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Evangelism requires the community of Jesus Christ, the Body, collectively.


Q I know that I am supposed to share the gospel with my friends. But I never feel confident to witness to my faith with them because I don’t think they will cross the line of faith. What shall I do?

A Evangelism is partnering with the Holy Spirit in a chain of links. 

Imagine that there are circumstances, conversations, questions, and doubts that your friends will need to experience before they are ready to make a commitment to Christ and cross the line of faith. And imagine that each of these events is a link in a chain leading  your friends to that place of commitment. Providentially, the Holy Spirit has placed you in that specific link at that specific time for you say or do something that will help forge another link in the chain of their faith journey.

This is a profound partnership between the Holy Spirit and you, a partnership between the supernatural and the natural. Personally I find it both mysterious and adventurous, and I experience a profound humility and fulfillment whenever I submit myself to the will of the Holy Spirit. What this means is that your responsibility is never to make your friends “cross the line of faith.” That supernatural moment of grace and faith is between the Lord and them.

Rather, your responsibility is to be faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ by engaging yourself in that particular link so that the Holy Spirit may use you as his instrument. This may be just having coffee with your friends and offering a listening ear to their joys and sorrows, or buying them a book that addresses their doubts and concerns. Evangelism requires the community of Jesus Christ, the Body, collectively. How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!

Victor Ko is a church planter with mosaicHouse in Edmonton, Alberta.



Q Can the war on drugs be called a just war?

A  Using the language of war for policies on drug use is a misnomer that masks serious justice questions about the current approach to drug use in North America.

Many of the questions that need to be explored are captured in the 2012 documentary film The House I Live In. It takes viewers inside families, police forces, and prison walls to understand the impact of the “war on drugs” for those involved, as well as presenting hard facts. It also explores the impact for society when the justice system acts unjustly in its enforcement of drug laws, for example, with documented racial bias. This disturbing film is a useful discussion starter for Christians, who are called to be agents of justice in society.

The practical failure of the “war on drugs” approach is generally recognized. Illegal drugs are now cheaper and more available, while overcrowded prisons recycle more than rehabilitate drug dealers. Families struggle with the human costs of young people caught in drug culture, often with few resources to help them. The moral and justice implications, which go much deeper, need more public discussion.

The use of harmful drugs is a complex societal issue with no simple solutions. This is an area that begs for the use of the restorative justice approaches that the Christian Reformed Church promotes. The failure of the “war on drugs” may open doors for Christians to address the justice aspects as well as providing prison ministries and care for individual families affected by the use of drugs.

Kathy Vandergrift teaches public ethics to university students and advocates for the rights of children.


Faith Formation

Q My husband and I pray every day by name for our 12 grandchildren, ages 8 to 21. We’re thankful for the faith nurture they receive from their parents and church communities, but we also fear at times for the pressures they face to walk away from the Lord. We do know the power of prayer, but is there more we can do?

I’ve surveyed hundreds of young adults, asking (among other things) how their grandparents have shaped their faith. Here are some quotes that capture patterns in their responses:

“They gave me unconditional love, encouraging me in hundreds of little ways, showing the heart of Jesus.”

“They prayed with me when I was very young, and, as I grew older, told me how they were daily praying for me.”

“When I went through my early teens and suddenly thought that they weren’t cool, they stuck with me and pretended they didn’t see me rolling my eyes at their interest in my life.”

“They told me how proud they were of me as a high school worship leader, even though I knew that the songs we led were not their personal favorites.”

“I was humbled to realize that bad decisions I made couldn’t lessen the love and encouragement they gave me.”

In addition, the wonderful vow that we as congregations make at baptisms reminds us that those of us in the grandparent stage of life can be grandparent-like in various ways to many children in our community.

—Syd Hielema is a team leader for CRC Discipleship and Faith Formation Ministries. He is a member of Meadowlands Christian Reformed Church in Ancaster, Ontario.


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