Author: Rebecca Pippert
Category: Evangelism Training
Do we have a universal model for how to obey Christ’s command to “go and make disciples of all the nations”? Do we have a universal model for obeying Christ’s command to “Go, and make disciples?”
We do! Christ gave us a mandate, message and model for how to incarnate and proclaim the Good News of God’s forgiving and transforming love in our broken world. Our model for outreach, our paradigm for evangelism is the doctrine of the Incarnation. The incarnation is a theological prism through which we view our entire missional task in the world. Our inspiration, motivation and practice must come from understanding the unique act in history where God entered into our world and our human condition in the person of Jesus Christ. The God/man who assumed our full human nature, though without sin, while still remaining God.
Jesus said “As the Father sent me into the world, so I send you.” Jesus is telling us that our mission in the world is to resemble his. Just as he entered our world, so are we to enter other people’s worlds as he did. What are the central impulses of the Incarnation that will aid us in our understanding of personal evangelism?
How simple the principle. Yet when I ask Christians: “Are you being intentional and prayerful in asking God to show you who He is seeking? Are you forming genuine friendships with unbelievers? Are you socializing and befriending people outside the church?” - I often hear in response “Well, for starters, all my friends are believers - but I did invite a seeker once to a church program.” But why would they come if we haven’t taken the time to get to know them? I recall a Christian student who balked at my suggestion of forming friendships with unbelievers. She said “But my church wouldn’t approve of me socializing with unbelievers. My marching orders from my minister before I left for University were: “Just come back to us a Christian!”
I feel sympathy for this pastor. I understand his fear that in her western culture that is increasingly hostile to faith, she might be swept away and become compromised in her attempts to witness. But his task and ours is to show believers how we can identify with seekers without being becoming identical. Learning how to walk along side of seekers without compromise is a challenge. But we will never be effective as Christ’s agents of “salt” and “light” if all we have to offer is a “fortress” mentality whose only goal is preservation.