Day: April 13, 2011

we need to work on the context as well as the content of our evangelism

Earlier this week Tim Chester posted an excellent little snippet from a new book, Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing To Family Members, Close Friends, and Others Who Know You Well by Randy Newman.

It’s definitely worth reading in full. But here’s the punchline (it doesn’t spoil the joke):

We sometimes present our gospel-masterpiece in a context that belies our message. We speak of measureless love, unmerited grace, and infinite goodness but our tone of voice, demeanour, and lifestyles convey the exact opposite. We want people to quiet their hearts so they can hear the music of the gospel, but we’re performing in a context of judgmentalism. We want them to feel loved by God, but they feel unloved by us. We want them to be amazed by grace, but they can’t get past the smell of condemnation.

At the La Trobe University Christian Union, we’ve been praying a prayer along these lines this year.

We’ve been asking God to move us to love and serve the campus and its people. We understand that this means sharing our lives with people as well as the good news about Jesus — the one who transforms our lives and relationships.

It’s such a privilege. And it’s been an absolute joy to watch as some people who are asking questions and exploring Christianity get a taste of the power of Jesus through getting to know us and hanging around our community.

But it’s also a huge challenge. Because if our lives matter this much, then (as Randy Newman puts it) “we need to work on the context as well as the content of our evangelism”.