Nudge : Awakening Each Other To The God Who Is Already There, the latest book by Dr Leonard Sweet, is the most hopeful and helpful book on evangelism I have ever read. It departs from the thought that we followers of Jesus should be like Admiral Lord Nelson of the 19th century Royal Navy when it comes to spreading the Good News. Nelson’s strategy, and some types of evangelism, employed the same tactical thinking: ” When assessing unknown and potentially challenging situations involving those who may be ignorant of, or unfriendly to, our allegiances, don’t bother with maneuvers – just go straight at ’em”. But Nudge evangelism, 21st century evangelism, is more thoughtful and more thorough than this, according to Dr Sweet. Rather than employing ‘hit and run’ Christianity maneuvers with those who don’t know Jesus yet, Dr Sweet encourages the use of common sense, and all of our common senses as well, to observe where God has gone ahead of us to prepare hearts, and then to leave a Jesus imprint there. We can do that by using our ears to listen, our eyes to assess, our sense of smell to be aware of conditions, our sense of taste to determine the hunger in body and soul, and our hands to help. Dr Sweet offers many examples that can help sensitize us to the people, places and things – the signs – of a needy world.
Which brings me to the final take away from this book, and that is joy. Nudge evangelism, as developed in Dr Sweet’s book, is not only thorough in its daily integration for those who use it, but it is completely joyful in its application as a form of outreach. This book will fill the reader with the energy and the encouragement to `do the work of an evangelist’ (2 Tim 4:5), and then move right on to helping one to develop skills as a disciple maker. What a great way to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to those who might not know about Him, or in fact, might be unfriendly toward Him. Admiral Lord Nelson, if he were around today to read ‘Nudge’, might learn a thing or two.