United States (MNN) — InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s R. York Moore recently wrote a book intended for a non-Christian audience. His book, Do Something Beautiful: The Story of Everything and a Guide to Your Place in It is meant to help people see their place in the story of everything, everything being God’s kingdom.
Moore indirectly highlights the Christian’s need to do less Christian-labeled work and more influential work in the world. In fact, he says if you look at a list of Christian books written for non-Christians—it is a short list. Similar to what C.S. Lewis once said, “The world does not need more Christian literature. What it needs is more Christians writing good literature”.
“Certainly the places that are under Christian control or influence are diminishing right before our eyes. And so, we are left with the margins. I believe that really the way in which the Gospel is going to move forward in the coming generations, isn’t from a place or posture of power and control, but it’s going to be by linking arms with people. And really addressing and engaging in the issues of common good.”
This means coming alongside people to resolve issues in our communities, meeting needs, and even helping care for our planet. When Christians pursue things which are good for our communities and the people around us, that’s where the Gospel shines.
Doing Life, Living the Gospel
“Unless you’re actually living life with people and engaging in the things that matter to community, really the Christian message falls on deaf ears by and large…over the last several years InterVarsity has realized this, we’ve seen just an incredible increase of fruitfulness on the college campus. We’ve never seen so many college students coming to faith in all of our 80 years,” Moore shares.
“Our employee base has doubled, we’re on more campuses than ever. And part of the reason that’s true in an increasingly difficult space called the college campus, is that we are living life with students and faculty and administrators. And we’re engaging the hard issues that matter to regular people, regardless of their faith background.”
But, to first do this, the idea of how Christians in the United States do ministry may need to change. Oftentimes ministry is bringing people into “our space.” However, Moore says the most effective way the Gospel is moving forward today is by Christians entering into spaces where non-Christians are doing life.
Moore talks about the various ways Christians can enter these spaces in his book. Examples include taking time to work with underprivileged and at-risk populations (such as refugees, immigrants, people facing poverty, etc). It can mean pushing back against injustices. But, go to these meaningful places where it is easier to enter people’s stories.
Entering a Different Story
Entering someone’s story could also be as simple as walking across the street and spending time with neighbors. Through this, we share ourselves with people, which can give them a glimpse of Christ and his love. On the flip side, we get to learn about people and do life with them. Moore says it is in these margins of life where Christians are able to share the Gospel in a way where it is heard.
“In this…short book I give an opportunity for people to not only establish a relationship with God, but also to reimagine what it looks like to become a part of God’s story…a lot of times, people don’t see themselves in God’s great story because we think of it either over simplistically or think of it in terms of ‘it’s beyond us’,” Moore explains.
“So, what I tried to do is create opportunities for the reader to see herself in the story of God. To see herself in the story of everything as its unfolding before her.”
Themes to Live Into
Moore maps this out through three core themes: righteousness, beauty, and community. Oftentimes, the current generation on campus has been considered the ‘justice generation’. However, Moore insists there’s something beyond justice this generation is seeking. In fact, he says what they’re actually seeking is righteousness.
“When you actually stop to talk to people about what it is that’s firing or fueling their passion, it’s usually a vision for something that’s actually beyond the righting of wrongs, which is what justice is all about. It’s just making things right. But flourishing goes beyond that, and that’s what righteousness is all about,” Moore explains.
When people enter into righteousness with God (or other people groups), Moore says there’s an experienced reality to it. In his book, Moore creates opportunities for readers to see what’s beyond justice and to live into righteousness.
The Significance of Beauty
The next theme, beauty, is what Moore says is possibly the biggest new contour for this generation. (Cue the curated Instagram feeds for evidence.)
Still, this generation wants to be immersed in beauty–whether it is a surreal sunset, flames dancing in the fireplace (or imitated on a TV), a well-manicured garden, or even the first snow falling gently through the sky. There’s something about beauty which intoxicates the mind and then takes it captive, almost as though it is calling us elsewhere.
“This is a wide open door for the good news of the Gospel. If we can tell the story of God from a place of beauty, and how people can connect their longing for beauty to the story of God, I’m at least seeing incredible results,” Moore says.
“Over the last few months, I’ve led about 600 people to Christ using this book, using the principles in this book. And beauty is probably the number one way in which people are opening their hearts to the kingdom of God.”
Living in Community
Lastly, Moore says “community” is another driving factor for Millennials. They have a desire to be a part of a community, despite the separation technology has brought this generation. However, Moore believes there’s a missing ingredient in this desire for community, and that’s purposed community.
An example of a purposed community—the Church. Moore wants to help readers see themselves as part of a purposed community, one with a mission led by Jesus. Through this, works of righteousness and beauty can and are happening in the local context.
“The idea of belonging to the righteous, beautiful community is the overall vision of the book. But, it’s written in very, very poetic, romantic language using rich metaphors that everyday people can relate to,” Moore shares.
Find the Book, Say a Prayer
So, pick up a copy of Moore’s book for yourself. And maybe even that 20-something who is struggling with the Christian faith. Help enable people to live for Christ through the words Moore has for them in these pages. Moore’s book is available at Amazon, Target, and anywhere else books are sold.
“What we’re trying to do with this project is create a resource that is highly accessible for people who really are open to the story of everything, but really can’t see themselves in that story. This book is for them. This book will help them make that decision to become a follower of Christ, belong to a purposed community, and do works of righteousness and beauty in the world,” Moore says.
And please, ask God to use this book to transform a generation’s heart. Pray people would pursue the things that are beautiful, just, and community-driven through Christ.