We Need You More Than You Need Us

Posted: July 15, 2009 by Matt Horan in ReEmergent Church
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

By Matt Horanwelcome forest

            Evangelism is terrifying sometimes, isn’t it?  You’re basically approaching someone wit the message, “The way you are isn’t quite enough.  You need Jesus.”  Unless you’re one of those annoying bullhorn people, who wants to say that?
          How about this one: “You know what I need?”  What does that do for you?  If someone leads with that, I confess that I might brace myself for some inconvenience in case they’re about to ask me for something; but more than likely, I’m going to listen intently, because they’re about to share their own exposed heart. 
Gary Smalley writes about five different levels of increasingly intimate conversation.  The first level is the cliché.  “How are you?”  “Fine, thanks.  You?”
            The second level is sharing facts.  “It’s pretty cold today.”  “Great game yesterday.”  “Lotta traffic out there this morning.”
            The third level is sharing opinions.  “I think the Dow’s going to go up huge today.”  “I think the governor’s going to have a tough time getting reelected.”
            The fourth level is sharing feelings.  “I feel disappointed that I didn’t get a promotion.”  “I feel nervous about this presentation I’m giving tomorrow.
            The fifth and most intimate level of sharing is to express our needs.  This exposes the areas in which we lack—the areas where we can’t succeed without something or someone outside of ourselves.  It is an admitting of imperfection.  “I need your help.”  “I need more time.”  “I need a vacation.” 
While each level communicates different information, each also displays a deepening level of trust.  Entrusting another with our needs or fears or weaknesses communicates more than just information—it says, “You’re included in the deep parts of my life.”  It says, “Something about you has led me to decide to offer you my trust.”  We can flatter others with kind words, but there is no greater compliment to a person than an act that demonstrates that we find them trustworthy.
            Next time you invite someone to church, what if you didn’t focus on their need to be there.  The church is about the business of restoring the world to the way it was supposed to be before the fall.  It’s a job that is too big for us.  If we’re to wipe out the blotches that sit upon God’s Creation—AIDS, poverty, child abuse, racism, homelessness, war, addiction, crime, greed—we’ll need some help. 
Perhaps the most powerful message of invitation might be, “If you need the church, it is here for you.  In the meantime, the church has a bigger job than it can currently handle.  We really need someone like you.”

  1. Richard says:

    What about you not at first inviting them to church, but taking the personal responsibility of sharing Jesus with them?
    Just a challenge brother.


  2. Kristy Harding says:

    Great post!

    Of course, communication is a two-way street. Deep communication involves the church saying, “We have these needs,” but it also means listening to the needs of the world–and not just abstract people out there, but the people in our own neighborhoods and our own pews.


  3. Matt Horan says:

    Hey Richard, thanks for visiting. Your challenge is a helpful one.

    Christ offers us not just believing something new, but a whole new life. In my experience many people have come to faith and new life by first feeling like they belong among the believers, serving alongside them as they make the kingdom “come on earth as it is in heaven.”

    The Gospel is offered–and recieved–in a variety of ways. The people who give you the “no thanks” to your tracts can still be reached, just perhaps in a different way!


  4. stratton says:

    “The church is about the business of restoring the world to the way it was supposed to be before the fall.”

    Love this, and there is a sense of inner restoration too – God is restoring us to the people he intended us to be. So sharing that is less about what you are missing and instead about who you really already are. So, maybe “we need you to be who you really are?” Is that offensive?


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s