Pull. by b.inspired on Flickr
Have you ever gotten to a door at the mall, pushed and pushed to try and go through… only to discover it’s a “pull”? It’s hard to recover from that gracefully – even if no one else saw you!
When it comes to evangelism, sharing the Gospel, many of us have had bad “push” experiences. A relative who tried to impose a certain belief with a heavy hand, a stranger who spoke judgmentally, an event that put the pressure on. Perhaps you’ve even been the push-er and felt uncomfortable and forced as you tried to do something that didn’t seem to come naturally.
There may be times and places where a “push” is the right approach but certainly not every time. I’d venture to say that most of the time for most people, “pull” is the right approach to sharing about Jesus Christ.
What does this mean? It means we let people ask us about what they are seeing and hearing in our lives, then respond. It also means that people are engaged based on their own interest. We allow Christ to draw and pull towards Himself by His Holy Spirit and we work in cooperation with that.
This is what the apostle Peter was commending in one of his letters:
1 Peter 3:15, NIV – “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”
A word of caution: this is not simply passive, and it doesn’t let us off the hook for taking action. Rather, it requires a kind of “Gospel intentionality” and suggests three things:
- We are actively living in a way that is different, a way that shows Christ is leading our lives.
- We are allowing people into our lives in a way that is open and vulnerable, close enough that they can see the goodness and grace of Christ (AKA the Gospel) and the difference He makes.
- We are always prepared to explain who Christ is and what He means to us.
Looking this list, which is most challenging for you?
In my experience, understanding the difference between push and pull changes my posture to one that is welcoming, gracious, and respectful (as Peter said). It helps me to feel like what I have truly is “good news”, news that I’m happy to share and people are wanting to hear!
Think of the people close to you that you wish knew Christ. Does the idea of push VS pull help you think about how you will relate to them in the future?