As a retired pastor, and a man of faith, I have my own views on religion and spirituality; but I'm open to the views of others as well, in a spirit of openness and genuine interest. I'm not out to convert them except by example, and I trust they'll approach me with equal respect. We can learn a lot from each other.
In that light, a recent article by Carl Medearis offered an interesting approach to evangelization. Here's an excerpt.
Jesus was the master of challenging religious prejudice and breaking down sectarian walls. Why do so many Christians want to rebuild those walls?
Even the Apostle Paul insisted that it’s faith in Jesus that matters, not converting to a new religion or a new socio-religious identity.
What if evangelicals today, instead of focusing on “evangelizing” and “converting” people, were to begin to think of Jesus not as starting a new religion, but as the central figure of a movement that transcends religious distinctions and identities?
Jesus the uniter of humanity, not Jesus the divider. How might that change the way we look at others?
. . .
Jesus never said, “Go into the world and convert people to Christianity.” What he said was, “Go and make disciples of all nations.”
Encouraging anyone and everyone to become an apprentice of Jesus, without manipulation, is a more open, dynamic and relational way of helping people who want to become more like Jesus — regardless of their religious identity.
. . .
I believe that doctrine is important, but it’s not more important than following Jesus.
Jesus met people where they were. Instead of trying to figure out who’s “in” and who’s “out,” why don’t we simply invite people to follow Jesus — and let Jesus run his kingdom?
Inviting people to love, trust, and follow Jesus is something the world can live with. And since evangelicals like to say that it’s not about religion, but rather a personal relationship with Jesus, perhaps we should practice what we preach.
There's more at the link. Thought-provoking reading for people of faith. I don't agree with all Mr. Medearis' views, but I applaud him for thinking outside the usual evangelical box.