Saturday, December 8, 2012

'Tis the Season of Evangelism

Welp, it's that time of year again, my churchy friends... that time of year when faces appear in the back rows of our sanctuaries, faces we probably haven't seen there since last Easter.

Being the dedicated little Christians we are, we're all gonna see beyond these faces to souls that will spend eternity somewhere. And with the best intentions, our preparations begin.

So... busy busy busy. We're all getting ready to play hype-man for the one and only J.C.

But what will this all entail? What's our plan of attack? I have a suggestion. I know, I know... I'm no theologian, that's for sure. I didn't go to seminary, I don't have a pastoral degree, and I've never experienced any formal training on evangelism...

And I really like to curse.
I've been working on it...

But I am a counselor. I've been gifted to understand how the mind and heart interact with one another. I have some applicable insight of my own, too. We did occasionally attend church services growing up, but I certainly wasn't a Sunday school kid. I didn't memorize weekly bible verses for smiley-face stickers or watch felt puppets follow the Star of Bethlehem. My mom taught me most of what I knew about Jesus, and she did a good job of it.

But when I got a little older... I wasn't quite so sure about this Jesus guy. I wanted to believe in Him, I just didn't know how to. I reached what some therapists refer to as stuck-points in my way of thinking about Christianity, things I just couldn't quite accept. Things I couldn't move beyond.

But at twenty-three years old, it all started to come together. I didn't solve all my stuck-points, but I did learn to move beyond them through my relationship with Christ.

How? Well, as an adult, the couple churches I did give a shot left me feeling downtrodden. The messages they laid out were heavier than I could hold. I was not only weighed down but also felt like an outsider from all the "seasoned" attenders who seemed to "just get it."

Then God led me to a place where I'd be presented to His truth just as I needed to hear it.

Please, don't get me wrong here. It's important to grow our believers, to challenge them and walk alongside them as they advance in their journey and own ministries. But if you're looking to evangelize, if you're looking to draw in new faces, or perhaps the faces you haven't seen since Easter, keep it simple.

During Jesus' ministry, He met people where they were. He didn't set up camp in a fancy temple and wait for people to swing on by. He met them. He stepped into their world.

Literally, straight from Heaven and down into a manger.

So, amidst my rambles, my suggestion is this; don't just teach about Jesus, teach like Jesus. Meet people where they are. Step into their world. Toss out the Christianeese lingo; its just a waste of breath to the unchurched.

Keep it simple. Jesus did. And it seemed to work out pretty well for Paul, too.

"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power." 1 Corinthians 4:20
"... I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom.." 1 Corinthians 2:1
"My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power." 1 Corinthians 2:4

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