Amphibious Christians Make The Best Contemporary Evangelists
Conversational Evangelism Series: Part 6
Todd Hunter, Board Member and Consultant, Alpha USA, and noted speaker on evangelism and culture writes:
To be amphibious means to have to ability to combine two characteristics. Think of animals that are equally comfortable in and out of water, for example. Amphibious Christians are well suited to evangelism today because helping a friend come to faith requires the ability to dive into that friend’s world, to closely interact with a co-worker or neighbor, to engage in honest and deep conversation without losing all values, truth, faith, confidence, etc.
Such people have the capacity to live uncompromising lives in harmony with both churched and non-churched colleagues. They are able to live at ease in two worlds. They peacefully follow the incarnational model of Jesus who was in the world, but not of it. Jesus was able to be a fully participatory member of his community. It was precisely within the routines of his normal human life that he “only did and spoke as the Father directed” (John 5).
Jesus invites us into exactly that same kind of life. Not that we would try to live his life—he already did that. His invitation is that we, through the direction and power of the Holy Spirit, would live our normal lives as he would live them if he were in our place.
Jesus could have worked on Wall Street, Madison Avenue, a school, a construction site, etc. None of those contexts would have slowed him down a bit, nor interfered with his Son-Father relationship.
Here is Jesus-centered, Spirit-enabled vision for effective, peace-filled contemporary evangelism through amphibious living.
"The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I'm not keeping it to myself; I'm ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen.Imagine that: Jesus is inviting his followers into the very intimacies of the Trinity. He is willing to show anyone willing to learn how to live Father-child amphibious living—the way he did it.
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." Matthew 11:28-30, The Message
He says such a life can be lived in “the rhythms of grace”. This means such a life does not need to be forced, over-religious, striving. In fact, he says such a life is free and light. It is the good life.
“Todd”, you may say, “this is all cool, but connect the dots to evangelism.”
Okay, here is how they connect: seekers crave people who can meet them on their terms. It takes truly amphibious Christians to do that. Seekers want to see that our relationship to God “works”. Translated that means “are you a better person because you are a follower of Jesus”. Most seekers today are not seeking because they are worried about going to hell.
Maybe they should be, but their real felt need is a worry about this life. They know life stinks around most of the world for various reasons. They don’t just have in mind systemic evil like poverty, gender inequality, and global destruction. They are thinking of their unjust boss, unloving kids and unfaithful spouse. They want to find a way to do life. They are searching for a Master to follow for life. They suspect that if there is a God as we say that he might have the keys to “the good life”. We of course say: “Yes! He does. They are the keys to the Kingdom and they have been given to all who trust and follow Jesus.”
Amphibious, authentic, generously-spirited Christians in an Alpha group are really refreshing and hope-giving to seekers.