STOP TALKING ABOUT EVANGELISM
This past week, I had the opportunity to attend the North Florida Region Evangelism Conference put on by the Florida Baptist Convention. Those who spoke delivered powerful messages about the importance and urgency of evangelism. But in a room filled with pastors and church leaders, I didn’t get the sense that anyone needed to be persuaded — though I’m sure all benefited from the encouragement.
I was spiritually born and raised Southern Baptist, and I can’t recall a time when evangelism wasn’t a priority for my church. I’ve also lost track of all of the various approaches and techniques that have been popular: the Romans Road, the Four Spiritual Laws, Evangelism Explosion, Share Jesus Without Fear, FAITH, the 3 Circles, and so on.
While each of these is useful, I’ve also noticed a tendency among Christians to become more concerned about the method of evangelism than the message of the gospel. On one extreme, some folks are fixated on following a precise process and expecting the results to be tied to how well they stuck to the prescribed script — leaving little room for an actual conversation or the work of the Holy Spirit. On the other extreme, some folks refuse to even talk with an unbeliever about Jesus or share the gospel because they haven’t mastered one of these approaches.
This Sunday, we will once again look at evangelism — this time in the context of being an essential discipline for a follower of Jesus. But I have a confession: I’m getting tired of always talking about evangelism. And the reason is that I can’t think of another aspect of church life for which we’re more trained, about which we claim to have a greater concern, and for which we have more paltry results.
It’s way past time for us to stop talking about evangelism and start practicing evangelism — to take what we already know, put it into action, and trust God for the results. But humor me one more time as we explore God’s Word to us concerning evangelism, and as we do so, may we each be moved by the Holy Spirit out of our comfort zones and into gospel conversations with those who need salvation in Jesus Christ.