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Failing to communicate with the world
Discipleship issue #1: staying in touch with the world – in a right way
There are two major reasons why we so often fail to touch many non-Christians with the Gospel. Firstly, we frequently present the good news in language and from a viewpoint which does not actually engage with non-Christians and their real felt needs, or take into account the culture they live in. We can quickly forget how we used to feel and think, like someone who moves to a different country early in life, and forgets their heart language. There is therefore a huge mismatch between the actual needs of non-Christians and the production of Christian literature, webpages and other media.
The other is related to it: we very find it so much easier to only meet Christians socially and after conversion quickly lose meaningful relationships with non-Christians. All our activities and meetings become Christians-only! Very few of us have any close relationships with non-Christians. We live in a Christian ghetto, and do not even realise it. So we often fail to understand how non-Christians think - because they are deeply influenced (though they may not know the term) by postmodernism, where there are no absolutes and everything is perceived as subjective and relative.
Here are vital resources on the issue:
- I’m not a Christian – getting inside their heads
- Breaking out of the Christian ghetto – OnMission Magazine feature
- The Christian Ghetto – article from Panacea Church Reform Movement: a thought-provoking and at times controversial site
- Fearless Faith: living Beyond the Walls of "Safe" Christianity, by John Fischer. (Published by Harvest House, 2002) (Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, USA)
- I Hate Witnessing – valuable insights from Dick Innes
- Failure to engage – challenging article on the failure of 19th century evangelicalism, still being repeated today
Jesus didn’t say, “Wait for people to come to your Sunday services.” He said: “Go into all the world.” It will not be easy, moving out of our comfort zones into a potentially hostile environment.
The Lord wants us to relax, have fun, and share our lives with non-Christians. A hobby allows all three. The Internet gives us wonderful opportunities to reach people through shared interests or hobbies.
Create a website around your own hobby or area of interest, and you have an effective outreach to millions of people with the same interest. Let’s break the 99 percent problem – where the overwhelming majority of Christian websites are designed for Christians.
It is a vital strategy, yet so often overlooked. There is one church in UK which insists that all members take part in some secular activity during the week!