The Gospel never changes, but the way we tell it should.
Times change, people change, and they way we accept truth changes. Somehow we’ve missed this believing that the way to reach people for Jesus 50 years ago still works. And some churches are still waging worship wars when society has long since moved on.
So what has happened…?
No longer do people learn and accept truth the way they did before because in postmodernity truth is relative. If I have truth and you have truth, which truth is true?
So the old approach of evangelism, what I call “drive-by Jesus,” popping into someone’s life with the news of their sin, their need for a Savior, offering an invitation to a saving prayer, and then leaving them, this no longer works. People simply reject your truth and insert their own. We no longer can simply just tell people what we believe and expect them to fall in line. Postmodernity begs something else.
The solution to multiple sets of truths is to show that yours is better. We can only demonstrate that the truth of the Gospel is better than anything else out there by living it and sharing our lives with those we are trying to reach. No Jesus “drive-by” but intentionally sharing life together. We don’t abandon the poignancy of the Gospel, but we share that truth within relationships with people, not just broadcasting to the passerby. This places the Gospel in the right context, in the lives of transformed sinners.
This takes a reorientation of our collective mindset.
So the pastor in the pulpit automatically having credibility? Not in postmodernity. People don’t care where you stand or the degree you hold if they don’t know you or have a reason to trust you.
Holding bait and hook church events? No more. People sniff out insincerity quickly, devaluing your message.
Passing out tracks to strangers? How about an invitation to dinner.
Mission events with your church logo on display? Drop the logo and let them ask you “why are you helping me?” Questions open doors.
I fully believe that in our post modern culture reaching people for Jesus is easier than in modernity because people are looking for truth more than ever. The key is that we orient ourselves to the ways people accept truth now. We are not changing the Gospel but enacting it. In the digital age, anyone can have an idea, anyone can gain a following. What distinguishes Jesus from the rest is the complete transformation in real people’s lives. We should never stop telling people about Jesus, but our actions should always speak louder than our words.