Today is part two of a two part series called “Fragmented Faith” which is a look at the totality of the Gospel in our lives and what it means for discipleship. Read part one here.
The result of fragmented faith has led us to shallow evangelism. It has concerned us more with ‘where people go when they die’ and not so much with ‘how does the Good News speak into their life today?’
What needs to be reclaimed is a model for holistic discipleship. Missional living is about coming alongside people, whereever they are, to bless them with the Good News of the Gospel. It’s not with an agenda, they aren’t a box to be checked off. It’s not about getting them to say a prayer so we can feel good about ourselves.
It is about entering into the mess of their life, and through our own admission of being broken, show them how Jesus can help.
I had a conversation with someone recently that was exploring faith but had clearly been hurt by the church before. She had questions and wanted a safe place to ask them and explore what it means to follow Jesus.
And most of her questions were the contemporary political and theological questions of the day. Everything from homosexuality in the church to the crisis in the Middle East to the end of the world to having good, life-giving friendships.
You could tell by the way she asked questions that she had been argued with and put down for these questions and her perspective.
In our rather lengthy conversation, I kept repeating one thing that is at the heart of the way I want to treat all people.
I don’t care about getting you to agree with me. I care about making sure you walk away from this conversation being closer to Jesus. If you do that, I’ve done my job.
I wasn’t particularly interested in getting her to say a prayer, come to our church, or be baptized. At that moment I was most interested in coming along side her, sitting with her in her pain, doubt, questions, and fear, and finding a way to reveal to her a savior that is so incredibly in love with her she will be blown away by it. When we enter into people’s lives in that manner, we treat them not as tasks or an agenda item, but as people created in the image of God, valued for who they are, who made them, and the uniqueness of their personality.
For us to be able to sit with people in that manner, we first have to have experienced that directly from Jesus. When we treat the Bible as nothing more than a set of mental facts to be ascribed to, we get converts that are great at scaring the hell out of people, but terrible at discipling them to be like Jesus. When we come at them with some evangelistic zeal and come across as spiritual superiors, we devalue their human nature.
In order to live missionally, we can no longer fragment the spiritual side of our lives from everything else. We don’t have a ‘saved’ side and a ‘human’ side, we need to have one complete and redeemed person that God loves, works through, and disciples.