Editorial

Organic Evangelism

By

A good friend of mine, while a professor at Alliance Theological Seminary, decided to write a book about personal evangelism. He asked his students to help him come up with a title. Among the few colorful suggestions was Sharing Your Faith Without Losing Your Lunch. Witty, yes—but also reflective of the anxiety many of us experience with the notion of telling others about Jesus.

We mean well. We see the brokenness of those around us and imagine how Jesus’ restorative embrace can infiltrate fortressed pain and ignite unimagined hope. Armed with a bold, foundational “I-am-not-ashamed-of-the-gospel” proclamation, we vow, “Today is the day!” But somewhere between the doorstep and the sidewalk, our human nature and our crafty adversary conspire to convince us that we will be rejected and ridiculed by friends, neighbors, and coworkers for promoting a belief system many perceive to be exclusive and judgmental. And whether or not we want to admit it, we defy our foundational proclamation.

Maybe we should consider a more disarming approach by stepping out of the minefield and into the meadow. I’m not advocating spiritual pacifism here. A clearly articulated presentation of the gospel must always be a part of the plan. I’m merely suggesting that, based on the raging hostility and pandemic grief that characterize our times, we consider trading our sword for salve and shifting our evangelistic melody from “Onward Christian Soldiers” to “It Is Well with My Soul.”

Christians today must exhibit a love that contradicts common bitterness and exude a peace that defies worldly turmoil. Rather than argue the gospel, we must seize the small opportunities to interject well-placed, love-laced, Spirit-prompted truths. Others will then see in us something that satisfies their souls’ deepest yearnings. And when they lose their footing in the storm, Christ in us—and ultimately in them—will provide solid ground and safe shelter.

In my many years as a story gatherer, I have heard hundreds of creative ways people have found to initiate relationships that allow the gospel to germinate organically. Fishing fellowships. Hunting clubs. Scrapbooking weekends. Lumberjacking projects. Even cattle inoculations. An Alliance worker in Japan surfs and shares Christ with local businessmen; a new Alliance believer in Thailand tells everyone she meets about Jesus’ lavish grace and mercy; and an Alliance church in Florida planted for current and recovering addicts introduces them to their Deliverer. Celebrating common passions and walking together through shared struggles are the foundries where evangelistic opportunity is forged.

1 response to Organic Evangelism

  1. “Speaking of Jesus: the Art of Not-Evangelism” and “Adventures in saying Yes – A Journey From Fear to Faith” are two excellent books from Carl Medearis. Carl shares his experiences with Muslims in the Middle East and how he learned that they were willing and open to talking about Jesus. These books, both quick reads, re-energized my desire to seek opportunities, not for ‘evangelism’, but to tell others about Jesus.

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