I was walking around on campus at Texas A&M today and it’s obviously no secret that the Christian bubble reigns supreme in these parts, with the t-shirts and the cafeteria cliques and the screaming preachers that post up on campus. The reality is, the Bible belt is still on nice and tight in east Texas.
As I walked around the Memorial Student Center, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation as I walked past a group of girls in the hallway.
“I just don’t want to lose my witness by inviting them to Breakaway [an on-campus Bible study] on Tuesday and then saying, ‘Hey come to The Tap [a local bar/grill] with us on Wednesday for piano bar!'”
What have we done?
Now don’t get me wrong, I have friends on staff at Breakaway and I love much of what they do. This isn’t a post about Breakaway.
Somewhere along the line in the rise of white evangelicalism in America, we’ve forgotten that the invitation we are commanded to give lost people isn’t first an invitation to church or Bible study. If that winds up happening then fantastic! But it’s not T.A’s job to share the gospel with your lost friends. It’s not Matt Chandler’s job to invite your lost friends into the Kingdom of God. It’s not your local pastor’s job to know which parts of the gospel your friends don’t believe.
It’s your job.
And somewhere along the way the Church has greatly cheapened the buy-in of following Jesus to “Hey just invite them to church and God might save them without you having to share the gospel with them”. And trust me, I’m well aware that the Lord has saved probably tens of thousands of lost people in spite of Christians copping out of their commission. But the Lord has also probably saved thousands of people who hear a false gospel every week at Lakewood Church in Houston, so does that make it acceptable to preach the prosperity gospel? By no means!
So I write this piece to the Church, specifically the Bible-belted American Church — and let me be clear, I greatly include myself in the audience for this piece.
Why don’t we stop avoiding spending time with lost people in their spaces? Let’s not forget that Jesus was called a glutton and a drunkard by church people for a reason.
Why don’t we lay off inviting people to church before we invite them into the Kingdom? The goal of the early church wasn’t to save people to church; it was to save people to life.
Why don’t we put more focus on lost people intimately knowing the love of God instead of hiding behind superficial and hyper-comfortable non-conversations? At some point demonstrating the Gospel is not going to suffice. You’ve gotta use words, too.
Instead of having an internal “moral” crisis about whether to invite someone to Breakaway or The Tap, why don’t we skip Breakaway and go buy a drink at The Tap and sit and figure out what holes are in our friend’s gospel that we can engage and fill in?
If you’re a believer, then you’re more than equipped just as you are to share the Gospel. You don’t need to “know more” about the Bible before you do anything. You don’t need to get the “lingo” down before you do anything.
The Kingdom of God is advancing with or without you. So Church, let’s get back to work and see lost people become sons and daughters of the Creator of the universe. It’s gonna be worth it, I can 100% promise.