Thinking Globally ...
A Pastor's Prayer

Our Approach in the Marketplace ...


Images-4 Most Christians and churches today have a variety of approaches to presenting Christ and the gospel in the public marketplace. Some go with "Turn or Burn" while others try "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life." It is important to carefully consider what the gospel actually is and what our approach should be to people we are trying to reach.

In Luke 10, Jesus gives detailed instructions to his disciples as they were about to go out into the villages with the good news of the kingdom. In his teaching, Jesus has a clear strategy. First of all he tells them to seek to bring peace (shalom) to the people they are reaching out to. People are already under a curse because of sin and don't need to hear judgment. They need to know the "good" news that there is a God who loves them and has paid the price for their forgiveness (sure, if they reject, they remain under that judgment but that is not the core message of the gospel). Second, he encouraged them to eat together with people in the community, which implies the forming of relationships. Then they were to "heal the sick" which implies the meeting of felt needs. Finally, they were to announce the arrival of God's kingdom.

Notice the order. Jesus was teaching them that pre-evangelism is important. When we bring a blessing to our communities, build relationships with people and meet needs, we often see people's hearts open to the good news of Jesus. How common it is for Christians to start with the final step and ignore the first three! No wonder not many people respond.

I also think its admirable that a non-Christian community leader (the city mayor) said this about Paul, during a riot in Ephesus where many people had turned to Christ ...

"Citizens of Ephesus," he said. "Everyone knows that Ephesus is the official guardian of the temple of the great Artemis, whose image fell down to us from heaven. Since this is an undeniable fact, you should stay calm and not do anything rash. You have brought these men here, but they have stolen nothing from the temple and have not spoken against our goddess." [Acts 19:35-37. NLT]

Isn't it amazing that Paul did not speak against the idols and false gods but rather, obviously, spoke for and about Jesus. In contrast, Christians today often tend to be known for what they are against and can easily get into attacking everything and anything that they don't believe in rather than being know by what they are for ... We have much to learn from Jesus and Paul if we are ever to become more effective in being the kind of influence God desires for us as his people. May their tribe increase!

A final comment from Paul ...

"Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. [Col.4:5-6. NLT]

Comments

Inspiring post Mark.
The 4 steps in Luke 10 are important to note.
I particularly like the second part of Luke 10:2 - which the Dales called 102b virus....gather with another person to ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field.

I read those passages many times and never saw what you have shared. Thank you for your insights. He that is wise will win souls.

Mark, just want to let you know that both me and my wife was so impressed with the sharing of Godwin last Saturday night. So many people got their eyes wet.

Yes, Godwin spoke really well, Francis. A lot of people were touched by his message, which is great!

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