Typically, as Christians, we have two separate universes of friends. We have a universe of Christian friends, and we have another universe of non-Christian friends. We keep these two universes separate from each other. When our Christian friends go to the movies, we go along with them. When our non-Christian friends have a barbecue, we go along with them.
But what we need to do is merge our universes. So when our Christian friends go to the movies, we invite our non-Christian friends along. Or when our non-Christian friends have a barbecue, we bring some of our Christian friends along. Bit by bit, our Christian friends will become friends with our non-Christian friends. We will have merged our universes.
When I was a junior medical doctor, I lived in an apartment with three non-Christian junior medical doctors. Whenever my Christian friends from church came over to hang out with me, they also hung out with my non-Christian doctor friends. When my Christian friends went out to the movies, they also invited my non-Christian doctor friends—and vice versa. After two years, we had merged our universes. (Because that’s approximately how long it takes to form a new network of friends—two years.) After two years, all three of my junior doctor friends gave their lives to Christ. They had entered a community of believers.
What I’m arguing for here is a lifestyle change, not a one-off event. We need to proactively and deliberately work at merging our universes. It’s a bit like making a New Year’s resolution to get in shape. We tell ourselves, “This year. This year. Really. This year, I’m going to get fit.” We sign up for a gym. We get up at 5:00 a.m. and go for a run. But this never lasts. It’s unsustainable because it’s yet another activity that we’re trying to shoehorn into our already busy lifestyle. Fitness requires a lifestyle change rather than an extra activity we tack onto our lives.
It’s the same with evangelism. It requires a lifestyle change. It’s not a one-off event where we try to tell our friends about Jesus. Instead, we need to become evangelistic. Evangelism is more than something we do; it’s something we become. And it’s the same with our local church. Our church can’t just shoehorn extra evangelistic events into its busy schedule. Our church needs to become evangelistic. It’s a lifestyle change.
Chan, Sam, and Ed Stetzer. 2020. How to Talk about Jesus (without Being That Guy): Personal Evangelism in a Skeptical World. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
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