What Evangelism Is
Daniel DarlingCrosswalk.com weblog for author and pastor Daniel Darling of Gages Lake Community Church, Illinois
- 2013 Mar 05
I'm highly skeptical of mechanics. If you are one, I'm sorry, but I think you probably realize that it goes with the trade. It's this way with pastors, too, so perhaps we can commiserate some time.
But there is one shop in our community who does exceptional work, whose proprietors rise above the usual price-gouging and fake repair needs. These are guys I trust with every need my car has. They give good advice. They only fix what is needed. They give good referrals for other work. And when you are with them you just get the vibe that they are genuine, not slick salesmen trying to make a deal.
Here's the thing about service like this. It's so rare that when you find it, you want to tell the world about it. That's what marketing experts get paid big money to tell their clients: perform good service and let the word of mouth build your business. Why is this? Because people are natural evangelists.
I think about this when I think about evangelism. If you have had a great experience with something, you don't have to be prodded to tell ten people. It's the same way with a bad experience. Guarantee you that you will not only tell ten people, you'll post on your social networks. Companies are desperate for this.
When we evangelize the gospel, that is when we fulfill our calling to share the good news of the grace of God in Jesus Christ, it should be as natural as me telling ten people about my experience at Hainseville Firestone near my house.
And herein lies the problem with our evangelism for God. It's not that we are afraid to tell people. It's not that we want people to like us. The deeper reason we don't share Christ is because we've lost our first love. We've forgotten how great Christ is. He's become sort of familiar to us, Someone we aren't all that excited about, not excited enough to tell people.
I find it interesting in the Great Commission verses in Matthew and Mark and Acts that the imperatives are not in the going and telling, but in the teaching and baptizing. Why is that? I think this is because Jesus assumed the disciples would tell everyone the gospel. And why wouldn't they? They'd just seen Jesus rise again from the dead. They've had a radical, life-changing encounter with the Risen Lord. Who could shut up about that?
Perhaps the key to our evangelism is not adopting a new strategy or finding the perfect method or being guilted by Hellfire, but simply to revisit the wonders of the gospel message itself, to reread passages like Ephesians 2 to realize how sick and dead and lifeless we were before we met Christ. To bask in the wonders of regeneration and rebirth. To look at ourselves before we were Christians and how we are now.
Evangelism is really a natural human instinct. Every single one of us is an evangelist of something. Listen to yourself talk. What do you tell your friends and neighbors about? What excites you? What is that you can't wait to share with someone?