Are you an evangelist? (I can almost hear your answer!)
“Of course not! I’ve seen evangelists on TV and I want no part of them! That’s not how I see Christianity.”
“Of course not! I’m not about to go knocking on people’s doors asking if they have accepted Christ! That’s not part of our tradition.”
I get both of those answers. In fact, I’d answer the same way. That’s why I’d ask you not to panic at the next sentence: The truth is that you ARE an evangelist (gasp!). Hang in there while I explain.
Gone are the days when, out of pity, we felt the need to convert people of other religions to Christianity. We have replaced this approach with interfaith dialog; trying to learn and grow together with other faith traditions.
And while I have actually knocked on doors to invite people to worship, I have found it yields pretty dismal results.
So how are we all evangelists? It is part and parcel of being Christian. It is a calling of Christ to share the love of God and we are, by definition, those who answer that call. HOW we answer that call—well, that is the heart of the question.
You may know that the word “angel” is right there in the middle of the word “evangelize”. That’s because they both have to do with the word “messenger”. Angels are messengers from God. We, as followers of Christ, are to deliver God’s message of love, justice, hope, and grace as well. Evangelize.
Angels, though, rarely hammer people over the head with their message. They never use fear as a motivator. Why? Because people tend to run the other way! The same is true in church evangelism. God is always invitational and honest evangelism should reflect that.
So, as an evangelist (I know, it takes getting used to), it is important to know that the key is to share yourself and to share an invitation. For example, have you ever started a sentence this way with someone from work: “When I was at my church last Sunday…” That’s evangelism.
Or how about this: “Don’t you love Halloween? My church has a great Halloween party for kids every year on the Sunday before. Games, food, the whole thing. You should come!” That’s evangelism.
And don’t worry about the result. That’s God’s job. Your job is to plant the seed. Your job is to find a creative way to weave your church connection into a conversation. Then let God take it from there.
All you are doing is sharing a bit about yourself and inviting.
And it can also be fun! When people from our church have done this, they have told me that they often hear back: “Wait. YOU go to church? But you’re so normal. You’re so easy going!”
And the best answer to that is: “Yeah. So’s my church!”
See you in church,