In the last post I sought to give some examples of how I share my life with people at work. I have taken the long-view in thinking through my relationships at work. Everyone at the store knows I am in seminary, that’s an easy one. Even if you’re not in seminary, make it your goal to at least have everyone know you are a church-goer. Trust me–you don’t have to try and tell everyone–the word will quickly spread. When the news first got out, there were about three or four times employees let the other employee that I was a “preacher man” when I sat down to eat in the break room. With that said, people will watch your work ethic and how you treat folks that curse you (you return with a blessing).
I mentioned in my last post that we need to reconsider how we speak of “share” and “gospel.” “Share” is not merely conveying a message, it is imparting your very life (1Thess 2.8). It is not just reconsidering your method, but it is reconsidering the audience. They are not variables in the equation: Message + Listener = Conversion. Rather, they are where you were before your eyes were enightened by the power of the Spirit to the glorious beauty of the saving gospel – the purifying, hope-giving gospel (Eph 1.18). These swearing, lying, promiscuous, cheating sinners are in need of the Savior – that is what you once were (Col 1.21ff; 1Cor 6.9-11).
We also need to reconsider how we conceive of the word “gospel.” Is it merely enough to share four points with someone? No, we should help people see how the Good News of Christ sin-conquering death on the cross gives them hope for life eternal. We must show them how the Good News of Christ’s perfect life imputed to them gives them power to press on through trials of sanctification. We have to model for people how we do not revile because we have been forgiven much and cannot help but forgive, no matter how difficult the labor pains.
What we need as Christians is to not settle for an understanding of evangelism to be limited to sharing a four point message. Surely we do this at opportune times, but this four point outline is just that–it is an outline. We have to help people see that walking an aisle is not our goal. We have to convince people that prayer is a lifestyle and not simply the door into a relationship with Jesus.
Sadly, though, we have not shared the full-orbed gospel with people because we have not been gripped by it. We have been led to believe that it is the first step in a very long journey. Rather, it must be present in every step we take on this short pilgrimmage.