Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Right Technique

Is there a right way to share Christ? If so, what is it? While Scripture is clear on the commandment, it does not say a lot about the method. Yet there are serious disagreements on this issue. What can we conclude about this?

Scripture makes it quite clear there is an obligation to reach others for Christ (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8). We are to teach the right message (Galatians 1:8,9; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; 2:1-5; Romans 3:21-31). This is to be done with boldness and gentleness (1 Peter 3:15; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Ephesians 6:19,20; Colossians 4:2-6). This fits in with the more general principle of speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Therefore, we are to avoid the opposite extremes of being harsh and judgmental or being timid and not confronting people with the truth. We should also strive to have lives that do not contradict what we are trying to tell people (Matthew 5:13-16; John 13:34,35; 1 Peter 3:1,2).

But after we get past these basics, Scripture does not say much about specific methodology. That implies to me that Scripture is leaving it open. But it also implies to me that the real issue is not technique. Now do not get me wrong; I am not saying we should be sloppy and not try to present the gospel in the best way we know how. What I am saying is the main issue is the power of God, not following the right procedure. In the United States in the present day, there has been a departure from Christian beliefs and values. It is tempting, therefore, for Christians to desire a quick fix to return us as a nation to belief in Christ. I see no basis in Scripture for such an infallible method. Rather, we are to be prepared for rejection by the world around us (John 15:18-21; 16:1-4; Matthew 10:16-25). Therefore, we should not lose heart or search desperately for magic formulas, but rather share Christ as best we can and not lose heart, but trust in God and His power.

What approach, then, should we use? I have a certain degree of sympathy with the approach taken by Mark Mittelburg, Lee Strobel, and Bill Hybels in their "Becoming a Contagious Christian" course. They claim there are various evangelism styles and each person needs to find their own. This is not explicitly taught in Scripture, but fits in with the concept of the gifts of the body (1 Corinthians 12). But the main thing is not the method, but that we are at work carrying out God's commandment in this area. If we are doing what God commands, He will lead us to the approach He wants us to take.

1 comment:

  1. Amen, Mike -- a great piece on a vital subject! (Also, FWIW, we do give scriptural examples and references for each of the six styles in the BCC book and training course -- but don't think the options are limited to just those six. Also, most of us are a combination of approaches.)
    - Mark Mittelberg
    P.S. You might want to check out our new story-driven 6-week devotional, designed to motivate all of us to take more evangelistic risks. It's called: The Unexpected Adventure.