A principle from Compelled that I have lived by for years, even before I knew Jesus personally, was that we shouldn’t answer questions no one is asking. It’s awkward, and kind of socially stupid. The way we see evangelism in many Christian circles is: “I better tell him about Jesus, otherwise his blood is on my hands. What if he drove away after we talked, crashed and died and I didn’t explain every spiritual law in its entirety? I will stand before a mighty and powerful God for that, and He won’t be happy!” So, we look for—and often in a very impatient way—vomit our faith on other people.
For some, we believe our justification comes from what we do. Let me free you from that: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU! It’s about Jesus, and what He has done; He is our justification. We have to start off with the fact that YOU AND I DO NOT SAVE ANYONE. We are just not that important. It is because only God, drawing people to Himself through His grace and mercy, that any of us can be brought into a relationship with the Lord of Earth and Heaven.
In society today, we have less of an attention span then ever before in history, and when I see people talking with one another, I often see people essentially having two monologues directed at one another—without either truly listening and/or connecting with one another. In evangelism, we have turned proclaiming the truth of God into a practice of talking at people, and not inviting them into a dialogue/conversation where they can meet and know Jesus personally.
Let me be clear: unless you are getting an honorarium, and you have a pulpit in front of you, it better be a dialogue. You better allow people to talk back and actually ask questions. Trust me: God isn’t afraid of people’s questions, and neither should you be.
When Jesus would engage the world around Him, He would teach from the side of a mountain, or in a synagogue. But, some of the most impactful words that He ever said were in conversation with other people—with His followers, with people from the towns and villages that He walked through, and with the other religious leaders who attempted to stump Him and come against the ministry of reconciliation that He came to bring to Earth. Now, He often would be asked a question, and His response was to tell a story, ask a question back, or write in the sand.
I believe that when He talked to the woman at the well, He cared for her. He looked her in the eyes; He listened to her responses when she spoke, even though at that time, a Samaritan woman was pretty low on the totem pole of classes. But, Jesus engaged the world around Him. He asked questions and waited for answers; He cared about what people had to say.
The Silicon Valley (where I live) is very diverse in culture, but incredibly awkward in relational communication. If two men walk down the street and see each other, they may actually acknowledge one another’s presence if they are not playing on their iPhones. But, they will look at each other and one will say “Hey what’s up?” and the other will nod his head and say “Hey what’s up?” and neither will answer the question or really have any type of relational connection.
Why is this?
I would contend that to most of us, other people just don’t matter. We don’t care how someone is really doing, not because we dislike him or her, but because we are self-absorbed and don’t have time. Because we have social media to attend to. Or, our DVR is filling up because we keep recording shows in HD. If you are a person who generally wants deep meaningful relationships, let me just suggest a mind blowing idea: “Ask someone how they are doing, pause, and when they say ‘good,’ ask again: ‘No, really, how are you doing?’” More often than not, the floodgates will open, and you will have a much more meaningful conversation than just a head nod and a “what’s up.”
If Christians are truly God’s plan A, to reach a dying and decaying world, wouldn’t it make sense to actually engage the world around us? Wouldn’t it? If your excuse is that you just do not know how to share your faith with those around you… you are in luck. There is this ministry called Compelled, where we spend 8 hours over 4 weeks, equipping you in a room full of people who also struggle with the exact same issues of “how to reach their friends and family.”
Guys, we are in this together, and I will always contend that it is not about how effective we are, but how obedient we are to our Lord, that matters. What is He telling you to do right now? And whom is he leading you to engage? Do work!
If you want to sign up for Compelled's upcoming training: http://www.iamcompelled.org/training-events/
Or watch this message about sharing your faith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4imoRU7mr7Q