Michael Spencer wrote a provocative post on evangelism today. While he is specifically addressing the implications of evangelism and conversion with students, particularly international students from non-christian cultures, I think the post has implications for all levels of discipleship.
I couldn't help but be reminded, of the story Donald Miller tells (I think in his Free-Market Jesus talk?) about the girl who tried to "witness" to him in Portland. She had come with her youth group to Portland, and approached him in a public square. She had no idea who he was, and he didn't bother to let her know. He simply responded to each of her canned questions with an offer to sit down with her, get to know her, have a cup of coffee. The poor child was completely confused.
What does it mean to bear witness to the gospel?
Do you know what it means in your own daily experience to follow Christ?
How do you share that meaning with those who do not have a relationship with him? Or, for that matter, how do you share that meaning with those who do have a relationship with him?
Is it enough to say "for God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He (even) gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life"?
What does it mean to believe?
How does this apply to life in the here and now? The only life we're aware of at the moment we make the "decision"?
What if your theology doesn't hold that whoever believes has been "chosen"? Or, that true orthodoxy doesn't put quite so much emphasis on Christ... or Love... or willful belief?
What comes after belief? And how much do you share up front?
How much is enough to count the true cost, and not so much as to scare away?
How was the Spirit revealed to you?
How much did you know up front?
How much are you still learning?
How much of a risk was faith for you?
How much of yourself are you willing to risk for those who risk all in conversion?