Is it time to redefine evangelism?
How do we find balance as we attempt to redefine evangelism? It is shown beautifully by Christ Himself in Acts Chapter Eight when He said, “You will be witnesses unto me, first in Jerusalem, then in Judea, and Samaria and unto the uttermost parts of the world.” Here, Christ shows the biblical balance between missions and evangelism. We must do both. But, our priority should always be on evangelism. Notice He said, “First in Jerusalem.” The term “first” denotes priority. It does not belittle the others. They are important too. It only prioritizes Jerusalem. We are responsible for reaching the whole world but not at the expense of neglecting our own community. When we get things in the right priority, it enhances the whole. Think about it. The more people we reach in our own community and add to the church, the more resources we have to reach other cultures for Christ.
On the mission field, great effort is put into presenting the Gospel in a way that is relevant and tailor-made for any given culture. We should embrace the same principle here at home. We are living in a day when “hard sell” evangelism seldom works. Business people understand what that means. Hard sell is when you say I have a product. If you want it, you must come to where I am on my terms, at a time convenient to me and you can have it. This is how most churches operate. We spend our time trying to figure out a way to get people into our church. We want to reach them in a way we feel comfortable with. We want to reach them on our terms and on our schedule. If you can come to our church at our predetermined times and find Christ the way we dictate then you have a chance. Everybody else is just hard out of luck. How arrogant! No wonder people are suspicious. We might be better of to consider what sales people would call a “soft sell” approach. We are saying to people in our community we will come to where you are and do it at a time convenient for you. We will not be dogmatic, intrusive or demanding. In other words, we will consider your feelings. I have a heart to bring true evangelism back to the local church by mobilizing people to reach their community. This is done primarily by connecting with people based on similar interests. This non- conventional approach is much softer and I feel much more effective today.