I often hear Christian leaders talk about evangelism as inviting non-Christians to join us where we are, to adopt our ‘lifestyle’ and/or our beliefs. I think there’s a serious problem with that sort of thinking. There is no arrival point at which we are only doing kingdom work and not also doing internal work. Remember, Jesus was referring to very religious people when he told them to take the log out of their own eye before trying to help someone with a speck in theirs. We can easily get to a place where we stop hearing the call of the Spirit, stop feeling the Spirit’s pull deeper into personal holiness. That often happens when we are in leadership and that is a bad and dangerous thing. Christian leadership isn’t inviting others to a destination we think we’ve made, it is inviting others onto a journey we are on. This is what Paul means when he wrote:
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. (Phil. 3.12)
One of the best ways to invite others on the journey is to be open and honest with where we are on the journey, especially our own struggles. This requires a vulnerability that many Christian leaders try hard to avoid but it’s exactly what we see from our New Testament examples. Paul, Peter, and the rest aren’t people who have arrived, they are all working projects. Given the popularity of all those HGTV shows, I think people gravitate to things and people who are in process and willing to be honest about it. This is a better way to think about our faith and how to share it.