Our friends at Fusion are doing amazing work in helping students connect with churches, and helping churches in their mission on campus. One of their key resources is called ‘Mission Styles’, and here Adam Mitchell-Baker tells us what that is and how it can help you represent Jesus to your friends in a way that fits who you are.
Mission Styles is all about helping you understand how you most naturally share Jesus. We believe that everyone can be an evangelist, regardless of personality type or experience of evangelism in the past. The four Mission Styles are called ‘Convince Me’, ‘Talk With Me’, ‘Show Me’ and ‘Let Me Experience’. This article will give you a whistle-stop tour through all four, with stories from universities across the UK to inspire you in dreaming up creative ways to put your Mission Style into action and step out in evangelism!
‘Convince Me’ people are all about the facts, the theories and the evidence. They thoroughly research all decisions and love to wrestle through the big questions of life, drilling deeper into every situation to discover what’s logical and true. When it comes to Jesus, they’re looking for it all to make sense, to know that the gospel is true and real. ‘Convince Me’ evangelists are an absolute gift to the church – they bring real depth and knowledge that helps others understand what following Jesus is all about. Evangelism in this style looks like discussion and meaty debates, apologetics and presentation of the gospel in a logical and clear way.
We heard the story of Jos, a uni student who ran a group called ‘Prayer and a Pint’, where he would go through the Bible with his rugby teammates every week over a pint. Jos made room for the big discussions and deep conversations, delving into all the facts and evidence for the existence of Jesus in order to share him with the rugby lads. Here we see ‘Convince Me’ outworked in mission in a simple yet brilliantly creative way to help give people a chilled environment in which to go deeper with their questions of faith.
‘Show Me’ people are practical and down-to-earth; they are interested in seeing the difference Jesus makes in everyday life. They aim for efficiency, detail and action, keeping things running smoothly and showing more of Jesus’ love to those around them through the way they serve. ‘Show Me’ people want to know that the gospel works and that it makes a real and practical difference in the world around them.
In Bournemouth, a student called Lois met a girl on the first day of uni and got her involved with her local church homeless community project, where her mate got plugged in serving and eventually went on a church mission trip. Through a friendship that modelled practical mission in a perfect display of the ‘Show Me’ style, Lois saw this girl give her life to Jesus! How can you serve your mates and those around you in a way that practically demonstrates the love of God in action and help them engage in serving too? It could be anything from homeless outreach, clearing a garden for a family or serving your lazy housemates through washing up their mountainous pile of dirty plates!
‘Talk With Me’
‘Talk With Me’ people are highly relational and discover more of Jesus through other people’s lives and stories. They’re the masters of the DMC: relational listeners and brilliant question-askers, who can find the gold and the God-story in almost anyone, given half a conversation! ‘Talk With Me’ people want to know that the gospel is personal; that Jesus is with them and he cares.
A student in York called Emmie decided to do 40 days of encouragement and prophecy for Lent last year. On Pancake Day, she wrote down a list of people in her life that God had put on her heart, folded them in half and threw them in a biscuit tin. Every day she sat down with God, picked out a name, prayed over the person and heard what God wanted her to say to them, which she then shared with that person. Evangelism in the ‘Talk With Me’ style means noticing people, taking the time to hear their story, and answering great questions in order to unlock things in people’s hearts and lives and bring God into the conversation.
‘Let Me Experience’
‘Let Me Experience’ people just go ahead and do; they’re likely to find Jesus as they try out doing what he did. They’re enthusiastic, open-minded and dynamic characters and although they can have discussions about God, they’re more likely to want to get moving and try out faith as they go, sharing Jesus by inviting people to join them in these experiences. They motivate and mobilise people around them, pointing them to Jesus through the way they live out the gospel in the day to day.
Biblically, we see ‘Let Me Experience’ outworked in the life of Peter. Jesus walks on water and tells Peter to do the same, so Peter just cracks on and does it. Later, Peter also imitates Jesus by giving it a go at praying for healings and resurrections! Peter exemplifies ‘Let Me Experience’ in action, taking risks and acting with boldness to experience the power of God. Evangelism for these guys looks like being bold and taking action to share Jesus in radical and creative ways, which could involve activities such as club mission or prophetic evangelism. For ‘Let Me Experience’ people, they need to find a cause and give it a go – their energy and enthusiasm is a real driving force!
Now It’s Over To You!
So which one of these four styles sounds like you? And which one might your not-yet-Christian mates fall into? How can you share Jesus in a way that will engage with them? These styles are unpacked in more detail, along with loads more biblical examples and student mission stories, on the Mission Styles website at missionstyles.org. So take the test for free today, discover your Mission Style, get out there and start sharing Jesus on your campus!