This semester I would like to compare and contrast the different styles of evangelism. In so doing, I hope you can learn to understand and respect those who think and act differently than you and, more importantly, be challenged to broaden your style of evangelism. I hope to move you from “either/or” thinking to “both/and” thinking.
Juxtaposition – [juhk-stuh-puh-zish-uh n]
an act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.
Today’s missional juxtaposition: People or Projects.
When it comes to evangelism there is always a tension. Are we treating our friends like people or like projects? The answer, I’ll argue is, “Yes.” I know that answer does not relieve the tension, but are some ways I think about it that help relieve the tension.
We Are God’s Projects
It helps to remind myself that we’re all God’s projects. He does have a goal. He aims to make us more like Jesus and use us to help make other people more like Jesus. Are we projects? Yes we are, if we allow Him to work in us and through us. Everyone we meet is also God’s project.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:13
Making Disciples, Not Converts
Our goal or project is to make disciples. We’re not just trying to get someone to “join our team.” We’re trying to help others look more like Jesus. That means everyone. In that sense everyone in my church is my project. My wife is my project. My yet-to-believe friends are my project. I hope I am their project too.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.” Matthew 28:19
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” Matthew 4:19
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24
The Greatest Command Is Love
Everyone deserves love and respect. God loves and respects everyone so much that He allows them to choose to be a disciple or not. We get to choose, and no matter if we choose to follow Him or not, He still loves us and gives us that respect. We can and should do the same with our friends and family who do not want to follow Jesus with us.
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39
Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:13
Everyone has the right to choose to become a disciple of Jesus or not. We cannot and should not ever resort to manipulation, peer pressure, or any fear tactics. Like Jesus, we can invite people to follow us. People can join us at any time along the journey no matter where they are in their journey. They can come closer or pull back at any time.
Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. II Corinthians 4:2
For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. I Thessalonians 2:3
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. I Peter 3:15
Justin Christopher is the National Campus Director for Campus Renewal Ministries and the author of Campus Renewal: A Practical Plan for Uniting Campus Ministries in Prayer and Mission. He gives leadership to the Campus House of Prayer and the missional community movement at the University of Texas.