"Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers." - VoltairE

Evangelism castles

Posted by Anne Witton on Thursday, March 19, 2015 Under: Ministry
Recently, we've been doing a lot of thinking as a team about our model of ministry and how we do evangelism. Duncan has helpfully come up with a diagram that illustrates how we've been trying to move away from an 'Us vs Them' approach to evangelism in the way that we run Student Life.

My own personal conviction and approach to evangelism has changed over the years as I've grown in my faith and sought to help others come to know Jesus personally. I was definitely guilty in the past of taking quite a confrontational stance towards non-Christians. I thought that all I needed to do was persuade people that I was right and they were wrong and then they'd realise the error of their ways and become Christians. Clearly, this isn't a very sensitive approach and tends to make people very defensive and suspicious. And so I'd retreat to the safety of my Christian castle and the non-Christians I knew would retreat to theirs until the next round of battle.

I've learnt a lot since the early days and I hope that I'm much better at treating people as people, loving and valuing them rather than just trying to win arguments. I've become wary of making assumptions, answering questions that people aren't asking or putting on events that are too high-threshold for my friends. Just because people don't want to come to a Christian event doesn't mean that they aren't spiritually-hungry - they just need a safe space to be able to engage with faith on their own terms.

At Student Life, we aim to create a neutral space where we can build community and friendships; where we can genuinely value and respect each other and where the gospel can be lived out. As Christians, we need to be genuinely humble and recognise that we don't have all the answers. We can share our experiences and vulnerabilities as people who love Jesus and seek to follow him whilst recognising that we're all journeying together and there's much to learn.

It's a context where people are 
  • Treated as an equal, not as an inferior
  • Accepted unconditionally, not judged
  • Provoked to reflect, not flattered or given false reassurance
  • Able to explore, not told to agree
  • Given freedom to decide, not coerced to conform
  • Able to work out what to do, not be handed a plan
As I've returned to student ministry I have been overwhelmed by how many students are genuinely interested in Jesus and willing to explore spirituality. It's a real privilege to have deepening friendships with students from so many different backgrounds and to be able to share with them the light of Christ.

We love to welcome new people to Student Life, so if you fancy getting a taste for what it's all about, come along to one of our Hubs at Escape on the first floor of Northumbria Union from 6 - 8pm every Thurs (during termtime).

In : Ministry 

Tags: ministry mission evangelism 


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