I’ve been interviewing a lot of new Christians to hear how God has worked to bring them to the Savior. One pattern intrigues me. I often hear of people asking one question but really seeking an answer to something else.
Who would have ever imagined that research could be a vehicle for evangelism? But if God could proclaim his prophecy through a donkey (see Numbers 22), he can proclaim his gospel through a doctoral researcher.
I continue to learn valuable lessons about evangelism by interviewing recent converts. Hearing what they report as significant in their journey from darkness to light encourages and instructs for further outreach.
In some recent blog debates, some people have defended unorthodox theology, seeking support from C.S. Lewis. “Lewis believed some questionable things and people don’t reject him,” they reason. It has caused me to reflect on why I like Lewis so much, even when I think he occasionally misses the mark.
The Biblical notion of giving thanks digs deeper than merely making a list. It is worth reflecting on the Hebrew word yadah, often translated “give thanks,” to see all that God has in mind for us. There’s more to it than we might think.
What if “keeping it complicated” really did justice to the subject matter and “making it simple” misrepresents it? What if we can’t “keep” it simple because it never was simple to begin with? What if we’re not “making” it complicated but reflecting the truth as it really is?
One area where compartmentalizing (the opposite of integration) has hurt the church is the isolation of evangelism. Outreach has often been seen as a separate or unusual “program” in the church rather than a core component of its existence.
When Jesus was asked by his disciples, “Lord, teach us to pray,” he did not say, “Well, for one thing, don’t use words. Just listen.” Instead, he told them (and us) to use words and, in one instance, he even gave us the exact words to say.
The task of evangelism often includes telling our individual story along with the larger gospel story. Weaving the two together makes for a powerful articulation of God’s gracious work through all times and his specific salvific work in an individual heart – namely, yours.
As part of a research project I’m conducting, I have just completed listening to 40 college students who say they have become Christians within the past two years. Here are ten initial thoughts by way of observation and concerns.