2WTL-imageWhen I was at university I was very much in the ‘two ways to live’ mold of evangelism. I have nothing against Two Ways to Live (except their lack of mention of the people of God) and have used it many times in sharing the gospel and it still is there in my mind as I have conversations with people. It helps give a framework from which to bring the gospel to where the person is at.

As a result of this, though, I remember taking issue with people who had a ‘let me tell you what Jesus has done in my life’ approach to evanglism.

What dawned on me this evening was that I think now I probably would take a ‘let me tell you about Jesus in my life’, but perhaps from a different angle than those I took issue with at University…

As i grew up, and this has only really changed in the last few years, I knew the gospel should impact every area of my life, but I couldn’t work out how. I think this is why I took issue with the aforementioned ‘approach’ to evangelism. Often the ‘let me tell you what Jesus has done in my life’ can be very shallow, touchy-feely and there’s not a whiff of the lamb’s blood about it.

But over the past few years I’ve come to understand the gospel story a lot better (I think). Whereas before I couldn’t see how the gospel could impact all of my life, now that my understanding of what it is to be a Christian is a lot less about ‘me-and-Jesus’ and a lot more about ‘me-as-part-of-the-people-of-God-and-Jesus’, the gospel imperatives to be the people of God start to impact every single part of my life. The blood that Jesus shed was to rescue a people who would be like him and display what he had achieved in reconciliation and forgiveness to the world by what they said and how they lived. The whole of life now becomes shaped by that story (the gospel) – the good news that God is rescuing a people through his son.

Thus I think my approach to evangelism has changed. I’m much more willing to talk about ‘what Jesus has done in my life’ or perhaps it’d be better to say ‘what Jesus is doing in helping me be a fitting citizen with his people’. Why? Because that conversation should now be full of the gospel. The reconciliation and grace that comes through the cross, shapes the whole of my life – so for instance if we’re talking about so-called injustices (i.e. people thinking bad of me) that we brits like to talk about quite a lot, the conversation can now be full of the gospel. God calls me, as part of his people, to live a life of reconciliation, not grumbling and grudge bearing. The way I deal with that person won’t be to get justice, but will be all about them as I am called to love God and love others. I will be seeking to help them understand why they were unjust and seek to help them to believe in grace, that their identity should be in Jesus not in being top-dog (or whatever reason it was for them being unjust). I will be seeking to help them serve God rather than serve themselves… and – oh – I’m talking about the gospel!

Evangelism then becomes something that is so much more part of normal life because it is as I talk about normal life that I talk about the cross, and implicit in this (and at times needs to explicit) is a call to follow this king who has died and risen again. It moves ‘evangelism’ out of the realm of strategy and picture boxes, to a much more relaxed, personal (in the right way) and everyday realm. And as we do evanglism in this way then people should be able to see and relate to the difference it makes being part of the people of God.