Friday, March 7, 2008

Ok...But Where Do I Start?

Evangelism is something I have many questions about. Whether or not it is necessary is not one of them.

I doubt anyone would disagree that evangelism is done best when the message is motivated by a deep and passionate awareness of the beauty of the gospel, and of the desperate need sinners have of it. I think it stands to reason that if that foundation is set, then a willingness to share that message should flow naturally from that. When we become so enthralled at God’s love for us poured out through the cross, and see the perilous position of unsaved sinners, that should naturally motivate us to share that message with those around us.

By the way, I am here referring to evangelism as the bowl-up-to-randoms-on-the-street-and-share-the-gospel variety, which I am aware is a very narrow definition, but in my situation seems to be the main thing pushed.

My questions arise when something is missed from this picture. What do we do when people feel the need to share their faith, and are not driven by a deep and profound awareness of the reality of the message? And what can be done for people who truly rejoice and are thankful for God’s grace, yet have no inclination towards evangelism? What comes first? Where do we start? Do we get people sharing their faith with strangers from the word go, assuming that evangelism is a means by which God works in his people? Or do we come from another angle, saying God changes his people through other means, and that the natural overflow of these is to willingly advocate Christ in all situations?

I consider myself someone who truly enjoys God, and finds immense satisfaction in Christ. However, when the challenge goes out to witness, on the street or around the campus, something in me draws back and cringes. Intellectually I totally agree that the message we are taking is desperately needed, so why do I resist so much? More importantly, what is the solution? I have had people tell me something to the effect of “get hard,” which no doubt has some element of truth in it. But as a rule, I think an indifference to evangelism is more of an indication that my own hunger for God needs improvement.

I think the answers to these questions will turn out to be ‘a bit of both.’ There are other factors that come into it, of course, like fear and other objections I have with pushing ‘street evangelism’ on everyone. But I think these are questions worthy of consideration.


Anonymous said...

Random approaching of strangers can also be genuinely cringe worthy. Especially when it is done with a reliance on a script, or as a hawking of knowledge. If the news of Jesus lordship is actually worth heeding then it is a very sober item of news. I don't see much "wretched urgency" in the New Testament.

In my own case, perhaps I should 'get hard', but it is only recently that I am beginning to feel comfortable that I have indeed got a gospel worth sharing. One that encompasses the individual, and that has the whole world in scope: Jesus. (Sometimes I think the church is deeply impoverished at actually communicating this and it is a joke that we would want anyone to join us)

Anonymous said...

Oh, I was going to write something practical, but I never go to it.

If you live in a flat with people who have similar concerns about reaching people, is it possible to have meals with other people?