When it comes to reaching people with the Gospel, “Let’s try something different” isn’t a bad motto. Too often churches and individual Christians stick with worn-out approaches to speak to people who weren’t reached by that same strategy the last time around. Our biblical message should never change, but our ways of communicating it must. Wise innovation and effective evangelism go hand in hand. Before we get too hung up on redeploying the old, we should consider what it means to genuinely follow the one who said, “Look, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:5 NLT)
The apostle Paul said: “I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the Gospel, that I may share in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23 TNIV).
Note that Paul was very clear about his goal to win everyone possible to faith in Christ. There was no ambiguity about what he was trying to accomplish, nor was there with Jesus, who said He came “to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:10)
We need to embark on each day with the Lord with that same kind of clarity. Our goal should always be to lovingly communicate the Gospel to our family, friends, and others through our actions and words, in ways God can use to draw them to Christ. It’s never about manipulating someone to do something but rather winsomely encouraging folks to consider the forgiveness, friendship and guidance God so graciously offers.
Once we are clear on the mission, God gives us a lot of latitude about how to accomplish it. The instructions are basically this: stay within God’s biblical and moral parameters, seek His wisdom and guidance, act in love, and do everything you can to reach people for Him.
So innovate. Experiment. Stretch yourself. Move outside your comfort zone. Try, fall down, get up, and try again. Find approaches that connect and use them as often as you can. Like Paul, we need to “become all things to all people so that by all possible means (we, with God’s help) might save some.”