Missiologists have wrestled with this idea for years - and Meaderis' experience living overseas shows how he has wrestled as well. Put one way, this book is a kind of missiology on witnessing but in popular terminology and writing style.
First - I will review the positives - the things that challenged me. At the end, I will share a few concerns.
The strength of Medearis is his simplicity: bringing us back to JESUS, not religion. As a missiologist might say when bringing the message of Jesus to another land: bring the seed, not the whole tree. Medearis nails this. Leave the doctrinal explanations at home - stick to Jesus.
Meadearis reminds us that Jesus was hardest on those who were religious, not those who were messy. He was attracted to those who could acknowledge their need. Medearis regularly asks those he is sharing with whom Jesus might prefer to 'hang out with' - and when the individual assumes its Medearis - he corrects them quickly. "Jesus would go home with you," he says.
One of the author's favorite hang-outs was a coffee shop/book store where some of the most "un-christianized" people in Colorado Springs hang out. He asks - if Jesus were here today, where would HE hang out? right here. I agree wholeheartedly. Jesus would not visit our mega-churches. He would most likely be visiting bars on Christopher Street, or speaking words of hope in South-East Asia's slums and brothels.
I agreed with most of what Medearis has to say. My one word of caution is that Medearis focuses almost completely on the beginning of walking with Jesus - on sharing with the lost and seeing them come to a place of discipleship of Jesus. He does not address what brings believers to maturity - nor is it the purpose of his book. There is a place and a need for solid doctrine. Sometimes - we can develop a sort of reverse-pharisaism that sounds uber-spiritual because we choose to toss out the extras and "just keep Jesus." Meaderis borders on this attitude - at least that is my perception.
My other word of caution is that Jesus is the Gospel - and so we must not forget the completeness of the Gospel and the urgency of sharing this good news. Yes, Jesus personifies the Gospel - but one cannot understand the power of that Gospel without grasping God's standards and laws and the price to be paid for sin that was spelled out in the Old Testament.
My take-away application from this book is to speak loudly, boldly, freely, and lovingly of JESUS and how He has changed my life. I love the idea of "leaving breadcrumbs" for Jesus - toss them out and see who picks them up and says - I want more!
Yet - I find that one of the most effective forms of evangelism is to take those who respond to the "taste" of Jesus that was offered: and bring them into a small group study that begins in the Old Testament and works through key passages until the Person of Jesus is discovered by the participants. Engaging the Word of God directly and personally changes people, and often - brings people to repentance and into the arms of Jesus.
Well...this was a long blog post. I read this book in about one day. Its not a hard read. It will challenge you and step on your toes - but its worth reading.