By Blake and Katy Edgmon, AGWM missionaries to Ireland
We can learn a lot from the Irish culture when it comes to ministry. Within the context of the Irish, ministry must be foremost relational. They are relational to the core. People first, task second.
The other day a word picture came to mind. Sharing the gospel is like an iceberg.
On average, 88 percent of an iceberg is underwater. That’s a lot of ice that we never see on the surface. To fully understand and respect the enormity of an iceberg, you must look under the water.
Similarly, for an unbeliever to truly understand the gospel, he or she must be encouraged to see the gospel’s influence in our lives.
I believe, in the eyes of an unbeliever, the life we live is 88 percent of the gospel we “preach.” If we never allow people in to see that, we are only having 12 percent of the potential impact on the people we are called to reach.
As we mentioned, in Ireland, life begins and ends with relationships. Ministry here is nothing if not relational. I believe it should be that way in any culture or country. As followers of Christ, every one of us has the opportunity and the responsibility to build relationships with the people in our circles of influence.
When we attempt to bypass (or ignore) relationships, we are losing this metaphorical 88 percent of the gospel revealed through us. We are only showing them the tip of the iceberg because that’s the easiest and prettiest place to be.
DO WE ALLOW PEOPLE TO SEE CHRIST’S REDEMPTION WORK IN OUR LIVES?
Let’s put it this way. What kind of gospel are we sharing with the world, if we never allow people to see Christ’s redemption work in our own lives?
Are we pretending to have no problems, to be perfect, or even to be sinless?
To be truly effective in preaching the gospel, we must allow those to whom we are ministering to get close enough to us to see our personal victories, to see our pain, and even close enough to see our sin.
Iceberg Evangelism: It takes vulnerability, transparency, and lots of time.
I dare you to try it.