I’m a fairly outgoing person. There are very few places I don’t feel comfortable. To me, people aren’t strangers but friends I haven’t met yet. It sounds corny I know, but it’s true. I think I can talk to anyone about anything. That isn’t because I know a lot of things but because I like to learn what other people know. I like people.
That doesn’t mean that I am always comfortable with everything that has to do with people. I was in Bible College when a friend of mine told me about this course called Evangelism Explosion. At first I thought that was a dangerous name. I didn’t know if I had to tie dynamite to me or them. He told me that they go door to door and ask people if they knew whether they were going to heaven or hell. I think the question goes something like this, “Hello, my name is Dave. If you were to die tonight would you go to heaven or hell?”
Can you imagine doing this in a high crime area? I imagined scenarios that ranged from me getting shot as an intruder to people throwing money at me so they didn’t find out right then and there. That style of evangelisms makes even an outgoing guy like me nervous.
I don’ think there are many people that like to doing evangelism that way. There is a better way.
What if we replaced the word ‘evangelism’ with ‘love’? All we have to do is keep our eyes, ears and heart open to the opportunities God puts in our path. Does the person you meet seem to be saying one thing with their lips and another thing with their face? Does someone look lonely? Do you have something in common with them? I have started conversations on topics from t-shirts people were wearing to the kind of haircuts they had. No dynamite and no scary questions on the front door step.
This type of evangelism is for everyone. Whether you’re an extrovert or introvert, biblical scholar or a newbie, you can do this.
This doesn’t mean that love-led evangelism is easy. It is a dangerous business. Just ask Jesus. Look at what perfect love cost Him. It is costly and uncomfortable, but it is ultimately easier to start a friendship than to approach a complete stranger with scary questions.
Instead of going out to evangelize with our programmed questions and scripted approaches, why not go forth in the unpredictable rhythms of love and grace. We go out and live our and make friends. Let the Holy Spirit speak to them through our loving and caring actions.
You will be amazed at the doors God opens in the name of Love.