Why is it that the concept of personal evangelism, that is, person-to-person sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and how this is good news in our lives, makes so many people feel so uncomfortable? One of many reasons is that we Episcopalians know that some people somewhere shove four spiritual laws down people’s throats, and we don’t want to be like them. Another reason is that we are simply out of practice. We don’t (think we) know how to share because we haven’t done it, lately, or ever!
Nothing like overcoming a fear by plunging head-first into it. So we, the diocesan Evangelism Committee, proposed sharing. And then put it to the test, by video recording one another sharing our stories of faith. We discovered it was easier to tell a genuine, brief account of life in Christ if we pictured someone, not yet a Christian. Thinking of that person (my neighbor), I could also imagine a context for conversation (we usually chat about how we’ve spent our days). Is there a way to talk about God’s grace and love when I talk about my day? Yes! As we suspected, this is true for many people in our diocese.
We gave everyone at the Diocesan Convention the opportunity to engage in this exercise with hopes that it would instill confidence to evangelize. We rewarded everyone who participated with a button that says, “I Shared,” which could be an evangelisic tool. Imagine the grocer, teacher, neighbor asking you, “What did you share?” They might expect to hear your money or your things, but they might be curious when you respond, “My life in Christ.”
We posted the videos on the diocesan youtube channel: youtube.com/sandiegoepiscopal. This step was meant to inspire others to repeat the exercise. Also, it is a gift to hear the personal testimonies of people throughout the diocese. We hope that the exercise is repeated over and over and that we continue in this diocese to unabashedly proclaim Christ’s boundless love and mercy to a world parched for good news, person-by-person. +
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