Satisfying the Hunger... is a blog written by the ministry staff of Evangelism & Church Growth
I was standing in line at a store after church when a woman in front of me began to verbally lay into the clerk who was helping her. She was visibly upset and began what would be a profanity laced tirade that would have made tennis great John McEnroe(am I showing my age) blush. The manager came over to help her…bad idea. This just seemed to provide more fuel for the fire. I couldn’t help but think that this woman could have benefited from hearing the sermon from this morning. After about round two of this interchange, she turned around to address me, oh no, I thought. She said, “Don’t you think the people in this store are a bunch of idiots”? I did not respond right away. I did notice when she turned around that she was wearing a shirt from one of the other churches in town, with the motto “World Change” on it. I couldn’t help but think to myself that world change needed to begin with people change. So I responded, “oh, I really like your shirt, do you attend that church?” She looked down at her shirt, as if she had forgotten she was wearing it, her countenance changed and she muttered something of an acknowledgement. She turned back to the clerk and was much more civil from that point on. I then walked up to the counter and overheard the employees talk about how much they hate Christians. This gave me an opportunity to share my faith.
Now I’m not saying that I haven’t had my moments(maybe not as flagrant as that) or that as followers of Christ, we are perfect. We live by grace and not by works! What I did realize is that t-shirts, bumper stickers, billboards, advertising, campaigns, or programs cannot be a substitute for being a living witness to the love of Jesus Christ for others. I agree with Alan Hirsch and Mike Frost (ReJesus, Hendrickson 2009) when they write, “People observing us ought to be able to discern the elements of Jesus’ way in our ways. If they cannot find authentic signals of the historical Jesus through the life of his people, then as far as we are concerned they have the full right to question our legitimacy.” Do we want to change the world? Do we want to see people transformed and become disciples of Jesus? Do we want to see “justice roll on like a river, and righteousness like a never failing stream(Amos 5:24)? Do we want to see the in-breaking of the kingdom of God in our neighborhoods and communities? If we do, then it begins with God transforming us, and making the fruit of the Spirit increasingly more evident in our lives. I agree with Reggie McNeal (Missional Renaissance, Josey-Bass 2009) when he says, we don’t need another evangelism strategy; we need a blessing strategy (Genesis 12:2-3). The best evangelism strategy is for the church to be the church. It’s about you and me living and loving others in a way that point to Jesus. It’s for vibrant disciples trying their best to be, as Hirsch and Frost would say, “the conspiracy of little Jesuses” in our world. Let’s live out Jesus Christ’s call and promise found in Acts 1:8, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Do you want to change the world?