I have a couple friends who have different ideas of Jesus. They have been influenced by the extreme stories of people who did awful things in the name of their version of Christianity. However, they all also have been personally wounded by Christians who were trying to change their minds on topics, but more damage was done than good through the personal attacks and harsh presentation of gospel truths.
As I go through life with my friends, I am reminded that no one was ever argued to salvation and life change. It took a heart shift. So how do we assist people in this slow process of heart transformation? Unfortunately, too many people have been hurt by argumentative and callous approaches to convince them of how wrong or bad they are.
There are major wounds in the lives of my friends, and I can see so vividly how Jesus could heal those things and provide the peace she needed. However, they are not comfortable with the idea of God yet. We live in a different world than the days of Moody where now it is more common to begin with the belief that God does not exist.
Where to begin?
Where do you begin to share the gospel? It is too much to jump through all the hoops of political correctness, skirt around old wounds, and find terminology that makes sense in today’s culture. Jesus did not teach like that either. He was more concerned with a message and method that would permeate people’s hearts.
One of the most effective methods we have to begin getting into the layers of people’s hearts in today’s age is music. Think about it. Look at most people, and you will see some form of earphones and electronic device in hand. Music has had a way through all of time of touching the soul. I think God delights as well to do new things, to make use of what is available. If Jesus had chosen to come to earth at this time, I can bet you that He would not be walking around in a robe, sandals, and riding a donkey. He would be involved in with people, telling parables in the context of today’s society, making use of the options we have.
Music: sowing the seeds
So why music? What we dwell on and constantly hear begins to shape our own attitudes. I started encouraging one of my friends to listen to a Christian radio station. The goal was not to be pushy, but I pointed out that the very negative music she tended to dwell on probably did not help her struggles with depression and insecurity. I told her she did not have to believe all the lyrics, just start getting something different in her head. Already, she has shown a marked difference. Letting words of peace and life settle down into her soul starts to sweep away some of the heavy hand of darkness.
I know music is not the complete answer, but part of the joy and challenge of evangelism today is to put all our resources to good use. D.L. Moody made a difference by incorporating music into the meetings he led, and we can use the way music is available today to reach people for Christ. Find a good worship playlist on YouTube or Spotify, and encourage a friend to commit with you to listen to that music for 2 weeks, as opposed to secular radio.
As we allow gospel truth to soak into others’ lives, it may soften their hearts so at a ripe time, you can speak truth and action more clearly. God knows the timing for each heart, of course, and we must be sensitive to this, but why not go ahead and start taking the steps to prepare the ground for the harvest! We have to sow seeds or there never will be any plant to harvest.