This book is vintage Sweet, with wit and charmed, persuasive language. Here, Len makes the case for re-envisioning how the church engages the practice of evangelism.
The gospel message is joyful. Len reminds us of this throughout this book. The work of evangelism is communicating this joyful news of Jesus with others in very ordinary places. A key premise to this book: God is at work in the world before anything that we might do, and continues far beyond any work that we might do. Evangelism first and foremost is God’s work.
Too often the church makes evangelism just another program. It becomes static, dry, and propositional. It becomes a duty. In the process, we become functional atheists thinking that this is our work. Christians run from this responsibility feeling ill equipped for the challenge.
For Leonard Sweet, evangelism is the normal work of a follower of Jesus engaged in the world, It is a matter of paying attention, looking for evidence of God’s work, through all of our senses, nudging people towards the Lord who is already present and working.
Nudging requires proximity. The church is God’s called out people who are sent back into the world. We live in neighborhoods. We cross paths with people all day long. Disciples of Jesus listen and dialogue. We share our stories, and we share the Story—and the Spirit of God works in the lives of others, and in our lives as well.
This is not a how-to-evangelize type of book. It is better than that. Nudge argues that God is not anti-culture, but rather God is very much at work in and through culture. And in the midst of culture, God continues to draw people to himself. Nudge invites, more so, urges, followers of Jesus to live out a new understanding of evangelism—responding to our sensing of God’s activity all around us.