What comes to mind when you hear the word “evangelism?”
Awkward conversations? Missionaries in far off lands? Questionable theology? If that sounds about right, then I want you to know that you are not alone. To be perfectly honest, the concept of Christian Evangelism used to make me really nervous. I couldn’t quite get the nerve up to “share my faith” because I had been taught that it needed to look and sound a certain way. And because that “certain way” seemed awkward at best, and coercive at worst, I avoided it! But that was before I learned what Christian Evangelism is really all about.
What if I told you that the word “evangelism” simply means “bringing good news?” Because that’s exactly what it means! That’s it. There’s no transaction involved, there’s no expectations from the one to whom the good news is given, no convincing that needs to be done.
It’s simply this: Sharing with others the Good News that we experience a different kind of life with Jesus… And then inviting then to experience it with us! It’s not a perfect life, or a life free from trials or sorrows, but through discipleship to Christ, it can be a different kind of life:
A life of joy.
A life of peace.
A life of beauty.
A life of purpose.
A life of meaning.
A life of forgiveness.
A life in service to others
A life of love- of loving others and of being loved.
A life in community in which we are no longer alone!
This was another game-changer for me regarding evangelism: When we share with others what it means to live as God’s people, we’re not just extending an invitation to for them to think certain things. Rather, we are extending an invitation to be in community- to be a part of a family! We are inviting others into our lives. When we look at the accounts of Jesus’ ministry in the gospels, we see that Jesus did not just invite people to think about an abstract set of theological propositions- no! Jesus invited them into his life- into a community. Jesus invited his followers into his own life- a trinitarian community, and into a community of disciples, each learning together, how to live as Jesus did. And as more and more people accepted Jesus’ invitation to community (life under God’s loving reign) it was there- in those communities, that individual, families, and communities were transformed.
So here is my hope and prayer for 2021, the Year of Evangelism in EDSD:
That we will be a community of people for which the good news of Jesus is a reality, and not just an idea…
That we will, through discipleship and the work of the Holy Spirit, become the kind of people from whom good news naturally flows…
That we will seek new opportunities, create new spaces, and find new occasions in which we are able to share our life in Christ with those around us…
…and then invite them to join in!
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