If Jesus Came to… What would he do first?

This post is by Syler Thomas.

A number of years back, the Christian media group Bluefish TV made a brilliant satirical video pointing out some Christians’ tendency to disengage from “the real world” and create the perfect Christian bubble. You can watch it here:

In chapter six of Game Plan (a new “college prep” book co-written by Nic Gibson), I talk about the struggle of engaging with the world without being tarnished by it. This can be a challenge for today’s college freshmen, as they’re often faced with a decision between Christian fellowship that’s “safe” but keeps them in the “salt shaker,” or engaging with the world which leads them into temptation they’re not strong enough to handle.

Thankfully, the move towards living “missionally” is on the rise, and Christian fellowship groups on college campuses are finding more and more creative ways to engage with outsiders without alienating them. For instance, the InterVarsity group at my alma mater recently held an event where they set up a board in the student center with the question “If Jesus came to DePaul, what would he do first?” They invited everyone to write their answer on a post-it note and attach it to the board. The responses were all over the place: one said “Play racquetball.” Another said “Would preach about love, respect, and empathy.” In this way, they were able to start a dialogue with the student body, and communicated that they’re ready to listen as much as they’re ready to talk.

Do you have any thoughts on this? How do we encourage young people in particular to live in this tension, to be fully committed to holiness as the body of Christ, but always reaching out and building relationships with those far from God?


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  • RJS

    Nice video – and thought provoking. I think too many Christian groups on campus create a protective bubble – and it is protective in rather destructive ways.

    But … and here is just a thought for discussion … I also don’t think it is helpful to class all other relationships as “reaching out and building relationships with those far from God.” This is, or seems to me, too utilitarian, and in some ways too absolute – as though these Christian undergraduates have “arrived” and exist to reel others in.

  • We are supposed to, according to Scripture, come out from among them and be separate and touch not the unclean thing and at the same time love our neighbor as ourself. Being separate is not an easy thing and easily mockable. The video above is mocking those who are not in the movie maker’s bubble. This is where grace enters and the understanding that the Body being one has many members. We need to allow the members freedom. That being done, the Holy Spirit has control to impact our neighbors where ever we are. Some members of the Body, having experienced much pain in the world, need to isolate themselves more than others. We need to allow this freedom both ways.

  • As part of an intentional community working with the youth of East St. Louis and some other places in Southern IL, and while working with mainly high school and below, that community seeks to create an atmosphere of safety within pretty open dialogue – doubts and lots of questions. Sometimes slow, sometimes a little frustrating but giving up this idea of being right in terms of our doctrines in favor of relationships seems to be the only way forward.

  • Rana

    agree with RJS, my youth group and college group experience worked to isolate Christian youth from “the other”. I would go even a step further and question the “worldview” Christianity or “Christian worldview” that hinges itself on anything more than loving God AND NEIGHBOR. Think about it, making much about Christian worldview ends up in place like Bubble creek Canyon. We do a real good job at loving our worldview/ lifestyle, not so much loving our neighbors.