GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–Seeing a life changed because of Jesus will draw people to faith, a British evangelist told ministry leaders during Collegiate Week at LifeWay Glorieta Conference Center near Santa Fe, N.M.
“I suspect your university campuses are becoming much like the U.K. [United Kingdom] — they don’t want all that religion stuff,” said Dennis Pethers, author of “More to Life,” a simple four-story approach to believers more easily share their faith and an understanding of the Gospel.
“People will come to faith in Christ when they see that knowing Him will make their lives better. And they will see that when they see that your life is better because of knowing Him,” Pethers said.
Collegiate Week is a yearly conference for college students and leaders from campuses and local churches. The Threads young adult ministry area of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention sponsored the sold-out sessions, which drew more than 2,000 participants from across the country.
Pethers defines evangelism as “leaving the people that I’ve met with a better understanding of God than they would have had had they never met me.”
Having grown up in London as an atheist, Pethers understands the perspective of the post-Christian culture of his own country.
“I was an atheist because I didn’t believe in God,” he said. “I didn’t dislike God. I didn’t know any Christians, so I didn’t dislike them. I’d never been to church, so I didn’t dislike it. No one I knew went to church. I just didn’t have any idea that God existed. I didn’t know — and didn’t know that I didn’t know.”
Pethers said he suspects many people are just like he was: They don’t know that they don’t know. Christian students on college campuses have a “wonderful opportunity” every day to meet people who don’t know God, he said.
For many students, removing the pressure of having to hand out a tract or force someone into a decision on the spot will make talking about God something they can incorporate into their lifestyles, Pethers said.
“More to Life is a really simple way to introduce Christ to someone in your dorm room, on your laptop, wherever,” Pethers said. “It’s a DVD with the stories of people whose lives have been changed by Christ. And that’s really the best way to share Christ, isn’t it? To show how your life is better for knowing Him? Of course it is.”
As an unbeliever becomes interested in knowing more about how Christ has made a difference in a believer’s life, that same unbeliever may begin to wonder if Christ could make a difference in his or her own life, leading to an opportunity for discipleship, Pethers said.
“You know, we Christians can talk all day about Jesus and go to church every day of the week,” he said, “but that won’t really draw people to Him. Changed lives authenticate the message of Jesus.”
John Moore, LifeWay’s national collegiate ministry leader, told the Aug. 7-11 gathering at Glorieta that what has happened in the U.K and across Europe is happening in the United States: Fewer people go to church, fewer people claim to believe in God at all and fewer choose to receive Christ.
“By telling where he has been, Dennis can tell us where we are headed,” Moore said. “Dennis sees in the rearview mirror what we see through the windshield.”
Polly House is a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. For information about upcoming events for collegians, visit www.ThreadsMedia.com/Events