The publisher NavPress provided a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.
Nervous or unsure how to talk to the everyday people in your life on faith issues? Following the “Jesus Model” for everyday interactions could be the simple confidence booster you need.
The average length of Jesus’ conversations as recorded in the Gospels was 42 seconds long. This is good news for all of us. It frees us up to talk about the most important part of our lives in a way that’s natural, meaningful, and helpful instead of clumsy, awkward, and irrelevant.
Anyone who has spent countless uncomfortable hours walking from house to house with a clipboard or flash cards that talk about four spiritual laws understands.
Jesus’ conversations were remarkably simple. Contemporary Christian lingo has set up a dichotomy between what we call “discipleship” and “evangelism,” but the Bible doesn’t do that. Jesus had conversations all the time with those who thought they were close to God, as well as with those who deemed themselves lost and without hope. He invited all of them to come and learn from Him.
About the Author:
Carl Medearis is an international expert in Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations. He acts as a catalyst for movements in the Middle East to promote peace-making and cultural, political, and religious dialogue for reconciliation. He works with leaders in the West and in the Arab world with the hope of seeing them experience full and fruitful relationships through the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
Why I wanted to read 42 Seconds
While 42 Seconds is not a classic or formal Christian apologetics book, the premise intrigued me.
If most of Jesus’ conversations were short, how can we use that in our daily lives?
And if we are commanded to give answers, that means we actually have to have conversations with people.
Medearis has come up with a unique concept – the average length of Jesus’ conversations (the conversations recorded in the Gospels, anyway) is 42 seconds. (He explains how he arrived at that conclusion in the book).
What does this mean for us, as Jesus’ ambassadors? Most of our interactions with the everyday people in our lives are brief snippets. Are we taking advantage of our daily interactions to the fullest?
And what exactly is the Jesus model for everyday interactions?How #42Seconds Can Take The Pressure Off You In Your Faith Conversations @carlmedearis Click To Tweet
What I like about 42 Seconds
Carl Medearis includes many examples and stories from his own life of these brief interactions we typically have in a day. He also gives practical, easily applicable advice for maximizing these interactions.
Medearis wrote this book as a 4-week individual or group study on improving our daily interactions with the everyday people in our lives.
Most of the Christian apologetics books are written to make a defense for one aspect of the Christian worldview or another but are not practical application books.
In other words – how do I get the information out of my head and into my everyday conversations with everyday people?
(Which is a common question by the ladies in our apologetics discussion group, by the way)
This book is different. Medearis challenges the reader to take his concepts and apply them every day for a week per concept. He also provides discussion/introspection questions designed to help the reader be more intentional and aware.
The 4 key concepts he challenges the reader to work through are being kind, being present, being brave and being Jesus.
What I don’t like about 42 Seconds
While I think the idea behind this book of approaching evangelism in a more natural way is good, Medearis has a habit of over-simplifying Jesus’ conversations, and the role of evangelism for Christians and apologetics.
At one point he mistakenly claims apologetics was “not the way of Jesus” (Ch. 3, pg.16). To the contrary, Jesus did indeed use apologetics. All kinds. (See the section The Apologetics of Jesus here).
Medearis sets up a false dichotomy between logic and reason and being kind. But the “apologetics command” in 1 Peter 3:15 actually instructs us in kindness and respect towards the person we are conversing with.
The bottom line
While this book will not give you answers to the tough questions every day people ask; it will be helpful for aspiring apologists to read and work through the practical application challenges.
If you are a seasoned apologist, the daily exercises will be a helpful reminder to see the everyday people in your life and view them as people and not projects.
If you feel nervous about having faith conversations, you will benefit from working through the exercises as they are simple and non-threatening.
Medearis reminds us to always keep in mind that we are dealing with people, not projects. That is the heart of apologetics.
What Do You Think?
How important are words in our ability to connect with others and share our message? Does the idea of maximizing short conversations take some of the pressure off of our shoulders in our faith conversations? Tell us what you think in the comments!
We’re nice people. Promise.