“Winning the brother or sister isn’t – in the perspective of St Antony – a matter of getting them signed up to something, getting them on your side, but opening doors for them to God’s healing. If you open such doors, you ‘win’ God, because you become a place where God ‘happens’ for someone else, where God comes to life for someone in a new and life-giving way – not because you are good and wonderful but because you have allowed the wonder and goodness of God to appear (and you may have no idea how).”

Rowan Williams, Silence and Honey Cakes – The wisdom of the desert, pp. 104-105

The Eleven were sent off to make disciples of all nations. Not converts. Not “Christians”, not in the way the word is seen in today’s secular world.

Disciple-making is not about:

  • simply handing out leaflets or distributing bibles
  • hammering God into every conversation until you get a Yes or ruin a relationship
  • convincing others that our beliefs are true and simply going through a description of sin, penal substitution, grace and salvation.

And of course, that’s not what we do, not what we want to do. What we aspire to do is to build relationships with the people we talk to and, indeed, “open doors for them to God’s healing”. We want to restore that actual relationship with God, through us. And that has to be relational, so it’s not simply about getting more people to reach the same decision as you. But then…

  • why do we judge the success of an evangelistic event by the number of people who “became Christians” there and then?
  • why is the heart of visible evangelism event-based? (talks, debates, books, street evangelism, …)

And much, much more importantly… what are our motives when we pray for people to “become Christians”?