If our goal is the transformation of people by the power of God, we must share the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we desire our sharing to be effective, we must live the gospel. The scent of God must be on us. The breath of God must be blowing across our lives. We need to “be” good news to effectively share the Good News.
This was one of the themes at a conference for church planters wrapping up today in Orlando, Florida. Exponential East 2014 is a three day event lead by pastors, missiologist, and church planters from all over the world. I’ve enjoyed watching the event via a live webcast feed.
Three of the authors/speakers God has used in recent years to challenge my thinking spoke yesterday. These men make my head hurt and my heart burn. Alan Hirsch, Michael Frost and Hugh Halter are always worth a read or a listen.
Hugh Halter spoke of our witness while standing in front of several large screens projecting a simple diagram that looked something like this.
How do we participate in seeing our friends and neighbors transformed by the good news of Jesus Christ?
Those who know Jesus and live their lives under his authority and by his life must “move into the neighborhood”. We have to enter the suffering, pain and struggles of others as he did. We must not come to condemn but to save.
Those who live by his life will be gracious and compassionate with others by demonstrating him in their actions. They will live “in” the world while not being “of” the world. Anyone who lives like this will gain a reputation, “having favor with all of the people”.
If we live lives seasoned with grace and gain a good reputation with others, we’ll have conversations. People will be curious. They’ll ask questions. They’ll allow us to ask questions.
The relationships we build through incarnational conversations will allow us to regularly confront others with the claims and call of Jesus on their life. This is a far more effective way for the church to share the gospel day-after-day.
This is truly the work of God. We cannot transform people. We introduce them to Jesus. We walk with him and with them. He does the transforming, both them and us.
This is not complicated, but critical. It is a wonderful picture of how neighbors and neighborhoods could be changed by the power of the good news of Jesus Christ. We’ll need to live by his life and enter into humanity — but, this has always been his way.
More insights from the conference are coming…