The "E Word"
My firstborn child is now five years old - where the years have gone, I do not know! One of my and Cassie’s recent parenting challenges is responding to some of the new vocabulary our son has picked up at preschool. Nothing too bad, of course (it’s a Christian preschool!), but not always the words we'd prefer he use either.
I've noticed a similar issue in Good Shepherd’s ministry over the years. Instead of using "bad words" however, it seems we're fearful of using a good word because of it's bad connotations. Yep, you guessed it… I’m actually talking about the "E word." You know, the one that starts with "E" and ends with "vangelism." And, in some ways, our caution is justified.
Just this afternoon I began reading Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You’re Irrelevant and Extreme, by authors David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons (the two also teamed up on other books you may have heard me mention: unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity...and Why It Matters, Kinnaman also wrote You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church...and Rethinking Faith and Lyons authored The Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America). In Good Faith, they report that 46% of Americans now believe "religion" is part of the problems society faces (42% of Americans include "people of faith" as well!).
So perhaps, in a way, our caution regarding the bad connotations of the "E word" is justified.
At the same time, however, recall the final earthly command of Jesus to his disciples:
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28
Sounds a lot like evangelism, doesn’t it? (Ooops! I said it!)
After concluding our series That You May Believe on April 3rd, we will begin a 6-week study engaging how best to share our faith in the Risen Jesus. We’re calling the series "Going Viral" because, in the first-century, that’s just what Christianity did!
And guess what: Christianity first "went viral" in a culture that also thought Christians were irrelevant and extreme!
So, before you leave the church campus this Sunday, stop by the table on the patio to get signed up for a small group through this 6-week series. Doing so - in addition to attending worship each Sunday - will prepare you to respond faithfully to Jesus’ final command to His disciples, equipping you to share your faith in natural, authentic ways.
And maybe even use the "E word."
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