This week: What does it take to reach the truly postmodern student?
1. Connect. You MUST establish trust. I’m talking personal, heart-felt, self-disclosing trust; traveler-to-traveler bonding, shared human experience.
But take it slow. Don’t look like you’re in a hurry.
Not us and them, or us versus them (traditional evangelical categories).
Rather, “we” are in a life boat together. We are trying to survive. We are trying to make a life, figure things out, have a few laughs along the way.
2. Go into their world and affirm whatever you can.
If you’re 45 and older, learn to chill and hang out (If you’re 35 and under you already know how to do this).
Tell your story and listen to theirs. Incarnate yourself just as Jesus did.
Then invite them into your world, and at some point into your ministry context.
But remember, most evangelical ministry settings will be a cross-cultural experience for postmoderns. So you’ll have to explain things to them as well as offer some excellent (but casual) hospitality, or they won’t be back.
3. Optional third step: Question. Bring up the fact that if if everyone merely has their own perspective on things, and there’s no ultimate truth, then I can do whatever I wish to other people, with impunity. After all, my actions, good or bad, merely flow from my perspective.
Like I said, that last step is optional. Some postmoderns don’t care about such things.
I walked through step three with my friend G, awhile back. He was quite startled when he realized the implications of his deep relativism. So in some cases the conversation is worthwhile.
Next week: reaching the modern student.
Suggested resource: I Once Was Lost (five thresholds of postmodern conversion), by Everts and Schaupp. Best book on evangelism I’ve read in a long time.