Posted by Stephen Venable

This was a series of intentionally open-ended questions I recently posed to a group of students in the ACTS school about the importance of the knowledge of Jesus. My goal was  simply to cause them to reflect on the subject of His supremacy in their own Christian experience, and how that can shape their missionary efforts:

Has the primary focus of what is now called “the gospel” shifted from being about Jesus to being about what Jesus will do for people? Has the basis of conversion shifted from believing truths about  who Jesus is to merely believing things that He will do for someone?   How can you avoid this in your preaching/sharing?

In all of your Christian experience, how many times have you heard a sermon where over 90% of the time is devoted to beholding some facet of who Jesus is? If you are like many, that number could be totaled using your fingers on one hand. How does this make you feel? Why do you think Jesus is so rarely talked about?

At most evangelical seminaries, potential pastors are exposed to roughly double the volume of Christology you will receive this week [roughly 12 hours] in their entire three years of training. How do you think this is possible?

When people leave the church or convert to another faith, their testimonies reveal that it almost never has anything to do with a reconsidering of the identity of Jesus. What does this reveal about how they were converted to Christianity? Were they ever actually saved? How can you avoid this in future converts through your ministry?

If a conference was advertised as focusing exclusively on various truths about Jesus, few would attend. If a conference was advertised releasing people into spiritual gifts and miracles it would be full. Why is this so?

If you were in your destination country and a Muslim man or woman asked you to have tea with them and tell them about Jesus’ life, how long do you think you could actually talk to them about it? If after ten minutes you ran out of things to say about the story of His life, would they be right to question your sincerity and the power of your message about Jesus?

A number of years ago a European newspaper columnist drew a cartoon depicting the prophet of Islam in a somewhat negative light. This caused the entire Muslim world to explode with violent anger and seek to kill the man. When that world observes Christians watching movies for entertainment that use the name of Jesus as an expletive, are they not right to question our claim of His worthiness to be worshipped and our loyalty to His name?

Do you think the way you have witnessed Jesus presented in the Western Church would cause people to sacrifice their lives for His name on foreign soil with no recognition or applause? What do you know about Him that will sustain you in Your commitment to do this? 


3 Responses to Finding Jesus in Ministry and Mission

  1. Ryan Couch says:

    Fantastic questions Stephen – though they cut to the heart. Would love it if you’d care to post some of the edifying answers you receive.

  2. Ryan Couch says:

    Considering Question #1 – take a look at this recent article by a prominent evangelical leader called “Tired of Hearing ‘the Gospel'” posted (ironically) on Gospel Coalition’s website.

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabitianyabwile/2012/08/24/im-tired-of-hearing-the-gospel-warning-mild-rant/

  3. Luke Cooper says:

    I’m in pain over the 2nd paragraph questions. I don’t want my preaching to be like this, Lord mark my heart.

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