The One.Life Challenge

The One.Life Challenge December 3, 2010

In the last ten years I’ve been asked over and over what evangelism looks like when it gets connected to kingdom. Those many questions spring from a widespread disaffection with an evangelism that is focused too narrowly on getting people to make a decision. The number of young adults who have made that decision but who are not functional disciples ought to alarm us about what we are accomplishing in our evangelism.

There is a low enough correlation between “having made a decision” and being a disciple to make us want to rethink our entire approach to evangelism.

Evangelism feeds into how the Christian life is understood. If evangelism feasts too much on no more than forgiveness of sins or the absorption of God’s wrath, the Christian life that flows from that has to be constructed on a completely different basis. Jesus shows a more organic way: following him is both the evangelistic call and the Christian life.

In my new book, One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow , which should be available at Amazon and in local bookstores within the week, I focus on the summons of Jesus to follow him — and that’s what I would call a “Jesus kind of evangelism.”

But this changes things, in fact, it changes everything. Jesus wants Us, not something from us. He wants us to surrender who we are and what we do to him so that we can become the person he wants and do the things he wants.

We either give our One.Life to him or we don’t. There are no other options. Old-fashioned evangelism too often leads only to an admission, but not to surrender.

Too much of evangelism is focused on trying to get people to admit that they are sinners; Jesus’ approach was not on that. His focus was clearly on getting people to join themselves to him, to trust him, to follow him, and to make him Lord (and Savior).

Take the One.Life challenge.

"Pemberton uses this one, too."

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  • I am grateful that you have seen this problem and moved to address it, Scot. I’m sure that your connection with students has provided you an up close and personal view of the challenge.

    Sigh … yet another McKnight book I need to get — for my sons!

  • Aaron Tiffany

    I’m looking forward to reading this book. I just started reading The Jesus Creed.
    I have also just finished reading an evangelism book written by Bryan Stone: Evangelism After Christendom. He challenges the way evangelism has been practiced; being concerned merely with “winning” people as if the goal is to merely say the right things. The means should never be detached from the ends.

  • MIkeK

    “deute opiso mou…” one of the greatest lines in the whole NT. (Oops: Mk. 1:17)

    I’m looking forward to this book. BTW, how, if at all, do you counter the “lordship salvation” thinking of many years ago? I think it’s a red herring, but I wondered how you responded to those folks who want to focus upon us, instead of upon Jesus.

  • Craig Querfeld

    I’m looking forward to reading it. Any plans is translating it into Spanish?

    Just today I was sharing with a few men at church the same thought.

  • Pat

    Excellent distinction.

  • Amen, and well said!!

  • Lived in Wien!

    Maybe you could discuss it chapter by chapter, and other bloggers could too. Then you could put up links of other blogger’s chapter reviews on the chapter discussion that corresponds to it.

  • smcknight


    That was quite the debate and some folks, so it seems to me, theologized themselves into a logical corner and simply said being Lord had nothing to do with it.

    Our faith is fundamentally a relationship with a Person, and once that is the foundation, we realize that we trust in and follow that Person, and that Person, Jesus, is Messiah, Lord, Savior, Son of God …

    So the whole issue was a colossal example of missing the point.

  • Scot, Is this a book that can be given to someone who is not a follower of Jesus yet, or is it more for believers to change our approach? I hope that question makes sense.

  • Scot McKnight


    It’s simple enough for anyone but it’s not simplistic. So, yes, the book can be read by non Christians.

  • discokvn

    hey scot, this has very little to do with the actual book but one thing i’ve wondered about is this… often it’s been talked about the need for the local bookstore, and yet you link to amazon, the very business that’s putting the local bookstore out of business… your thought…