“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” 1 Peter 3:15
Jesus is the answer, but what is the question? I am not being tricky in asking. It is simply an observation people have different motives for following Jesus. You hear it in our stories of faith. People have found in Jesus belonging, others healing, others intimacy, others proof.
There are multiple reasons why Jesus is the answer for the world today. Hence it is important to listen for the key life questions a person or society has. As I listen I haven’t found many concerned with their eternal destiny. People with some religious background might have a sense of being a sinner, but many don’t. A sense of shame seems pervasive, people don’t feel good enough. In our connected world, ‘where do I belong’ remains a profound question. I have met people looking for moral foundations as they observe secularism treating people so poorly. How is Jesus the answer to these questions? Evangelism was the primary focus of my first ministry role. To sharpen me, I would regularly write down seven words and reflect on how knowing Jesus helps me answer questions of sin, shame, identity, belonging, purpose, proof, future.
When sharing with people I take a posture of listening for the deeper life questions. I look for an opportunity to share how Jesus is their answer, in a way that hopefully makes sense to them. I understand not all of us are gifted as evangelists, but we can prepare and position ourselves to be ready and able. After all, while not gifted, we may be the only evangelist the person in front of us has.