Most evangelism sucks!
Ok, that may be sound a little bit harsh generalization, but I believe it’s true! Most evangelism sucks because they are therapeutically good but theologically not sound. They are man-centered not God-centered. They are so superficial not incarnational. Evangelism day is a kick-off event for so many than a life style. William Temple the late Archbishop of Canterbury wrote: ‘To evangelize is so to present Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, that men shall come to put their trust in God through him, to accept him as their Savior, and serve him as their king in the fellowship of his Church’. We have to face it; the message of the gospel is more than “God is doing something huge” kind of sermon. I don’t think the New Testament God is vague on this. He sent His Son to die. R. C. Sproul said, “The Gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness – or lack of it – or the righteousness of another. The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.” The message of the gospel is serious!
Evangelism is not an option. In fact, it’s a mandate. It is not a system that we adopt but it’s a truth that we should live out. The motive should not be winning people for the sake of church membership but for a God-honoring and purpose driven life. And the purpose is not to enjoy the darkness but to reveal God’s glory as the light of the world. Evangelism will never get easier because we adopt, change or focus on various techniques. Evangelism is a grace-based passion and caring for people. Passion and caring has nothing to do with technique but a heart. God doesn’t concern about our “evangelism techniques” but our availability and passion. I think we have gotten far away from what evangelism is all about. Personal opinion but I believe it’s true!
Why most evangelism sucks?
I will tell you why. We know what people want to hear, so customize the gospel according to the interest and characteristics of the people we want to address. We assume what works and what not. As the result we have a gospel-plus-something evangelism and our “techniques” make sense to us than the gospel. However, Paul and many others did evangelism in a very straight kind of preaching. They just go out and proclaim. They were concerned much about bringing the glory of God through their preaching than methodology. But, the way we do evangelism often times is superficial not radical. Our evangelism is not properly planned and it’s poorly delivered. We urge “unbelievers” to love Jesus, to follow Jesus, to accept Jesus, and to worship Jesus but we don’t even live out these truths in our lives. There is no power in our messages because there is less truth in our lives.
Evangelism is how to share Jesus with Passion and Compassion!
I know there are so many kinds of evangelism ideas in the modern Christianity. Not all of them are bad but most of them are sucks. Our evangelism is more about how to entertain people through popular music, drama, so-called spiritual dancing and various arts, self-help and non-confrontational preaching, and very superficial not scriptural teaching. The concern is more about the people’s felt needs than what God wants from people. The concern is not whether God will be glorified but will people be satisfied. Let’s forget about our customized innovations and be concerned about the gospel. The gospel is not for sale, it doesn’t need our advertisement.
Evangelism is about sharing Jesus with passion and compassion. What you share is a person not a product. The gospel is about a person. Evangelism begins and ends with this person, Jesus Christ. And, He is the content and object of the gospel. Disciples, not converts, are the goal of evangelism. We need to be operating with passion and motivated by compassion. This is not to doubt the effect of our approach in evangelism. But, we should not be focused on our mechanisms but His grace. Our words, and actions will take us half-step in the process but it is totally the work of the Holy Spirit. The goal in evangelism is to bring a person closer to the person of Jesus Christ who is already drawing by the work of the Holy Spirit. “Evangelism is the discipleship of the pre-converted man” as some one said. God doesn’t reach the Jews through signs and wonders and the Greeks through wisdom. “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:22-24 ESV)
God doesn’t give us what we want in order to save us. He doesn’t give us “toys” to save us through the gospel. That is the modern day church gospel; the gospel of ME! The gospel of ME is basically man-centered and it is about how YOU can be the best person you can be, it’s about your bolster self-esteem, it’s about your dynamic relationships, it’s about solving your financial crisis, it’s about you and your needs.
However, God is passionate about His glory and He is taking the gospel seriously. The true gospel is about our total helplessness and need. We are sinners. We are God’s enemies. And we are need of a savior. God gives us what we need and what we need is the gospel. The gospel is about the person and the gospel is a person. We need this person, Jesus Christ, above all for satisfaction and justification. And evangelism is nothing but sharing this Jesus for the sake of Jesus. Don’t try to find ways to succeed in evangelism just share the person of Jesus Christ. Praise be His name!
Eyob B Kassa
July 26, 2012