We are supposed to share the GoodNews of Christ. It is the idea that we do not keep the story of what Jesus did a secret. Whether it is the story of what Jesus did for the world or what he did specifically for us as individuals. If we tell others about the good stuff Jesus did in our lives maybe they can have some of that good stuff too.
There are lots of ideas and theories about how to share these stories. How to be “effective” in evangelism. These how to strategies are not necessarily good or bad, but they can shift the message from being about the goodness of God to being about measurable outcomes and assimilation or can create a divisive “us vs them” mentality.
There is no us vs them and there is no trying to create a more appealing version of ourselves to convince others they should be like US. We are all on a sinking ship, some of us were merely lucky enough to find THE lifeboat and sharing the GoodNews is about inviting others into that lifeboat.
There is an urgency in this lifeboat picture that is apt. There was a sermon by Charles Spurgeon where he suggests there should be a realization that the people we love (or like or tolerate) that might be destined for hell or living it already simply because we are not sharing the goodness of Jesus. It would be the equivalent of paddling in a lifeboat watching others struggle and drown but never offering to let them get in the lifeboat with us.
I appreciate the urgency suggested in such a message. The GoodNews of Christ is urgent. However, the sometimes-unfortunate result of seeing the urgency in evangelism is that it becomes a message of imposition rather than invitation. The choice to enter the lifeboat becomes one of coercion. Which is the exact opposite of what Jesus offers. Jesus came to offer grave and hope held out with an open hand. Salvation for any and all who would reach out and take it. There is no coercion, no manipulating sales technique. Jesus offered his teaching and miracles open and freely and allowed people to come or go as they chose. He offered his death and living hope to eternal life in the same way. He offers it with an open hand and it is an offer for freedom given in a free way. The GoodNews we share has to be held out with an open hand and has to be accepted willingly- or it is not good news.
So, if evangelism is not about a specific method, and it is not about brute force, then there must be something that is strong and powerful and brave and truthful enough to speak to the goodness of Jesus without reducing it.
That is why I think vulnerability has to be a main component in whatever way we share our stories about the goodness of Jesus. Vulnerability is that state of being exposed, about sharing our story that exposes our weakness and brokenness in a way that we know not everyone will be careful with- but doing it anyway. Vulnerability is about being honest about the struggles and difficulties that still exist in out lives and talking about Jesus presence with our imperfection. Vulnerability is about showing that the only goodness that exists in our lives is from Him, that getting in the lifeboat is not becoming like US but that we are all just trying to become like HIM. Vulnerability is about sharing the joy of our salvation and allowing others to walk away unconvinced.
Although it can feel like being vulnerable can leave us weak and unprotected, the fact is that vulnerability is the only thing that can convey the truth and strength and bravery and power of Christ in our lives.
Because the value of vulnerability in sharing the GoodNews of Christ is not just in the fact that it is powerful and effective (again not necessarily looking for measurable outcomes here) but it is a way of reflecting the vulnerability that already exists in the story of the Gospel story itself.
It is the story of a God, who made Himself vulnerable by becoming a part of His own creation. God the Father allowing His Son to become vulnerable to the harms that He knew humanity would inflict. Jesus allowing His creation to not only reject Him, but to torture and kill Him. Jesus allowed Himself to become the sacrifice to the very people who would sacrifice Him. This is the ultimate demonstration of vulnerability, and the GoodNews that it means to our lives is only possible because Jesus made himself vulnerable in such a way.
How can we possibly tell this story without being vulnerable ourselves?
Jesus was the stone, the rock, the living stone. Not because of His ability to be impervious to pain and hurt. Not His ability to power and steam roll over everyone in such a way that they could not help but bend to His will. Instead, Jesus made himself vulnerable to pain and harm and rejection, and in doing so He became powerful enough to offer salvation to the entire world.
Meet the Pasotr
Pastor Heather and her family have been a part of the Cold Lake Community since December 2006 and she has been the pastor at Community Baptist Church since September 2017.