Recently as I have been reading, talking, listening, and engaging with others about effective witnessing to non-Christians I have been coming back to two ideas from 1 Corinthians 1 that we need to continually call the body of Christ to have a spirit of unity and to allow Jesus to be the only stumbling block for people to accepting the gospel. I think the reason these lessons are coming forward when I talk with others and think about them is because they are connected.
Unity in the church from a youth ministry perspective could look like connecting the generations with one another so that they are a witness to the new people who walk into our churches that we do reflect a love for people of all ages, rather than only valuing and focusing on families with children. We also must work on continuing to help our students serve and pray with and for the whole local church.
The second idea, that Christ could be the only stumbling block for people to accept the gospel is very difficult because we are in a spiritual battle. Truth claims always spark controversy and objection, especially claims about Jesus’ life and divinity. Though, I don’t think that often the stumbling block that people see when they interact with Christians is Jesus; I think that the stumbling block is the individual or group of people who are Christ-followers. This might be reflective of how we as Christians communicate our politics, morals, and feelings about the world around us. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t voice our thoughts and convictions, but that we should always attempt to be full of grace in these discussions and remember that people are watching us, especially when we give ourselves the label “Christian.” I especially notice when people post articles or opinions on Facebook how heated and seemingly contentious these posts can get. I also recognize that some people will reject whatever you say no matter how lovingly or gracefully you present it. In those cases I would encourage you to pray that God would touch their hearts and bring them to know him.
In all, I am personally striving in my own life to think more about how I can continue to keep the main thing (Jesus and his gospel) the main thing! I also want to try to make more intentional relationships with people in my church so that I can do better at loving and bringing unity in the church.