I want to talk about evangelism: how we typically think the wrong way about it, and how to think about it differently. But first I need to tell you something about my coffee maker.
I heard it just the other day listening to a podcast. The pastor said, “We have to do both love and truth. We can’t just be loving… we also have to be truthful.”
My proposal is simple: let’s stop saying this entirely. Let’s stop trying to balance love and truth. It’s problematic on several levels.
We are invited daily into opportunities to trust God’s leading. Sometimes those opportunities are big, like choosing a college or leaving behind a job and other times they seem small, like helping someone to the car with their groceries and offering to pray for them before they drive away (which isn’t small by the way).
When it comes to discipleship, one of the assumptions many people make is that we’re talking about one-on-one meetings over coffee, but I think discipleship is better done in groups, where several people gather to meet with a leader to walk through the discipleship process.
In a previous post, we talked about two pitfalls of leadership: Top-down, hierarchical leadership and Bottom-up, flat leadership. Each exists in an imaginative construct on opposite ends of a binary. Each sees power as a zero-sum game, a scarce resource either to hoard or disown.
In this unhelpful paradigm, power is abusive. We must limit it (checks and balances in top-down leadership) or actively work to mitigate against it (no one is in charge in bottom-up leadership).
One of the simplest instructions Jesus gave his disciples came during the last supper before his crucifixion:
“You are not to be like that.”