Len Sweet and some thoughts on “Evangelism”…

Below is a video that I watched a bit ago – Len Sweet is someone I’ve followed for a long time in my journey not only as a leader but also as a follower of Jesus.  I find his writings extremely exciting…he’s been used by the Spirit to shape many of the aspects of life and discipleship (disciple-making as well) over the past years.  This video gives you a snapshot of Len’s new book on Evangelism…now, I come to that topic with a “rich history” of all sorts of different “techniques” of doing evangelism.  But my heart and mind has been transformed over the years in this regard.  I don’t “do” anything in sharing Jesus with others…I simply try to find out what God is doing and join HIM there…I look for the fact that God is arranging Divine Appointments for me throughout my day…helping me see that there are relationship bridges that can be built…that God is already at work in the world and I attempt to do what Jesus did…join God is HIS mission of love, power and grace in the context of the world and story that He is writing in and through my life.  That’s a different perspective friends…that’s a shifted paradigm…so I would encourage you to take a peek at the video.  Then think about your life as a disciple…you live the mission of God…you join God in what He is already doing through His Holy Spirit in the lives of people you meet. 

By the way, here’s what my SoCal friend Spencer wrote about the video that he produced in this regard…it is a helpful intro to the video as well:

Leonard Sweet calls us to make an impression—a God impression—a nudge, a dent on everyone we meet. But how we do that is to listen to discern what the Spirit is already doing, and to nudge that person toward understanding that God is working in their life. And by doing so, by recognizing and naming those nudges, we are nudged as well. We discover incredible ways that God is working all around us. We observe His creativity and imagination in all our senses—hearing, tasting, seeing, touching, smelling.

The subtitle of Nudge is “Awakening each other to the God who is already there.” Every person you meet is a divine appointment, says Leonard Sweet as he talks about his new book, Nudge, with Spencer Burke, host of ThinkFWD. The overarching premise is that we don’t “take” Jesus anywhere, but that wherever we go, God is already there and our job is to find out what He’s doing and join in.

This thinking takes a different approach to evangelism. Rather than thinking of evangelism and discipleship as two distinct “tasks” of followers of Christ, Sweet suggests that they are bound together. Whereas in the past, evangelism was touted as “go and tell,” Sweet says we need to “shut up and listen.” Our role is not to come into a situation and tell our story, but rather to listen, to hear, to study what is happening in another person’s life, or in the community we are in. By doing this, we are recognizing that God is already there and we are following His lead. Sweet quotes John Wesley’s life-changing words, “Go and see the poor in their hovels, for Jesus is already there and He will be with you.”

Very likely, it was not just one person that helped nudge you in your journey to faith in God, but it was many people’s influence in your life. Many impressions that moved you to faith in God. And this is the part we can play for each other, awakening each other to God who is already at work all around us.

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