Evangelism: An Invitation to Participate

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“Jesus taught with unique authority, convinced that his teachings corresponded directly to the reality of the way life actually works.  He embodied and presented not a theoretical construct, but a path for becoming fully human and awake to our Creator.  Like a produce vendor offering free samples at the farmer’s market, Jesus seemed to take a “try before you buy” approach.  He invited those who were skeptical about the the divine origins of his message to test the authenticity of his teaching through experiments in obedience – confident that the truth of what he taught could be proven by experience: “Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own” (John 7:17). The way of Jesus can be verified by direct experience and must be practiced to be understood.  Through shared practices of obedience we can know the truth of what Jesus taught about the reality of God’s kingdom.  In the well-known parable of the wise and foolish builders, Jesus makes the point clear that putting the teachings into practice is not merely an option – it is the difference between safety and destruction.”

Mark Scandrette, Practicing the Way of Jesus: Life Together in the Kingdom of Love, page 17

To participate is the grand call of God in the life of Jesus.  We must be careful then, as we share the gospel that we do not get caught up in mere words.  If our words do not offer the mutual participation in the obedience to God in our particular place and time we become a loud, noisy gong.

May our ‘evangelism’ be an invitation to participate!

What does it look like for you to offer an invitation to participate in your context?

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5 comments

  1. Robert Martin · June 21, 2012

    Reblogged this on Abnormal Anabaptist and commented:
    I couldn’t agree more. Being called to follow Jesus is not a solo journey but is a calling into community where we experiment, test, try (and fail) and continue to learn, together, what this new life looks like.

    • chris lenshyn · June 21, 2012

      Dude, thanks for the reblog. I love the language of ‘experiment’ as it gives freedom to fail… the fear of failure is a dangerous thing!

  2. Pingback: Evangelism – Calling to Community « Abnormal Anabaptist
  3. Arthur Sido · June 21, 2012

    I concur with Robert (followed him here in a non-stalker kind of way). There is a real danger that we are not just presenting Christ but that we are also presenting a particular religious culture that acts as a barrier to full participation. We should instead extend people the grace and room to grow and mature rather than demanding they conform as a condition of acceptance.

    • chris lenshyn · June 21, 2012

      What up Arthur, thanks for stopping by!

      I appreciate your words. I am learning that in many cases a real sense of belonging in community comes before believing… important as within that community one can see the hands and feet of a Jesus at work and likewise participate.

      Peace,

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