- Don’t offend the people.
- Share the Good News.
My in-laws have worked for Christ in Africa for 2 decades now and are keenly aware of the necessity of putting these principles in the proper order.
When new to a country, their first step in evangelism is not to oppose political legislation that differs from Christian values. Changing a law doesn’t change a heart.
When going to a new village to sew seeds of love and grace in the name of Jesus, their first order of business is not to opp0se the village practices of polygamy. Changing a practice doesn’t change a heart.
The number one job of a missionary is not to spread “Christian values”. The number one job of a missionary is to spread Christ. <– tweet this
It is imperative that we do not confuse the two. If you spread Christ, the values will follow. It does not work the other way around. You cannot put the spiritual chicken before the egg.
Once a missionary has made friends with a culture and the soil is ripe for the Gospel, there are two things to consider in the delivery:
- Is this loving?
- Is this effective?
It’s been statistically proven that some tactics of sharing the Good News do more harm than good – particularly ones attacking and judgmental in nature. These methods are not loving or effective and they can easily turn people off to Jesus – not because the cross offends them but because the Christian offends them. If we are to be known by our love and make disciples we cannot begin by alienating and offending.
We are missionaries to whatever country we live in and the same principles stand whether we’re in Nigeria or America.
Our first step in evangelism cannot be to oppose political legislation that differs from Christian values. Changing a law doesn’t change a heart.
When going into a new neighborhood to sew seeds of love and grace in Jesus’ name, our first order of business cannot be to oppose the practices of gay marriage. Changing a practice doesn’t change a heart.
We must not put the chicken before the Holy Spirit egg. Jesus comes first. Love, grace, and acceptance comes first. Discipleship comes later.
That is why I am not among the Christians that stand up in opposition to gay marriage (amoung other things). If we are in the Father and He is in us, then we will be reflections of the mercy and grace found in Christ (who dined with those we oppose). We must stop standing on soapboxes disguised as moral imperatives simply because someone else’s “brand” of sin bothers us more than others.
Christ dined with and died for all. We must look deeper, love harder, and lift Christ higher.
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