Value One: Jesus is our message; we see every day as an opportunity to point people to Jesus.
"God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives". (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Telling others about Jesus, or 'evangelism' as churches and Christians have labelled it isn't for the few, the super Christians or those with a powerful story. It's for all of us. Because every story of every life that has been changed and set towards heaven is worth shouting about.
Here at the Foundry Church, we believe that every single follower of Jesus has a mandate; to point people to Jesus - at every opportunity. The overflow of a life surrendered to Christ spills out towards those we connect with and do life with; it's inevitable.
When a church has a culture of telling people about Jesus, at every opportunity, there's little need to do 'evangelism' in the old fashioned sense. Evangelism, or pointing people to Jesus, can be a way of life, not a project to get involved in every now and again.
It's not always easy - stepping out, telling and pointing people to Jesus. It goes against (for most of us anyway!) our natural tendency. Fear of rejection, looking daft, being laughed at or completely misunderstood often keeps us from telling people about Jesus. But if we really put our hearts to it, and ask for Jesus' help, we can do it, knowing that we are not alone as we do. Jesus himself promises to be with us, always:
"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:20 NIV).
So how do we even start to make 'pointing people to Jesus' a way of life? In recent years, I have felt an increasing sense of urgency to start this in my own life. By god's grace I've had quite a few, what you might call 'daft moments for Jesus'; moments of life where I have stepped out, spoken about Jesus with people I've met or bumped into, and to be honest, feared that I might come across a bit 'daft'. In reality, I (probably) haven't come across daft; at least in my mind I didn't. In most cases, the opposite has been true. I have found people interested, engaged and genuinely grateful that I would express concern for their spiritual well being. I've not seen a revival in my street, or the local church populated with 'converts'. I've just tried to keep it real and trust Jesus. As I've examined my own approach, I've found the following acronym DAFT to be true; why not give it a go:
D - Dare to step out. Dare each other, and dare yourself. Sometimes you've just got to muster up the courage to go for it. I respond quite well to a dare. It's got me in trouble in the past, but I dare you to step out - it will so be worth it! It might be the person who is serving you your meal at the restaurant, the shop assistant, that friend at college, that family friend who kind of knows you go to church but doesn't really understand. I dare you - step out.
A - Ask and listen. Learn to ask questions that are open ended and need answers; questions about real life, family, questions that show you care and have concern. As someone once said, 'people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care'. and then, when you've asked your question, LISTEN. We live in a culture of talk, and not a lot of listening. Be a great listener.
F - Fun. Keep conversation fun and friendly. Lighten up. We're taking about Jesus not molecular science (sorry if that's your thing!). You don't have to be a comedian, but just being light hearted, having some banter and being real goes a long way when we are trying to connect with our friends and people we meet who don't yet know the life changing message of Jesus Christ. It was Jesus after all who said 'my yoke is easy and my burden is light' (Matthew 11:30).
T - Truth & testimony - You might not get in a complete volume of systematic theology, or the five points of Calvinism (in fact, I recommend that you don't!), but try getting a truth across. For example, reminding people that God has a plan for everyone's life, that Jesus loves people, that God has an eternity planned, that everyone can have a brand new start etc. If a story, or a testimony of how God has changed your life can be added too, that can be very powerful. Often the best sermons we 'hear' are the ones we see!
So go for it; be daft for Jesus. Chances are most people we speak to will embrace our message, and perhaps even allow Jesus to bring change and transformation - you might get to see that, you might not; only heaven knows. And that, at the end of our age, is all that really matters.