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.
Check out our Bible Study on Sam Chan’s book How to Talk About Jesus. It is on Amazon as well as part of the Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.