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How do we reach the lost? Is evangelism more of the way we live instead of which programs we’re implementing in the church?

If so, “How should we then live”?

That is a prevailing question these days. And there are folks all over the spectrum with their answers.

“We must be culturally relevant.”

“We must be set apart.”

The liberal Christians blame the conservatives for being too “narrow” to reach the lost. The conservatives blame the liberals for being, well, too liberal.

What’s the answer?

I have been thinking of some fundamental truths to the Christian life. Truths that are being squelched. Truths that need to be resurrected and relived among believers. Truths that would turn this world upside down for Jesus if we could get it. At least that’s my opinion ;-)

To draw people to God, we must be like Him. We must look like Him, talk like Him, act like Him and think like Him. Jesus did. He was “about His Father’s business” in every part of his life. So in order to accomplish that, we must know what God is like.

God is a God of order, beauty, grace, humility, faithfulness and creativity. How do those traits affect our living? Have we grossly underestimated the power of being “image-bearers” in our daily lives?


Our marriages are supposed to be the living, breathing example of Christ and the church. Ephesians goes into great detail about how this looks. God is faithful, our marriages should be faithful. Jesus doesn’t leave the church; we shouldn’t leave our spouse. Jesus is the head of the church, our husbands are to be head of the family. The church reveres Christ, the wife should revere her husband. Christ washes his bride with the Word, and so our husbands should wash us with the Word.

It is one of the most tragic, sickening, downright inexcusable blunders that pastors are not standing in their pulpits preaching this picture of marriage. Yes, he will offend those who have had divorces. But that’s not really his problem. How can we say to the world “Come look at us! We are the picture of Christ and his Bride.” And then have to explain why our divorce rate is just as high.


God loves children. I’m not going into a birth-control debate here, there’s plenty of that elsewhere on this blog. But the fundamental thing is that if God loves children, His people ought also to love them. I’m sick of hearing believers say things to me that is not compatible with what God says about children. If God is God, and He is sovereign, and He ordains life, and He calls children a blessing,  then I shouldn’t be required to explain my birth control practices to you if you are a Christian. I’m sorry, I’ve just had enough.


Here’s the thing…God is a God of order, beauty, grace, creativity, humility and design. Does my dress reflect that? If I am a woman, do I delight in exuding grace and beauty and modesty? That is really the call of the believer, and there is a lot of room for diversity there. Those characteristics transcend the latest trends, and are “culturally relevant” all the time.


“Whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men.” Whatever you do. John Piper said, “If you’re a Christian who digs ditches, dig straight ditches.” There should be an excellence about our work! We should work better, harder, more loyally, more cheerfully than anyone else.


Same as above. God has given us all unique abilities and gifts. How tragic if we do not use them for His glory! By the way, people often think “That means for those people who sing, they need to be singing solos in church”. Maybe, or maybe not. Let’s be careful to not confuse “performance” with “use” of our gifts. God isn’t interested in how well we perform for applause. Would I be just as content to let Him use my voice as I sing softly in the night to a sick baby? What are your gifts? Share them with others. With hurting others. With lost others. With your family. With your neighbors.


Start in your own family and work out. Forgiveness, kindness, courtesy, deference, humility and respect. If we are to show a world about God, we must live out these things in our private lives. For parents, it means raising obedient, respectful children who honor their parents. For spouses it means a loving, submissive, caring regard for each other. For siblings, it means cultivating relationships built on mutual respect.


Be given to hospitality. Invite folks into your home and feed them, and love them. Take a meal to someone who needs it. That’s it. And if you’re family bears the image of God, your home becomes a mission field. When they see order and beauty and grace and love, it looks different than the chaos of the world! And it’s enticing! And they crave to know about it!

I could keep going, but this post is already too long.

We don’t need to become like the culture to win them. We need only to be true image-bearers of the living God and the thirsty will throng around to have some of our Living Water.

“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven.”

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Narelle July 23, 2009 - 1:37 am

Amen on all counts!

Ann July 23, 2009 - 2:43 am

I know why I so enjoy reading your blog Kelly. It is because I have found someone like- minded, I agree wholeheartedly with every single point that is outlined in this post. Then why, I ask myself in all the years I have been a Christian have I only ever listened to one or two sermons that were devoted to the subject of marriage and family? It frustrates me no end that pastors avoid these subjects and I have to ask why? But be encouraged, there are families all over this world who are starting in their own families and working out… we are one of those families and we are known in our church and community for being a strong family. We continue with God’s help to live according to His Word and our joint desire is to be like Christ and bring honour and glory to His name!

Annette July 23, 2009 - 6:32 am

Right on the money.

Well stated 🙂

Mrs W July 23, 2009 - 9:55 am

I get tired of explaining a lot of this stuff too. It should be rather obvious to the saved.

Mrs. Hester July 23, 2009 - 10:31 am

Thank you for this. I say that alot, I think 🙂 I needed this.

Rachel Falaschi July 23, 2009 - 10:41 am

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today are christians. They acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”
DC Talk

Kelly L July 23, 2009 - 11:00 am

This is right on! On all accounts mentioned I will go through and ask God to show me what needs to reflect Him more in my family life. No matter how perfect I am ;), there is always a dingy part of the glass that needs a little cleaning up to more perfectly reflect Christ.
Thanks for the list of areas…it makes it easy to go through.
And I love/hate that DC Talk quote. It is sadly true.

aimai July 23, 2009 - 11:01 am

It seems to me that your desire to be a “light unto the world” by your example is somewhat in conflict with your insistence that everyone’s marriage can, or should, be a perfect emulation of christ’s relationship to the church. That is, you acknowledge that some people are in error–not in right relationship to god–and need to be brought closer to god. OK, fine. So, if they make a marriage in error before they understand god’s plan for them is that the right and only marriage they can have? Must they cleave to that marriage if it doesn’t work for them–if, for example, its brutal, degrading, abusive? Is the only right thing for “pastors” to do to lecture and hector those people to force them to stay in that marriage?

Because if coming to god is something people should do voluntarily, and if the right relationship to god is one that makes people happy, it seems counterintuitive, illogical, and somewhat weird to insist that you can get to that happy place through someone else scolding you, blaming you, lecturing you.

For example: your own marriage seems really nice and happy. You have a loving husband etc…etc…etc… Is it your belief that a woman married, say, to a serial killer, wife abuser, pedophile, etc…etc…etc… can only fulfil her dream to be “closer to god” and things like that by staying married to that man? Because your example of wifely devotion to a good man really isn’t convincing as to whether another woman needs to stay married to another kind of man.

I don’t think that living the christian lifestyle you espouse, even living it for the purpose of inducing others to follow your example, requires such a huge amount of hard heartedness towards other people’s experienes and realities. That is, this comes up again and again when you talk about how dissapointed you are with other religious people for not having the same attitude you do towards their pregnancies or their procreative duties. Just because you are happy with your choices does that make your choices more holy and in accordance with god’s plan than some other woman, or some other family’s choices? Given that we come into the world with varying health issues, varying finances, varying life interests–all, apparently, god given differences it doesn’t make sense to me to argue that there can be only one god given right way to getting right with god. Anymore than when I make a sweater for one person I insist that its ‘one size fits all’ or the recipient isn’t deserving of the gift.

I think god is big enough, and eternity long enough, that the failure of pastors to lecture people about staying in unhappy marriages is probably beside the point.


Kelly L July 23, 2009 - 11:19 am

I could only guess that this is your first time reading Kelly’s blog. She and her commentors have always mentioned that if someone or her children is being physically abused they should not stay. They should seperate themselves and seek help.
As far as being out of God’s will when you made a choice for a spouse, I submit this: God has a plan A for your life. Many of us do not choose it. But if we have alreaden chosen Plan B, F, S or even Z, God still has requirements for us in the plan we have chosen. We are still to honor our covenant. God takes covenants very seriously. We are still to honor God all the more, regardless of our decisions that were not made in His plan. We are told that Joy is a fruit of the spirit, not happiness. Joy is finding your happiness in God, Christ and Holy Spirit….not your circumstances. That is why the Bible says Joy comes in the morning. Because His mercies are new each day. It has nothing to do with our circumstances.
And God is big, eternity is long. But the Bible is very clear that God will hold Pastors and Teachers to a higher standard than the rest of the Body. They are given the awesome gift and responsibility to shepard the flock with all the truth that is to be imparted…not just some.
I am hoping this did not come off as an attack, but lovingly. THat is how it is meant.

Avaya July 23, 2009 - 12:47 pm

I mean no disrespect to you or the lifestyle you have chosen when I say the following:

As a non-Christian who believes in Christ (and some others Christians wouldn’t believe in) I would not be “saved” even if Christians began leading the life you want them to. Because while I admire qualities such as hospitality, grace and charity, there are others I do not want to make a part of my life, such as submission or having as many children as possible. It is hugely patronising to call non-Christians “lost.” Nonetheless, I agree that the best way a person can evangelise is to lead the life they want others to follow. Much better than going out as missionaries and demeaning other people’s cultures-which is precisely what some missionaries have done where I come from.

Congratulations on your new baby, she looks lovely.

Alisa July 23, 2009 - 5:54 pm

I am printing this out…I am also going to link from my blog. Very well said!!
Blessings Alisa

Kim from Canada July 23, 2009 - 11:13 pm

‘Must they cleave to that marriage if it doesn’t work for them -if, for example, its brutal, degrading, abusive?’

I wholeheartedly agree with Kelly L’s response to your comment – it is very positive and honest. I would add, in response to your question above, that too often women who come to Christ after entering an ungodly marriage choose the ‘easier’ route of leaving rather than ‘making’ the marriage work for them (I say easier with full respect that leaving can be hard, too – but still easier in the long run than changing the way they live out their roles as a wife).

And to reiterate Kelly L’s response – no one should stay in as situation of physical abuse, but that doesn’t automatically mean divorce and remarriage, does it?

Jess in Peru July 23, 2009 - 11:15 pm

Avaya’s comments got me thinking. A person can do ALL of these things and live this life, but still be desperately lost. It is only through faith in Christ, which would compel us to live set apart (which is what this blog is saying, I believe), that we can be saved. I see many people doing good deeds, working, having many children, homeschooling, etc… but it’s not always about Christ at all. I love how Paul says, “I have resolved to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” I do agree that our lifestyle HAS to be a an evangelistic tool that God uses mightily, but we also have to be the “hands and feet” that are sharing and spreading the good news with our mouths, time and energy with those who have not heard or don’t know. The good news of Jesus, in my opinion, has got to come out of our mouths. We have to be ready, as the Bible says, to give account of why we have this inexplicable hope -and that answer is Jesus! “We are His witnesses.” I don’t think we can just hope that someone will see a great family and say “gee, that must be about Jesus.” We have to let them know, from our lips, that because of what HE did for us on the cross, and God’s immeasurable grace, we are compelled to live differently.

Blessings to ALL!!

Kim from Canada July 23, 2009 - 11:18 pm


Believing Christ existed and being saved by Him is a distiction that leads born-again Christians to follow Him ‘in submission’. The role that was created for women, as well as giveing ourselves over to God’s will is part and parcel of being Christian. Picking and choosing the parts of the Bible to follow is part of being ‘lost’ to the world’s way.

I know sometimes a written comment can come across as preachy – that is not intended here. Just my thoughts when I read your comment. ;o)

LydiaCate July 24, 2009 - 12:28 am

I agree! Great and tough post! But you know what…God’s way is Not the world’s way. I believe following scripture is narrow, tough, and freeing! Our God loves us and wants us to experience his best
Thank you for posting truth!

Avaya July 24, 2009 - 7:33 am

Kim, thanks for entering into this in a spirit of dialogue-I know you are not being preachy 🙂

I am resolutely “lost,” I suppose. I don’t believe the Bible, or the Quran, or anything else is God’s word, though there are parts of the Bible I love deeply and that have guided me.

I will not go into my religious beliefs here, but there is something that those who want the whole world to be Christian-and a particular type of Christian at that-should realise. I present this as a plea.

Calling people “lost”, “heathen,” “pagan” in a disparaging manner, deriding their traditional practices, sermonising and using their “lips” as Jess mentioned, when specifically told that one does not want to be preached to, can be hugely off-putting and achieve the opposite result of what evangelists want, i.e. a deep hatred of anything Christian, leading in some cases to what I believe is called the “persecution of the church”.

Jess, this ties in with your comment-sometimes “sharing the good news” is an extremely aggressive act, which is why, though I don’t agree with Kelly about submission etc, I think the better way to win people over to your way of thinking is to lead your life by example. Thanks to you too, for being open to discussion.

Word Warrior July 24, 2009 - 7:51 am


I agree with you…I should have added into the post, that a life “set apart” is a life that causes people to ask about the hope within us and gives us the opportunity to give an answer.

Word Warrior July 24, 2009 - 7:57 am


To be a Christian is to believe that the only way to salvation and freedom is through Christ…all other religions are hopeless and lead to destruction. The only loving thing to do with such a belief is to *aggressively*, as you put it, pursue the world with that truth, just as Jesus did, regardless of the persecution. Some will hate us, as they hated Him; and some will see the truth and the truth will set them free.

Truth is not always comfortable or pleasing to the ear. But what good is a religion that says “this is one way to freedom, but you may want to try another way if you don’t like this one”…There is only One Way, and I hope you find Him.

By the way, the gospel of Scripture is two-sided; there is the overwhelming love of a Savior who gave His life so we could be free now and in eternity, and then there’s the very real wrath of God “coming to the sons of disobedience”. We would be the meanest of the human race to believe such knowledge and mitigate it for “offenses sake”.

Avaya July 24, 2009 - 9:31 am

Dear Kelly,

I have seen Christian evangelism destroy cultures and turn people bitter and violent. I believe that Christians have the right to preach and proselytize, even if I don’t accept all that they are preaching. You MUST speak your truth if you think that is the only truth.

I only wish that there was a little more thought and sensitivity to the way it is done. In the effort to prove that Christianity is the only way-does one need to, for example, make totally erroneous remarks about another person’s belief system? You (I mean a general “you” not you personally) may believe their path is false, but to make comments about a belief or a practice without understanding it and to put people down while holding up your truth is also wrong. There has to be a better way of doing it, which is why I agree with you that the way you lead your OWN life is the best way to attract people to your beliefs.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen missionaries create hatred for Jesus and Christians where there was none to begin with, simply because of their methods.

Kim from Canada July 24, 2009 - 12:26 pm


‘Unfortunately, I’ve seen missionaries create hatred for Jesus and Christians where there was none to begin with, simply because of their methods.’

To love Christ is more than just a feeling. When Christians evangalize, in any fashion, it is an act of obedience to ‘go into all the world’ and tell the good news. How it is done and how it is received do not necessarily coincide. God prepares the hearts of those who are hearing, if the heart has not been prepared then it doesn’t hear. A Christian cannot ‘win people over’ and quite frankly, anyone who is won over by a good presentation rather than by saving grace will be a short-lived convert.

I’ve seen people’s hatred for Christ become immense just by a slight comment about a Christian’s conviction in some part of their lifestyle – like any of those mentioned in the original post. Sometimes a Christian doesn’t have to say a word, just live differently (in a biblical manner) and people can still be offended and have their hearts hardened toward Christ. This will always happen, and Jesus knew it. John 15:18&19

Jess in Peru July 24, 2009 - 2:25 pm

Avaya: I will not use Kelly’s blog to debate your experiences, because they are just that, your experiences. But I am a missionary in Lima, Peru and we use our lips as well as our life to tell people about Christ. We, fortunately, have not experienced ANYTHING like what you are writing about. We love the people here and they love us. Some choose to follow Christ and others do not, but I have not seen a hatred toward Christ, Christianity or us. And we don’t have just a good “presentation.” We are pouring our lives into these people daily. I’m sorry you had a negative experience with missionaries, but that doesn’t cover EVERY missionary, every method and every culture. God is using many missionaries, including us, to share the good news and hope of Jesus through various methods! It’s incredible to be a part of it!

Avaya July 24, 2009 - 6:36 pm

No, I didn’t mean every missionary. And I don’t mean “presentation” either, I mean something deeper than that. I mean respect and love and being ethical such as not making food and medical aid contingent on accepting Christianity. I mean respecting local cultures and not trying to replace them with Westernised versions of Christianity. I mean not teaching people to hate others who are not Christians. Sometimes I think Christ ought to be separated from Christianity, it’s so painful to watch what is done to attract people to Him! Anyway, this is taking away from Kelly’s post and it is not my intention to take over the comment space so I will say goodbye for now and thank you to Kelly for affording us the space to talk.

Vern Connerley April 26, 2012 - 5:17 am

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