Asking the Right Question about Evangelism

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” [1]

Recently I’ve been writing about asking the right questions, and there’s one more thing I want to ask about: Evangelism. Are we asking the right questions about Evangelism?

Don't evangelize like this...  Photo Credit: Sherlock77 (James) via Compfight cc
Don’t evangelize like this…
Photo Credit: Sherlock77 (James) via Compfight cc

Growing up there were really two different types of evangelistic methods that were presented to me. One is the typical person on the street evangelism. This primarily involved going up to people to talk to them about Jesus. Usually this meant asking them about their eternal destination and if they were certain about it. The second method involved what is typically referred to ask apologetics. It is the process of reasoning your way to proving that the existence of God is a logical conclusion. While I can see that their may be a time and a place for both of these methods, I’m not sure that if I were to ask Jesus how I should share the good news that these are the primary methods he would teach me.

With these methods we are primarily concerned with, “Do I know enough to convince someone to believe in Jesus?” This is a good question. As someone who spent 7 years in Christian Higher Education, it would be almost hypocritical of me to say that knowledge of Jesus is not valuable. Knowing Jesus is very important, but following Jesus is even more important. Following him means that we strive to live like him.

When we look at scripture I think the best evangelistic question it ask is “How do I show someone Jesus?” or “Does my life reflect Jesus in such a way that people notice?” When Michael Frost spoke at Exponential last year he called this living a “questionable” life. He writes in his book The Five Habits of Highly Missional People, “Evangelistic mission works effectively when we are living generous, hospitable, Spirit-led, Christlike lives as missionaries to our own neighborhoods.” [2] Are our lives different enough that people take notice? Do they wonder why we are the way we are?

Matthew 5:16 [fullscreen]I have tried the evangelism on the street method and have been a part of a group that studied apologetic methods. The problem is that the people who I have tried to share Jesus with like this I don’t know and they don’t know me. They don’t see what’s really wonderful about Jesus and that the good news lived our on a daily basis. There’s so much broken in our world that our lives can be a light that draws people to Jesus. Unfortunately, so many of us our like salt that isn’t salty. We say we follow Jesus, but our lives aren’t flavored with Jesus. Sharing what you know and believe about Jesus is more powerful when it is accompanied by the salt and light of your “questionable” life.

So, does your life reflect Jesus in such a way that people notice? Are your words about Jesus undergirded by a life that is salt and light to the people around you?

[1] Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013), Mt 5:13–16.
[2] Michael Frost, The 5 Habits of Highly Missional People: Taking the BELLS Challenge to Fulfill the Mission of God (Exponential Resources, 2014), 10.

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