When I was asking around last year about preaching a sermon series on evangelism, someone told me, “Well, first, you can’t call it evangelism. That word makes people uncomfortable.” Thus was born the idea for the name of the series, “The E-Word.” In some circles—not to mention most Methodist circles—it’s practically a bad word.
Not that the vast majority of Christians think that some form of evangelism is bad idea, but we tend to be very afraid of actually doing it. Many of us feel guilty. We know that Jesus wants us to share the good news, but we’re not sure how. To make matters worse, we’ve all seen evangelism done poorly, and we don’t want to do it like that!
I’ll bet many of us can relate to these words:
People often say to me some version of the following: “I don’t like to push things on people if they don’t want them. I’m kind of introverted, I’m not good at arguing with people, I avoid conflict, and I hate awkwardness in relationships. So evangelism is not for me. I feel guilty that i don’t share my faith. But I feel inadequate, shut down and even inauthentic about becoming an extroverted crusader for God.”
Such sentiments are widespread and debilitating. We feel like a salesperson selling a product that people mostly don’t want. We are shut down because we are going by a script that doesn’t work for us, and we have pictures and practices that don’t fit us or the people we want to reach out to.1
If you can relate, you’ll want to come to Vinebranch this Sunday and next for our sermon series on this challenging topic.
1 Rick Richardson, Reimagining Evangelism: Inviting Friends on a Spiritual Journey (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2006), 18.