Do you remember the A-team? ‘If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team’. The plot was always the same: person is in trouble, they call the A-team, A-team appear and help, something goes wrong and A-team end up locked up somewhere with lots of convenient scrap metal that they can make something out of, A-team escape and defeat bad guys, person is saved and A-team leaves. It’s so exciting to have the A-team around, but the problem is that they don’t stay around.
In the past a lot of Christian Evangelism has been based on an A-team model. Go into the world, tell people about God then leave/retreat/escape (please delete as appropriate). In contrast, God’s plan to save the world involved sending his son Jesus. Jesus became flesh and lived amongst us (John 1.14) rather than just being available by appointment or at special evangelistic meetings. Like an undercover boss, he came amongst ordinary people. Jesus came that we might see God’s glory, kindness and truth and these things were revealed as he lived amongst us. The Jesus model is more Stay-team than A-team.
Life today is incredibly hard and complex and there are people in the world who need to hear about and receive the love of God. When we come out of our churches and tell people about Jesus and then run away (preach and run) does that really represent the real Jesus who was known as the friend of sinners? Do we really want to be like Jesus, living in the real world so that we can bring his light, love and hope or would we rather revert to the A-team model of evangelism?
My friend Nick talks a lot (and I mean a lot) about being a free sample of Jesus. I find the phrase helpful in considering how I believe that God wants us to be honest about our faith in the real world each and every day. Here is a link to his explanation of what a free sample of Jesus is.
May those of us who follow Jesus choose to become a Stay-team and not an A-team. Don’t worry, you can still love it when the plan comes together.