Let’s be frank. I go out every single day and ask people what they believe about their world, about life after death, about the existence of God, about the person of Jesus Christ. I go out every single day and do evangelism. Really, truly, evangelism. A word that used to scare the crap out of me (and sometimes still does). A word I thought was reserved for men preaching crazy things on TV on Sunday mornings. A word I never wanted anything to do with. A word that now describes my every day life.
Every. Single. Day.
Lately I have been thinking about why I do what I do. How do people define evangelism? What does the Bible say about it? Wait, how would I describe it?
“Evangelism is the preaching of the Christian Gospel or the practice of relaying information about a particular set of beliefs to others with the intention of conversion.”
“The spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness.”
“Zealous advocacy of a cause.”
All of these things would help to explain the concept of evangelism to someone who has never before heard the word, but they just scratch the surface of what we as Christians are called to do. Here is what I have come to understand after a year here in Uruguay where somehow, someway, I ended up with evangelism as my job.
It’s so much more than arguing and convincing people that logically there are two options: either the universe is eternal or an eternal God exists that created the universe and there has to be something to start the universe because it’s illogical to think that something can come out of nothing and…… It’s not about philosophy or reason. Yes, we read in 1 Peter that we should “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have”. I am not saying that these things don’t have a place. I know that some people are seeking and these arguments could just be the thing that convince them to follow Jesus. That’s great! Please, may we be aware of why we believe what we believe. May we be people who understand philosophy and logic and math and science. May we be educated students of the world around us, but may we also remember that it is God who draws us in and God who will give us a new heart and put a new spirit in us; He will remove from us the heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh.
It’s even much more than the Bible verses we memorize about evangelism or the obligation we may feel to convert others in order to be a good Christian. Again, please let us study the Scripture. Let us trust that the Bible is God’s flawless, pure, and trustworthy word for us. May we be aware that we are all commanded to go, all told to make disciples. May Paul’s example and testimony impress upon us the great calling we have to declare the mystery of Christ. May we be encouraged to be ambassadors for Christ, reconciled to God and now carriers of the ministry of reconciliation. May we be challenged by the way Jesus lived his years on earth, preaching truth boldly everywhere He went without hesitation.
But may we remember that in all of this, evangelism is simply telling others who Jesus is for us personally. It is proclaiming the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness and into his marvelous light. I quickly realized that I need to meet with Jesus in order to do my “job” because evangelism is so much more than a command. It is a way of life, a way of inviting others into this freedom and joy that we experience because we know Jesus. Evangelism is inviting others into this wild story of scandalous grace that God has for every single one of us. May we be people who live out this invitation.
“Porque por gracia sois salvos por medio de la fe; y esto no de vosotros, pues es don de Dios; no por obras, para que nadie se gloríe.” -Efesios 2:8-9