We all learned it in Kindergarten: show and tell. We would bring something special into class, and subsequently share why it was important to us. Which is why the practice was generally known as “show and tell.”
Generally speaking, we seem–by and large–to have gotten this quite backwards in the American Evangelical church. We “tell” first–and then maybe show if we get around to it.
Like so many others, we who call ourselves Christians are busy, overcommitted to the point we’re not willing to slow down enough to care.
We go about telling people what Jesus should mean to them–instead of showing them what He means to us. There is a vast gulf betwixt those two. Allow me to ask this: who among you likes to be told what to believe?
The difference there lies in-between compulsion and expression.
(Another pitfall we often stumble into is being witnesses for our own brand of Christianity–rather than just sharing Christ. We confuse our convictions for the faith once delivered to the saints).
And then wonder why our efforts are rebuffed, why the church seems to be growing more and more irrelevant.
We fail to recognize that, in a postmodern, post-christian, society what people are looking for is:
We need to go back to that place of show first, tell later–like we all learned to do so long ago. Show people what Jesus means, connect with them via sharing our stories.
Remember, we’re not Jesus’ Mad Men–we’re not out to sell anyone a bill of goods (because nobody wants to feel like they’re getting the song and dance).
We’re out to change the world. One life at a time.
Admittedly, this could get messy.
It means there will likely be a lot of listening. Because before we can get to the place where we have a platform to share, people want to know that we care. And this usually means listening to their stories. (Believe me: there is power in shared story).
This may involve hearing things that we don’t necessarily want to hear.
We may, like Jesus Himself, be accused of being the friends of sinners, of having demons, of being winebibbers, and gluttons.
We will certainly be misunderstood.
But’s that okay: we are in good company:
“For so persecuted they the prophets which were before.”
What do you think? How do you share Jesus effectively? Do you employ “Kindergarten Theology?”