Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sharing the Gospel There and Then and Here and Now

During the three months back in the US, I have been traveling around and speaking at many churches on life India, how God is moving there, and challenging churches how they can be more involved both in their local context and the global context. Because we really are a glocal church. One question that I consistently receive is, "how do you share the gospel in a place like India?"

THERE AND THEN

I understand when this question is asked that the person wants an explanation or example of how you approach an individual or a village with the goal of sharing the gospel. Most often people assume that the methods and tools for sharing the gospel are completely different in a place like India from America, but that isn't the case. People are the same everywhere, all are sinners and in need of the Savior, Jesus.

Sorry to disappoint, but I just open my mouth and share with the gospel with them like I would share anything else. Sure, there are some tools that I used in India to help the nationals remember key points when sharing the gospel, but sharing the gospel cannot be delegated to some program, tract, or magical "repeat after me."

HERE AND NOW

Just the other night during the beard and moustache competition a couple came and stood by me and we immediately struck up a typical conversation. Where are you from? What do you do? How long have you been growing your beard?

I usually share that I have recently returned from living in India, which opens the door for many more questions. The conversation quickly turned to a spiritual and religious one, which led to me asking them their background, belief system, etc. The  conversation happened so naturally and within that I was able to share how and why I am a disciple of Christ and I did it in a loving way.

I didn't do some awkward transition of how my beard makes me more like Jesus (although the argument could be made) and ask them to let me share with them about him. That is why most Christians don't share the gospel because they don't know how or it hasn't permeated their life so much that it naturally flows out.

Sharing the gospel is really the same message in all places to all people. Sure there is a sense in which the message or deliver must be contextualized, but don't get hung up on this because after traveling the world I have realized that it really isn't all that different.

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