JAC Online

Love Well
by Captain Stephen Mayes

Is it too blunt to say that I am sick and tired of new strategies for evangelism? I'm tired of the endless brainstorming as to how we can "reach the next generation" with the Gospel while many already in the church are failing to live out the very Gospel we're attempting to peddle.

In my ten or so years of ministry this struggle has grown to a fever pitch. And I must admit that it isn't just with others. I see these flaws in my own faith and in my own ministry leadership. And these flaws bring on exasperation with the continued stream of new ideas.

The only new idea I believe we should focus on in the current day is an old one. Rather than new creative ways to reach new people with the Gospel, let’s find new creative ways to live the Gospel amongst new people.

Let’s place an emphasis on teaching those already within the church to love well. Helping them to recognize and seize the organic opportunities to love which already fill the believers days.

Let me be clear here: I'm not preaching a "preach the Gospel at all times..." theology often misattributed to St. Francis of Assisi. I believe the sharing of the Gospel always requires words to be completed.

But I think we need to drink the juice before we try to get others to buy it...

Let's remember that the reality of the Gospel is immense. More than a just a "personal savior from sin" Jesus brought a new Kingdom to earth. A Kingdom which He now rules with unlimited power and unending passion.

We Christians have been "rescued from the Kingdom of Darkness and transferred" into this new Kingdom of Jesus (Colossians 1:13).

And this Kingdom is radically different from the one left behind (which also still exists and is the natural habitat of those whom we hope to reach with the Gospel).

The single greatest difference in the Kingdom of Jesus is its central truth and reality: Love.

It is the central truth of His Kingdom because it is the central truth of Jesus himself.

God is love. This is evidenced by the perfect union we see between the Father, Son and The Holy Spirit within the trinity.

This is the perfect love which people were created to participate within. An option finally available in the newly inaugurated Kingdom of Jesus.

In this new kingdom Love becomes the very essence of God's people. Those whom he brings in are given new spiritual DNA. They are now able to share the very essence of God: LOVE.

But yeah, I hear ya. "What does this have to do with evangelism?"

I respond with, "EVERYTHING!"

Much of current evangelism is nothing more than people inviting others they know to a life they aren't currently experiencing. Rather than inviting them into a new Kingdom, most evangelism feels like an invitation to a new worldview or weekend club.

But if we begin to teach and learn how to love well, how to practically meet the needs of those around us, even when requiring personal sacrifice we will accomplish two tasks at one. We will live out life as it is meant to be lived in the new Kingdom which we reside all while offering something radically different to those outside the Kingdom whom we encounter every day.

I believed it truly is this simple.

Around the world I don't hesitate to say that hundreds of millions of non-believers encounter believers organically each and every day. If we can learn to love well we will create countless opportunities to share the reality of our new Kingdom.

This means willingly laying down our lives (wants, dreams, desires, well being) for another (John 15:13). It means seeing the needs of others as more important than our own needs (Philippians 2:3)

These are heavy things, but they are the way of things in the Kingdom of Jesus and we will find them surprising possible as we set out to be obedient.

Perhaps Burt Bacharach was right,
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
It's the only thing that there's just too little of".











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