Sacred Agents

Sacred Agents

The Things They’ll Say

How do we know when we’re doing our mission well? What’s our rule of thumb for “good evangelism” over “bad evangelism”? If we judge our mission by how it’s received we are navigating by very unreliable stars. If many people respond positively to a message we can easily think it was great evangelism, and if we offend many – indeed any – we can assume it was our mistake.

In fact, sometimes we can search and search – and search and search – for the perfect way to put the message of the gospel so that it will be guaranteed to succeed. We want a 100% success rate. But that’s not what we see in Jesus’ Parable of the Sower (Mark 4). Jesus points out there will be a whole range of responses to the same message. (If you do the maths, that farmer only needs a 2% success rate to make a profit.)

There is no perfect technique that will win over everyone we’re called to. If that’s our standard, we’re expecting to be better evangelists that Jesus himself. People were drawn wonderfully to him and had their lives transformed. Well, some of them were drawn. Others, like the rich young ruler, walked away.

And worse, the things they said about Him! People called him demon-possessed, evil, insane. People called Paul a fool, a babbler, a try-hard, a traitor. Do we think we should have a better strike rate than them? No, Jesus said if some will reject him, some will reject us. (And he said when they reject us they’re really rejecting Him and the Father.)

So which voices, which feedback do we tune into to evaluate our effectiveness in mission? The danger is that if we hold back the message until we find a way to offend no-one, the only one we’ll offend is Jesus himself. “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory.” (Mark 8)

So how do we know when we’re doing well? Given the range of receptive soils, sowing liberally would be a good strategy. Enthusiastic receptivity is not necessarily a tick (think rocky soil). And vehement rejection is not necessarily a cross – well not in that sense! But if people are receiving and rejecting us for the same reasons that they received or rejected Jesus, perhaps we’re around the mark? And in line for the ultimate feedback “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Written by andrewiturner

September 25, 2014

You may also like…

To Put it Bluntly

There’s an awful lot of talk out there, but how much of it makes a difference? With so many voices and messages in our lives every day, we have become masters of determining genre – as a way of coping with the on-rush and categorising all the information. What do I...

read more

Re-membering the Body

If we want people to see Christ, we should show them the body of Christ. Of all the ways that we manage to stuff up the mission God has given us, surely taking it on as an individual rather than team event is the most hapless. Our brightest witness, which is being a...

read more

Vision and Vocation

Some years ago I posted here about Vocational Discernment as a vital piece of intentional discipleship. This is the ongoing conversation focused on the question: What is God calling you to do? (And what steps are you taking?) Without a tailored conversation around...

read more

0 Comments

%d bloggers like this: