That’s right I name dropped in my title, so what? I have to admit, I’m not a big McLaren fan, but I’m not a hater either. I’m making my way through his (and Campollo’s) book, “Adventures in Missing the Point“, thanks to our student pastor, Steve Ingold. I have tons of pages earmarked to discuss on the ol’ blog, but today I found a section that I agree wholeheartedly with, on evangelism. Check out what McLaren’s “how to” list:
Build a relationship (avoid slipping into Answer Man mode)
Don’t offer a cheap or easy answer for a deep, complex question (quoting Bible verses may be very convincing for you… probably not for someone who doesn’t value the Bible)
Feel free to say you don’t know (humility trumps pride every time)
Rely on the power of stories (it’s hard to argue with a personal story)
Keep the conversation going (care enough to follow through)
Encourage [people] to exercise whatever faith they have (if you have faith as small as a mustard seed…)
If some questions are beyond you, then introduce [people] to others who can understand, relate, and help (share resources, network, it’s not about you)
Don’t assume there’s only one right way to answer a question (rehearsed answers are stale and lifeless)
Be sensetive to God’s Spirit at work in the situation (we often carry the entire burden of evangelizing people ourselves, when God is already at work and will continue to be when we fail)
Don’t pressure anyone to believe (again, God’s Spirit is at work, allow a true revelation to happen in God’s timing, not yours)
Always be respectful and gentle with spiritual questioners (just read 1 Peter 3:15)
Educate yourself on the most common apologetic questions (existence of God, creation, evil, the Bible, other religions, Jesus Christ, salvation, heaven, hell, sexuality, etc)
I absolutely LOVE this line of thinking and here’s three major reasons why:
- This model puts a high value on relationships; relationship with God, and relationships with others. And you have to be authentic to have healthy relationships. I think this is one major point of the organized Christian religion. Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to Love God and Love Others!
- This model also speaks of us as believers being prepared, of increasing our knowledge of who God is, what the Bible is, what it says, and how it relates to some very important issues in our lives & culture today. I always think that reaching out to the unchurched, or dechurched is a great way to grow spiritually.
- This model takes away the fear of not knowing all the answers, or feeling “not mature” enough to talk to people about Christ. People want authenticity, reality – not some fake, four spiritual laws talk. They want to hear your story, your struggles with life & faith. And how Christ has rescued you and given you a new life that isn’t necessarily perfect, but is full or promise.
So, I’m on the same page with McLaren on this one. What about you?