Sharing the Jesus Invitation
by Jake Kirchner, former Connections Pastor
I invited a new friend to our Conversations Outside the Lines gathering a few months ago, because the event seemed like a good fit. But over our BBQ lunch, he told me that he could not even imagine stepping foot in a church building. He then shared with me the pains of disconnection and loneliness he had been feeling, and how being “forced” to interact with others he didn’t even really know—let alone having conversations about spiritual matters—caused anxiety. He appreciated the invite, but it wasn’t for him.
So what did I do? I didn’t invite him to Easter services. I did what I try to do in every relationship I have, regardless of spiritual status: I practiced being present. In essence, I put the BOLD relational practices found in this issue of CPC Life into practice. I shared some of my own story based on the questions he was asking. I invited him back out for lunch in a few weeks. And since then, I’ve been praying. Praying for his loneliness, but also praying that God would make it clear how He wants me to respond.
As followers of Jesus we are called to tell others about our faith. Too often, though, we don’t look to Jesus as the source and example of how to do that.
You don’t have to have a degree in theology or a certificate in evangelism to participate in communicating the Good News about Jesus. Jesus didn’t just show us what the Good News of the Kingdom is—He showed us how to go about proclaiming it. Following Jesus’ example of dependency on the Father, inclusion towards outsiders, discernment through presence, and vulnerability in sharing His story serves as an example for us.
Maybe it still sounds intimidating, but the practices take practice. They are tools that can be used by anyone in any situation—and the more you use them, the more effective those tools become. You will also discover that engaging with these relational practices will stretch your faith, increase your compassion for those distant and disconnected from God, and increase your capacity to love others well.
Some more good news: The pressure to get people to believe in Jesus doesn’t rest on you (or me). These tools are practical ways of displaying the values we have as a church—values birthed out of our vision and reflective of the Jesus Invitation. Start today or bring new intentionality and enthusiasm to practices you already do.
Let’s jump in together!
Jake Kirchner joined Christ Presbyterian Church as Connections Pastor in 2016. His goal is to welcome people interested in growing closer to God and finding a church community and help them get connected. Prior to joining CPC, he was a pastor at Westline Church in Illinois. He earned his master’s degree in missional church movements from Wheaton College.