Reclaiming Jesus’ way of ‘Evangelism’

May 15, 2010 — 1 Comment

Jesus and Zacchaeus

Insights often come in threes. Everywhere you turn, you hear the similar challenge or reminder. This week it was in counseling a new Christian, a conversation with a son, a column by the President of the Covenant denomination of which we are a part.

Our American brand of Christianity has often made evangelism about method-sharing instead of life-sharing. So here are three anecdotes about evangelism.  [Literally the proclamation of the ‘Good News.’]

1. A new Christian wants to tell the whole family about the changes in her life. I share an old definition. “Remember, it’s like one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.” Let them realize, “Something’s different; what is it?”
2. My son, Stephen tells of a conversation with a skeptic and the important conclusion that hit him: “I realize that cynicism is usually rooted in a story of  brokenness, not in a thought-out argument; our role is to share our stories that are rooted in hope!”
3. Gary Walter , Covenant Church President in his column, Compass Bearings, is reminded of the essence of evangelism:  “…help those who are far from God hear from God what he wants to say to everyone… “I know you. I love you. You were meant for this relationship.”
Click Here to read Gary’s excellent article: Joining Jesus in His Mission.

This is not the time to shy away from sharing Good News. It’s also vital to keep learning  Jesus’s way of doing it.  Stay tuned!

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One response to Reclaiming Jesus’ way of ‘Evangelism’

  1. 

    Threes, indeed, Lyle, and good points all. Thanks for the good and right thoughts. But across the years of my faith walk, I have had a notable complaint–an embarrassment, really–with the ineffectual and off-putting, impositional intrusions that most often pass for Christian evangelism–individually and collectively. It shames me and my faith.

    But you have touched on the heart of what we are called to: continually seek a deeper, indwelt experience of Jesus as Christ, and then let it be the nature and example of our Lord that leads us and speaks through us. We are called to make our lives a continual “learning [of] Jesus’ way of doing it.” And whenever we feel the sense of personal ownership of the success or failure of an interpersonal exchange, whenever it is not sensitive, kind and thoughtful about where the other person is and his personal experience, whenever it is merely formulaic and not caring, even loving, it is we who are acting–and for our own reasons–but Jesus, our Lord, is not there.

    And we know it whenever this happens, whenever it goes right, and whenever it goes wrong. We can learn from our own errors and personal motivations, but we can also more comfortably, more trustingly, just let Jesus speak and act through us and for us.

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