Judah Smith Fills in the Blank: Jesus is ______.
Judah Smith is defying the stereotypes of ministry with his unconventional outreach methods.
Judah Smith is not your average pastor. He is best friends with Masters champion Bubba Watson and skateboards with pop-star Justin Bieber. “…I want to push the envelope. I want to have genuine conversations with all people, listen to what others believe and have to say, respond to their questions, and take time to understand why they feel the way that they do,” Smith said. In his new book Jesus Is ___, Smith breaks down barriers between Jesus and the misconceptions that he’s represented by within society. Smith wants his readers to gain a deeper relationship and understanding of Jesus by realizing that Jesus is the point of all life.
What was your inspiration to write the book Jesus is ____ ?
It was a bit of a process, actually. It started with a desire to get our city, Seattle, thinking about Jesus. The Pacific Northwest is known for being indifferent or even antagonistic to religion, and I just wanted to start a conversation in people's minds. I talked with my team about launching some sort of marketing campaign, and we came up with the idea of Jesus Is ___. We put it up on billboards, buses, and bumper stickers, and I preached a sermon series based on it. Soon we realized it was much more than a slogan or tagline: it was our mission as a church. Our goal is to show people who Jesus is. The book idea came later; it's a way for us to fill in the blank for people, based on the Bible.
In your book you say, “Christianity is not about not swearing. It’s not about not having impure thoughts. Really, it’s not about not at all. Christianity is about Jesus.” Can you elaborate on that and explain what and who you think Christians really are about.
Christianity is more about Jesus than about us. The point of Christianity is not our holiness or lack of holiness. The point is our relationship with God through Jesus. Sin is serious, don't get me wrong—but Jesus' grace is greater. We can get so distracted by our failures and so caught up in trying to win God's approval that we forget he saved us by grace and his grace continues to cover and empower us today. If we make Christianity about sin, we do a disservice to the grace and victory of Jesus. We are stooping to live by the law. The cross means that the guilt and penalty of sin have been dealt with, and we are free to enjoy God without fear or condemnation.