Dialoging About Jesus: Five Approaches

By now, I am confident that most of you have heard all about our postmodern culture and its impact on how people process information.

So I ask, what do you get when you cross a postmodernist with the mafia? You get an offer you cannot understand! Yea, go ahead and groan.

Yet, the challenge of sharing Jesus; of dialoging his message; of effectively bringing him into a conversation remains ever present in a culture influenced by postmodernism. What is the best way to do it? Here are five approaches:

  • The silent treatment. Not an approach really. We just say nothing. Maybe it is out of the intimidation factor. Maybe we are unsure what to say. Maybe we never feel compelled to include Jesus in the dialog. This may be a safe and totally non-confrontative approach, but it accomplishes nothing in terms of sharing the kingdom alternatives of Christ.
  • I miss Mayberry. We can go all nostalgic in our approach and talk about the good ole days when people respected truth and reason and chide folks now-a-days for their wishy-washy ways, but this approach isn’t going to help anyone.
  • It says what it means and it means what it says. We are talking about dialog here and that approach ends it before starts. There is not much traction at all to this approach anymore.
  • I’m okay; your’e okay. This allows for too much. Christ’s teaching are very distinctive. He calls us to discipleship– to model the values of his kingdom. It is an enlightening and transformational process. Therefore, it will at times also be confrontational.
  • “Speaking the truth in love”- Ephesians 4:15. I call this the Jesus model. It is dialog without divisive debate. It is compassion without compromise. It is saturated with his “grace and truth” (John 1:14). It is not judgmental, but does invite self-evaluation. It does not hesitate to engage, but never dominates or intimidates. Neither is it intimidated by opposition. It is verified by the transparency of faith lived out. It is not easy, but it is the best way to dialog about Jesus–to share his wonderful words of life to an increasingly skeptical audience.

There is an additional component to add when dialoging about Jesus.

Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. – James 1:19

Thoughts?

 

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4 Responses to Dialoging About Jesus: Five Approaches

  1. David Jeffcoat says:

    Excellent article. The summary of the various approaches we take in dealing with our culture is right on; I’ve used them all at one time or another. This article is great encouragement to use the Jesus model.

  2. Chris Travis says:

    Great article. It seems like I have been discussing this topic a lot lately, which is a good thing. The last verse is really the issue that I think causes people problems. When we are having a conversation with someone who might have a different belief we are quick to tell them why they are wrong without even really listening to them. I have found that when we listen to people that “we think” have a different perspective we really have more in common than we think. Once those walls are broken down and you find common ground that opens up the opportunity to have a conversation, in love, on matters that you might disagree on.

    My hope is that believers can find a way to share Jesus with those who don’t know Him not only with their words, but also with their actions.

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