The longer I stick around this evangelical world, the more I tend to put up a wall to the language of ‘evangelism.’ I don’t know if I buy seeking conversions to my faith and trying to get people saved by believing what I believe. The whole concept now seems so foreign to me. This is coming from a guy who definitely spent some time in open-air evangelism tactics in my time.
Evangelism has been to much about ideas and not enough about a new way of life. I’m not interested anymore in getting people to believe the same things that I believe about Jesus, God, Salvation or anything else about my faith. I find the conversations always tend to go in the direction of trying to prove my points through evidence or me blabbering on about the importance of having a narrative that our lives are inspired from. Needless to say, the conversations are always fun and I think I’m challenging people, but I don’t think this is evangelism. I don’t pray Jesus into people’s hearts, I don’t count salvations and I don’t really care if someone believes me.
What I am noticing as of late though is the amount of people who look at my life, and what we are doing at theStory, or on College Ave or in my relationships and are jealous. I can tell you story after story of friends from all over the place who tell me at one point or the other, that they want to live my life. We tend to lately in Sarnia have this attraction to what we are doing. People move here to join in. We have assembled quite a community here and our relationships are some of the best I’ve seen around. People that look at that from the outside know they don’t have it and they wish they did. Some people look at our jobs, or that we live on the same street, or that we eat together a few times a week, or that we spend our time downtown, or that we are always available to talk, or that we genuinely seem to enjoy every waking minute of our lives and they say “I want to live that way.”
Many of them feel trapped though. Societal pressures to get better jobs, secure jobs, save for retirement, party hard on weekends, find the lowest price, have security in money, maintain a reputation….all these things weight on people more than we think. They see freedom in our small community, but it scares them. They long for it, but it’s a big move into uncertainty. Because communities like this don’t exist everywhere. I like to think that we are a community of people that are trying to model what the kingdom of God looks like. We are attempting. There is no way that I’m going to convince anyone to join this community through an argument. In this case, jealousy will spark movement. As people start to see what we have they will be moved to either create it where they are or join in what we are doing because they are in awe of what it looks like. Then who knows, maybe when they join in or if they watch for long enough, they will want to bring their lives under God’s authority as well. After all, I’m convinced now that modelling God’s reign her on earth now is something that is attractive and exciting to people and when they see it, the jealousy and curiosity will get to them.