In the last two posts (here and here), I have discussed the fruit of faith, love, and hope that is produced by the true gospel. In this post, I simply want to relate this discussion to the task of evangelism.
As Christians, our greatest testimony that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true is a life lived in faith, love, and hope. At times, Christians have been led astray to think that our biggest evangelistic tool was debates, syllogistic reasoning, and topical Bible studies. The truth is, if we’re honest enough to admit it, these methods weren’t about evangelism, that is, winning people to Jesus Christ. Rather, these methods were about proving we were right…especially when it came disagreements between two or more denominations over various issues.
Yet in all of that noisiness that was said to be evangelism, more and more people have been saying no to Christianity. I am convinced that what they have been saying no to is not Jesus Christ but rather a version of Christianity that they are smart enough to sense as being a much different way of life than that of Jesus Christ.
Faith, love, and hope is more than just a belief, it is a way of life and I’ll repeat my self and say that the greatest testimony that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true is a life lived in faith, love, and hope. So from an evangelistic quest I still believe that there will be times when it is necessary to have “Bible studies” with people, however I also believe that what must proceed Bible study is relationship or community. We need to be in relationship with people where they can see our faith, love, and hope being lived out in real time. This is done when we create and enter spaces for community…small groups, dinner-table time, gathering events (i.e., birthday parties for children).
This is where we build relationship and shine the gospel light that is our faith, love, and hope. With faith, love, and hope, if we invest in this relationship building then there will be time for Bible studies that teach the gospel. If not, then the truth is that we’re just not interested in evangelism and ultimately, not interested in a life of faith, love, and hope.