus more often:
1. HAVE MORE CONVERSATIONS AND LESS CONFRONTATIONS.
It’s a different era now than before. The question of “If you were to die today, do you know where you would go?” This was a stirring question in the 60’s, 70’s , etc because of the cold war and the nuclear threat was very real to those in this era. However, today the engagement with others in your community (neighborhood, school, workplace, etc) about Christianity is more of an abrasive issue than in anytime in history. The culture war is dying out and the idea of being in a “battle” is an imagery that is less appealing to both Christians and non-Christians. If we posture ourselves to a dialogue than engage in a battle for truth, we will most likely be more effective.
2. Being an inviting person is more important that being a convincing person.
Being convincing is a good thing. But we chose to sacrifice our access to others at the expense of being assured by others we are right makes us not only lose touch with our culture but it isolates us as well. If our posture is being open with those we are having a conversation with, then usually that is reciprocated and they will be more open with you. Underneath it all you can and are certain, but it’s not what you lead with because your confidence will be arrogance to an outsider of faith. Smugness and superiority in things of faith are not appealing but humility and serving goes a long way. I think that’s why grace is so appealing. Grace is inviting and not imposing. Grace and truth go together (John 1:17). So let grace lead the way and truth will back you up when necessary.
3. Passion is the key to a message worth listening to
I have been reading a book titled, "Talk like Ted" and one of the takeaways from that worthwhile read is that “people cannot inspire others until they are inspired themselves.” A genuine passion for Jesus, who He is and what He stands for is critical when sharing authentically with others. But it’s a passion for the right thing that is important. Howard Shultz, founder of Starbucks, wasn’t as passionate about coffee but was more passionate about created a “third space.” This is a space that would create incredible customer service to employees and be a place that people would love coming to work and be treated with respect. Coffee was the product but the passion was the care of the people (customers and employees). When sharing passionately with others, the focus must remain about the people and not the theology of Christianity. Jesus was more passionate about loving others and less concerned about religious laws…let that be our model as well.
4. Stop categorizing people
It’s easy for us to put people into catagories: unsaved friends, worldly neighbors, secular campus, immoral co-workers, etc. I understand that these are harmless descriptions in most instances but over time we place ourselves in a position of US and THEM when God is desiring WE. Jesus created meaningful relationships with society’s sinners and outcasts. Many Christians, without realizing it, shame and condescend others by creating a rigid exclusivity that over time can be hard to penetrate as someone who lacks faith. I personally believe the word “hope” is one of the powerful words in our culture and bringing the hope of Jesus to a world that is severely lacking in hope could be one of the most robust words to share when talking about Jesus in our culture. The New Young Christian believes grace, hope and inspiration are potent words that work powerfully in unbelieving contexts. They wake up every day, on mission to simply live like Jesus did by not categorizing their relationships but by seeing others around them as creations of God in need of restoration.
5. Live a lifestyle of generosity
Simply put, find ways to be a blessing to others. This not only blesses you and produces incredibly fruit in your own life because of your own giving but it shows the world that your actions line up with what you say. It shows that you live what you believe. Saying you're a Christian is one thing, but living it authentically on a daily basis is something else.
6. Choose integrity in all circumstances
Don't compromise your beliefs. Be honest. Be truthful. Have credibility. Situations happen every day where compromise is not only contemplated but expected. I had a situation in college when I was a server in a restaurant. Every day I would pay for my soup while most of the other college student just “took a little bit” before their shift. I chose to pay even though after my discount it was under a dollar. Little did I know that my manager saw this and it moved him to make this statement: “Most of my other employees steal from me by taking a small cup of soup without paying but you choose to pay me the 75 cents for the soup and you’re studying at Bible College to be a pastor? I want the kind of faith you have.” I’m proud to say I led him to Christ in the back of the restaurant that day. It’s who you are when no one is looking and who you are when everyone is looking that not only defines your faith but speaks a message.
7. Model forgiveness
The ability to forgive quickly and often is one of the most powerful ways to show how Christianity really works. When you model forgiveness you show the world an attribute that is not only a rare but healthy and healing for the soul…no matter who you are or what faith you come from. Jesus modeled the ultimate forgiveness by saying these words, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). That kind of forgiveness of loving your enemies and forgiving quickly is authentic proof Jesus is who He says He is.
8. Live vulnerably
Being authentic is showing the unhidden you but being vulnerable is showing not just showing who you are but revealing the broken parts of you. Sharing your story or testimony with others let’s people know they aren’t alone. The broken parts of your life is the common ground for the Gospel to be planted in. Knowing your faith is knowing your story. Where Jesus entered, what He has done and what He continues to do in you and through is powerful for people to hear. How God is revealing Himself to me individually is my testimony. How God is revealing Himself to us corporately (our church) is our message, what we preach as a church and how we live. God’s revelation to us has the same effect it had on the disciples from the days of Jesus, “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard (Acts 4:20).
9. Be extremely hospitable
So you invited someone to church and they didn’t accept your invitation. Why not invite them to your house instead and share a meal with them and share Jesus with them while you’re at it. It’s rare to be invited to a dinner party for many of us. But Matthew used a dinner party to invite many of his friends who didn’t know Jesus and to be introduced to Him (Matthew 5:27-32). Your pool party, game night, block party, Christmas Tea, Chili Night, spaghetti dinner, movie to dvd premier, baseball Sunday, neighbor night or super bowl party could be the moment that your friend gets introduced to Jesus. So invite your friends who love Jesus and let them meet others who don’t and see what happens. God seems to give a healthy community, who’s intentions are for the common good of others, restorative power to change the world (Hebrews 10:24-25).
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