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Let's Talk About Evangelism...

I don’t know why this word is so taboo, or why the subject itself causes discomfort, but it’s much simpler than it sounds. 

What’s the first thought that comes to your mind when you hear the word teach? Or proclaim? Those are synonyms of evangelize. When you say it that way, it doesn’t sound so bad, right? 

I’m going to ask you a question, but before I do, promise yourself that you’ll continue reading after the question…

One Sunday at my place of service, a man shared his story, but before he did, he asked a question that profoundly struck my heart. 

“How much do you have to hate someone to not share Jesus with them?” 

Now you know what I mean. OUCH! If I’m honest, my first reaction was indignation. But Jesus softened my heart, and what I heard changed me. 

He proceeded to tell his testimony: he spent more than half his life in prison for everything you can possibly imagine, plus some. The last time he was in prison, he was supposed to be there for many, many years. But God… 

A man began to visit and mentor him. During one of their meetings, his mentor sat in front of him and said, “If you could do anything to the man who hurt you, [he was molested] what would you do?” So, he reared back and punched him. He laughed and said, “I knocked him out of his chair and busted his nose.” 

After the mentor sat back up, he asked him to do it again if he thought that would help. As you can imagine, the prisoner was confused. So, he asked the logical question, “Why are you doing this?” His answer? Jesus! 

I tell you this story to illustrate what evangelism should look like. No, I’m not suggesting we should walk around asking people to punch us in the face, but I am affirming that we reach people. This mentor didn’t tell this man to do this on their first visit. He talked with the man, loved on him, developed a relationship with him, and knew what had hurt him. Then, he knew what the patient needed. Yes, in some ways the prisoner became his patient and the mentor was our Physician's assistant, helping this prisoner finally press his call button. 

How can we expect people to soak in His Message if we don’t show the love of Jesus first? To me, that is evangelism! We illustrate the Love of our Lord...before we share! Honestly, shoving Scripture at someone when you first meet them will do no good! In fact, I’d suggest that’s the biggest turn off to any non-believer. 

The world already rejects Christians because of the examples they see and because so often the Bible is used to demean them rather than show them the Goodness of Christ! Listen, I am perhaps the worst at evangelism, but I am good at loving people. Every Sunday, I go downtown and volunteer at Church Under the Bridge. I love on those precious people, ask them about their week, give them some food and clothing, and yes, someone preaches the Word, but it’s not me. I’m there to love! You’d never believe the impact those people feel because someone simply saw them and didn’t act like they were invisible. 

Obviously, this is not everyone’s comfort zone, but we all have one. We all possess the gift of evangelism because God commands us to share His Love! He would not order us to do something He didn’t purposefully build within us!

So, what’s your gift? Are you good with people? Comfortable being uncomfortable? Like my pastor said, “Quit outsourcing your Christianity!” Don’t expect someone else to do what God enabled you to do! You are a son or daughter of the King of the World! Don’t forget that! Share His Love! There is a time and a place to share the Scriptures and I’m not at all saying we shouldn’t do that, but first, just Love! Once you’ve cultivated a relationship, you’ll find that the Message falls on tilled soil because you’ve invested the time!   

We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

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