Parkview recently finished its Missions Conference with guest speaker Carl Medearis. Often times missions speakers have the reputation of being boring. This was definitely not the case with Carl Medearis. He managed to not only challenge our biblical understanding of mission but he did it in a way that showed these principles happening in real life. Here are a few of my reflections on the time:
- Christianity is a term that no longer represents what is true and good about the community of faith. The term Christianity has gotten a bad rap in most part because of those who have done horrible things in the name of Christianity. Because of this, it is most winsome to no longer make that the banner under which we associate. This is why many on the front lines of missions (both locally and globally) use the term Christ follower (or Jesus follower).
- Most Muslims are good and loving people. We must come to terms with the fact that our stereotype for followers of Islam is based on a small minority of hyper-fundamentalists. We can’t let ourselves get swept up in the conspiracy theories that paralyze us with fear in our relationships with Muslim people. They need Jesus and are willing to learn about him, as long as it isn’t flown under the misunderstood banner of “Christianity” (which to them is as much a cultural identity as it is a religious identity).
- Sharing about Jesus doesn’t require one to have an answer to every question. Let’s face it, none of us has all the answers. Why is it then that Christ followers believe the only way to share their faith is to do so in a combative manner? Sure we are to be ready to give an answer for the hope we have in Jesus (1 Peter 3:15) but we are to do so with gentleness and respect. This means it’s ok to answer hard questions with, “I don’t know.” The question that really needs to be answered is, “Who is Jesus?” It is in searching for that answer that people will find life.
- Biblical evangelism happens best in the context of followers of Jesus living with and loving lost people. We have been tricked to believe that evangelism can be boiled down to a slick brochure and polished presentation. It sounds like a great idea, but is it truly Biblical? Are there any examples of this kind of evangelism in the scriptures? The reality is that some plant, some water, but God gives the growth (1 Cor 3). If this is true, then like Jesus we need to see every encounter as an opportunity to share some truth that will help those we love step closer to the kingdom of God. Of course, we must preach the Gospel, but when we see it as our responsibility to plant, reap, and grow in 5 minutes with full-color gospel-track, we’re missing the point.