Speaking of Jesus by Carl Medearis is the best book you can read about evangelism – even if the subtitle says: “the art of not-evangelism.” Why? Because evangelism is neither a method nor an approach. It is not a what or a how. It is a who – Jesus is the good news. Carl powerfully (and sometimes humorously) illustrates how this works in real life.
Carl’s thesis is simple but liberating: We need to stop playing the “our religion can beat up your religion” game (p.103) and focus on calling people to Jesus. “If you don’t feel like you have to evangelize someone away from their team and onto yours, you can speak of Jesus much more freely and thus, more effectively” (p. 103). “Evangelism, as a method, is dangerous because it’s something we “do” to other people. Nobody likes to be “done” (p. 125). All we need to do is speak of Jesus.
Carl’s book will help you become Christ-centered rather than Christianity-centered. It will equip you to be winsome and welcoming, rather than defensive and adversarial. It will persuade you to follow Jesus.
Which leads me to my second main point …Speaking of Jesus is also a great book about discipleship. Story after story highlights what it means to follow Jesus. Carl will help you distinguish between Jesus and Christianity (a main point of his book). And Carl is right: Jesus has no peers.
Why I am writing this book review? Three reasons. First, because Carl is a close friend whom I admire greatly. I wanna be like Carl. Second, because this book is a valuable tool for the kingdom. In fact, if I had only five books (outside of the Bible) to help mentor a young leader, this would be one of them!
Third, because this book describes one of Peace Catalyst’s values. Carl didn’t know that his book would become required reading for anyone joining our organization! As our website says, we value …
A passionately Jesus-centered approach to life
“Above all, we are followers of Jesus, on a journey with him, following where he leads us. We center our lives on him – not on the religion of Christianity, not on Western civilization, and not on patriotism. Jesus is the great peacemaker. We affirm a Jesus-centered approach to life because this highlights the treasure of the good news. His life, his teaching, his death, and his resurrection all describe and illustrate multi-dimensional reconciliation.”
Speaking of Jesus demonstrates what it means to live a passionately Jesus-centered approach to life.
Do I agree with everything Carl says? No! That’s why I said this book would be one of the five I would use for mentoring leaders. Thank you, Carl, for putting into writing what Jesus has written on your heart and what He communicates through your life!