I have serious issues with evangelism.
In my early 20’s I attended an english speaking Bible School in Germany called Bodenseehof. It was a deeply meaningful 11 months of my life that has helped shaped my faith to this day. One fine evening a few of us went to a thing. I don’t even know what to call it. I think it was a concert or something put on by a group of highly evangelistic young adults. We were in a large room packed with people. It got to the point in the evening where the speaker asked us to close our eyes and accept Jesus into our hearts if we hadn’t done so already. As we all had our eyes closed the speaker asked that those who had just accepted Jesus into their heart to please raise their hand so we he could pray for them and encourage them anonymously. Encouraged by this, I looked up to see who was putting their hands up. To my shock, the speaker was identifying people in the room, but nobody was actually putting their hands up.
I have heard others share similar experiences. There-in lay my issue(s) with evangelism. I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t want to be the guy that lies like that. I don’t want to be the guy who aggressively pursues the souls of people while completely violating the integrity of the relationship. You know, the awkward moments in a conversation where he or she will drop a ‘Jesus saves, you don’t want to go to hell do you?’ moments. I worry that the moment I speak of Jesus, and give narrative to what God is doing in a particular time and place with someone they will straight up place me the category with that guy. It’s awkward. It’s unfortunate. It has been really dogging me lately.
Healthy evangelism is important. I worry that the word evangelism has been given baggage that completely castrates what it actually means. I wonder if it has consequences on people actually doing it. I worry that tons of people don’t want to be that guy or girl to the point that evangelism is not something they would even consider. We see this in the Anabaptist world. Stuart Murray calls this tendency ‘quietism.’ It’s problematic because in being quiet we cease to give voice to the story of God. If we don’t do it, how will people know of the beautiful story of God?
That is my confession. I just don’t want to evangelize.
How about you?