The Messenger and the Message
This Friday and Saturday, I will be judging the Midwest Region Great Communicators Debate tournament. It's a unique debate format, which I'm very excited about.
There are several kinds of debate styles that are common in high school tournaments: Policy, Lincoln-Douglas, and Public Forum. Policy is the more familiar two-person teams and filled with evidence, logic, and complexity. Lincoln-Douglas is one-against-one in a values debate - what our country ought to do, but not necessarily how. Public Forum is somewhat in between.
Great Communicators is different, still. One-against-one, but it focuses more on the personality of the debater than the others. There still is evidence and logic, but the personality, humor, civility, and wit also matter. This is certainly true is some of the best communicators throughout American history.
Plus ... the judge gets to ask questions of the debaters. That's unique, and I'm really looking forward to that.
One way to look at this debate style is that the messenger is part of the message. What is communicated is not just content and style, but the living, breathing person who is speaking.
This is true of your witness to those who need to know Jesus.
It was certainly true of Jesus, and it is also true of you. He sent you, not a Gospel tract. It's more than just the content of the message, but the changed-by-Christ person who is speaking.
No, you're not perfect. But that doesn't disqualify you. Yes, there are parts of you that don't communicate the Gospel well. All the more reason for us to desire to be completely changed by Christ.
You are part of the message that can save people from their sin. You're not the crucial piece. Your part can be replaced. But still, you are part of the message. Embrace your role, and pray fervently.