My wife gets left behind an awful lot. When we both exit the car, she often has to hit a full sprint to keep up with me. It gets real bad at the Taco Bell parking lot, pulling up to a rodeo, or going into the house. But there are also times when she has to drag me out of the vehicle, bayonette me in the back to start me moving, and threaten with a hotshot every step of the way. These are times when we are headed to the mall or grocery shopping. The point is: depending on what is at the other end of the walk, determines how you walk. This is the point of Bill Hybel’s book, Just a Walk Across the Room.
Hybel’s has written a book that is a straight forward look at how to do evangelism. He begins the book by explaining the missionary mindset of God as he sent his Son on the ultimate walk across the room to save us. In his work on the Earth, Jesus showed that people were his number one thing. This, according to Hybel’s should be reflected in our own walks. He points out, correctly I believe, that those who make the most walks across the room are the ones who most strongly believe that God is about people and that He is worth knowing.
The second section of this book is what I would call the “pre-work” of Evangelism. It seeks to resolve the issue that many Christians don’t live in community with anyone who really needs Jesus. Bill doesn’t take it to the extreme that I would argue it is, that people need to redefine “with”. When living “with” people, most don’t understand that anyone around you is someone “with” you. I had a woman one day at Church tell me she didn’t live “with” any non-Christians or lost people. I asked her if her son played sports. When she responded “yes”, I pointed out that for 5 innings a week, watching T-Ball (which is like watching paint dry) she had a completely captive audience for sharing her faith. Hybel’s makes the same argument that the “pre-work” of Evangelism is about living in 3D meaning: Developing friendships, discovering stories, and discerning next steps. In other words, find people, get to know them, and serve them.
Hybel’s transitions into the message that we are trying to share. He talks about our stories and how in 100 words we can share the life changing message of the cross. The power of our own testimony is something that we are experts in. This lately has become my passion and I loved this chapter. He follows this by showing a few methods for sharing the gospel, but this was not nearly as complete and thorough as I would have liked.
His last section is devoted to challenging us to commit to living with and loving those around us and committing to the work of evangelism. Bill calls it a “bigger-fish mentality”. When Peter dropped his nets, he chose to live for others (the big fish) as opposed to fishing (little fish). Hybel’s refers to it as Grander Vision Living.
What is most fascinating about this book is the personal stories that it includes. Hybel’s tells nearly 20 different stories of evangelism that he was part of during his life. Each one shows subtle differences in how he presented the Gospel to someone. This was a great book to learn from, not because of his outline or logic, but because of the way he linked together conversion stories.
This was a solid book to read and one that was extremely challenging at times. There were times when he seemed to get off topic, but for the most part he clearly communicated the need and the process of evangelism.