Sane Evangelizing 101

In response to my post Evangelist or Ego Driven Meddler?, a reader asked if I had any tips on how to keep your ego in check while evangelizing. As it happens, I wrote a whole book on that very matter (“I’m OK–You’re Not“) … so, yes, I do.

My first Big Tip would be not to “share” your religious convictions with anyone who hasn’t first asked you to do that. Your strongest passion cannot change the fact that no one cares what someone whom they don’t know thinks they should do with their own heart and mind.

If you want to share your religion with others, do something much more difficult than simply “witnessing” to people from out of nowhere: become so excellent a person—so thoughtful, so kind, so respectful, so honorable a person—that sooner or later the people around you—the people who know you—are moved to ask you about what makes you tick. Then you can talk to them about your religion. Insisting that someone share with you something they haven’t indicated they want is the most efficient way to make whatever you’re trying to share seem even less appealing.

The only exception to this is if—as was notably the case with Christ’s first disciples—you know the person to whom you’re talking has never heard of Christianity. Then, ego or not, have at it. Here in America, however, where it’s a safe bet that virtually everyone you meet has already heard and knows about Christianity (and can certainly, through a trillion free, easily accessible information streams, find out anything more about it that the Holy Spirit moves them to), I think it’s best for all of us who believe in Christ to remember that the proper function of a witness is to answer questions.

Related post’s o’ mine: What Non-Christians Want Christians to Hear and Are the Great Commandment and The Great Commission Incompatible?

Show me love by joining my Facebook page here.

Share

Print Friendly

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • http://mindgrazing.wordpress.com Jason

    Very cool post, I wish a lot more of us Christians would follow your message of sane evangelism!

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Jason: Thanks a lot. I get a lot of flack for saying what I have here—as simply sane as it seems to me to be—so I appreciate your support of it.

  • http://mindgrazing.wordpress.com Jason

    I'm sure you do, especially from the strong "Evangelical" Churches. Kind of ironic, eh? I think your message would really be appreciated in some of the more mainline denominations like Methodism, Lutheranism, Episcopals… Traditionally we haven't had a huge outpouring of evangelism, but maybe that's because we haven't quite found the right way to approach it.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Jason: You're exactly right: I get mucho love from Methodists, Lutherans, and Episcopalians. To be perfectly honest with you, 99% of the criticism I receive comes from people who pretty much right away make it very clear they haven't actually read what I've said: they're responding to that they THINK I've said So … I mean, you know: What can I say to them? They're not listening anyway.

  • mcoville

    Ok, here comes some "flack". I will say I agree that we should never let our ego run the show and we should never force someone to talk to us about our faith, but if I stand in the middle of a room and say "Who wants to talk about Jesus?" and some one volunteers, would it be wrong for me to continue the conversation? I would never chase someone down the street and tell them about Jesus as they try and run from me, but if I am on the street corner and someone stops to discuss (read: debate, argue or heckle) Jesus, religion or the origins of life, where am I wrong to continue the discussion?

    I will admit I would prefer it if non-believers walked up to me and said "what is going to happen to me when I die?", but they don't. I didn't when I was unsaved and no one else that I know of has.

    Keep up the good work and fighting the good fight.

  • http://suddenlyatheist.wordpress.com/ morsec0de

    "but if I stand in the middle of a room and say “Who wants to talk about Jesus?” and some one volunteers, would it be wrong for me to continue the conversation?"

    I can not think of a faster way to empty a room.

    And I don't say that just as an atheist. Even when I was a Catholic, unless at a specific Church function, talking about Jesus felt awkward.

    "I will admit I would prefer it if non-believers walked up to me and said “what is going to happen to me when I die?”, but they don’t."

    The problem is that you are another human being, and the question is one that no human being has the answer to. So I wouldn't ask you that question any more, I would imagine, than you would ask me.

    Anyway, great post John. You're still the nicest Christian I know. Even when you make fun of me. ;)

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com skerrib

    Aw come on, Morse, let's talk about Jesus!! :)

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Mcoville: Thanks for the gracious tone and words of your response. And you raise a good point about the guy in the room who takes you up on your offer to talk about Christ. But here's the thing: the person who took you up on your offer to discuss Christ was clearly already interested in Christ; clearly, the Holy Spirit is already awakening in that guy. That means he's going to learn more about Christ, whether he learns it from you or not. You're just adding to something that's already there. Which is great. Except that by standing up and asking if anyone in that room wants to talk about Jesus, it's a guarantee that you pushed FURTHER away from Christ everyone else in that room. So you, in that situation, necessarily do more harm than good. Instead of helping Christs' cause, you hurt it.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Morse: Oh, no! Tell me I never made fun of you! That is soooo not my style. If I did, I totally apologize.

  • mcoville

    Continuing the gracious tone… I guess my view is this, if they are going to be offended by a human talking about Jesus, how much more will they be offended by the teachings of Christ himself? Sadly wide is the way and many are those that will follow it to hell and I feel it is my responsibility, and the responsibility of every Christian, to grab as many of them as we can and put them on the narrow road to Heaven.

    I do realize that many Christians may feel uncomfortable with talking to people about Jesus but I am more uncomfortable with watching people going to hell with a smile on there face. If you believe that there is a heaven then you have to believe there is a hell, and it is inhuman to let anyone around you to go to hell without given them the option of hearing about the grace of Jesus. I think Christs' cause is better served when someone hears about his death on the cross then by them seeing me being nice.

    Man this post seems angry, sorry about that. I do appreciate that many Christians live good lives as examples of God's grace on Earth. Unfortunately our modern American culture makes it hard for someone that has a small tinge of interest in God to find answers because they will be ridiculed by those around them. A lot of times I find that I get a lot of thanks from those I talk to about Jesus, when they allow me to. I would say a good rule of thumb is to introduce the conversation and then only talk with the people who are willing to stand there and listen. If people around me in that crowded room I mentioned before get pushed away from Christ because I mention his name, then they are not going to approach anyone and ask about Jesus. So I am not hindering their salvation by looking for the one that the Holy Spirit has started working on and giving them a helping hand.

  • http://billphillips.wordpress.com/ Bill

    Mr. Shore,

    It seems to me that you're so worried that people will like you that you will hide the gospel from them until they come right out and ask. And this is supposed to not be ego driven? You're willing to place your popularity above these people's eternal good. It seems to me to be completely ego driven.

    Thanks,

    Bill

  • http://mindgrazing.wordpress.com Jason

    mcoville, I think most people in America have heard the message of Christ's death in one form or another, as John said. What hardens people's hearts to Christ is the actions of His followers. You're correct that there is a lot more hostility and ridicule in this toward our faith than there was, say 40-50 years ago. However, many people have seen a significant disconnect in Jesus' message of love and the message of intolerance and dogmatism that many Christians preach.

    I don't think we need to be in "spreading the word" mode as much as we need to be in "walk the talk" mode. Now, does that mean we all have to be holy and just like Jesus in order to restore Christianity's reputation/message in the world? Of course not; it's actually impossible. But what we can do is forgive and show grace, mercy, charity and love to those who hurt and offend us in this world. I think if Christians actually demonstrated that we have learned Jesus' teachings then we will make a much larger difference than if we just focus on "evangelism" in the traditional sense.

    mcoville, the very fact that you're entering in thoughtful and respectful dialogue shows you're probably way ahead of many of the "bible-thumpers" that many people have come to loathe and distrust. Thanks for your input!

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Bill: I could care less if "people" like me. I want the people I like and respect to like and respect me, of course. But, trust me, I could care less what someone I don't even know thinks about me. My post didn't have anything to do with whether or not anybody likes me. It had to do with what's best for Christ.

  • Latoya

    Brain up and functioning again!! yeah!!

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Latoya: I was wondering if anyone was going to say that. I shoulda known YOU would!

  • http://mindgrazing.wordpress.com Jason

    Bill, the Gospel is more than mere words. If we just talked about Jesus all the time, and did nothing that demonstrated our learning, our words would be empty and useless. Actions first, words later.

  • http://timbob.wordpress.com/ timbob

    Greetings. When I meet another, or encounter one that I know well, I continuously look for windows of opportunity to bring up Jesus. It will oftentimes be in incremental steps, such as when one begins talking about the economy or political developments, I''ll mention how what they're interested in relates to bible prophecy. Sometimes the door gets shut, but sometimes it opens the way for further dialogue.

    Most importantly, however, is to be guided by the Holy Spirit in all things. This will sometimes entail saying something that seems inappropriate from our vantage point, but will be the needed word for the situation. (I wish that this was as easy as I make it sound)

    The truth of the gospel is of utmost importance. All that we do and all that we say, should be be done toward gathering unto Jesus.

    Very thought provoking post. Have a most blessed day in Jesus.

    timbob

  • mcoville

    Jason: Has anyone ever come up to you and asked about what makes you tick?

    I always go back to the great commission in Matthew 28:18-20 "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

    Jesus said that we need to teach them to observe all things he has commanded. He does not say to demonstrate all things he has commanded. Now let the battle of Bible verses begin.

    I would like to note that I love the label of "Bible Thumper" and have considered legally changing my name to Mr Bible Thumper. But when thumping people with the Bible I do it with a smile on my face and love in my voice. I do not thump anyone to check it off my list of things I have done for Christ today, or to make myself feel better, I do it because I am concerned that they are heading to hell and I would rather live with them for eternity in heaven. And if I do not tell me the truth of Jesus' sacrifice then the only knowledge of Christ they will get is what they hear in school or on TV and that is not the TRUTH of Christ's love.

  • http://www.steppingintothelight.net Diane L. Harris

    The way I see it, there's a difference between being an evangelist and being a witness for Christ. The difference is invitation.

    Evangelists seem to preach, invited or not, to everyone who will listen, for the purpose of winning converts. Witnessing also aims to convert–the aim of all Christian activity should be to win others to Christ. But, strictly speaking, a witness for Christ just as a witness in court, waits to be questioned and then answers the truth based on his or her knowledge and experience.

    Answering questions from seekers is not all there is to witnessing, however. I try to remain aware daily that every word that comes out of my mouth, every joke I laugh at, the way I dress, my use of courtesy, my smile, all represent Christ to the nonbelievers around me.

    Our Savior has entrusted us to spread His good news until He returns. Nothing else we do as Christians means as much. Don't keep the gospel to yourself.

    There are as many ways to communicate Christ's message as there are people who need to hear about Him. Comfort the comfortless, visit the lonely, answer the questions of a seeker, give away a Bible, teach a class, write about your own experience so the curious can be brought closer to God. Take time to show people you care about them. And do care about them. As you live your busy life, don't get too distracted to smile. People will ask why you're so happy, and then you can tell them, "Jesus."

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    mcoville: but, see, the difference is that when Jesus told his disciples to go out and spread the word about who he was and why he'd come, NO ONE had heard of him. THEN it was absolutely crucial for the very survival of Christianity that people evangelize about it. That's hardly the case today. NOW when you evangelize to people (certainly in America, anyway), you're talking to people who already know about Christianity. That means you can relax about it. The Great Commission in America has been fulfilled. Now seems like an especially good time to stop worrying about fulfilling the Great Commission, and start worrying about fulfilling the Great Commandment.

    He said, again, totally knowing, again, that he was wasting his time…

  • http://suddenlyatheist.wordpress.com/ morsec0de

    skerrib,

    You mean Jesus, my Spanish professor? Good guy. What do you want to know about him?

  • mcoville

    First I will agree that we have a responsibility as Christians to live a clean and sober life. We should be a role model for those around us and we should demonstrate to everyone around us that is only with Jesus that true happiness can be had.

    But are you telling me that Americans are going to learn the truth about Christianity through TVs, Movies or School teachers? I can speak from experience that what Americans learn in the secular world is nothing close to the true story of Jesus. It was not until I was blessed enough to fall for a Christian girl that I went in to a Church and someone cared enough to tell me about Christ. In the Army I was in the same barracks room as the chaplain's assistant and his good living did nothing but lead me to make fun of him as I went out drinking every night. His kind words did nothing but lead me to ridicule him as I went to the clubs looking for sex. Maybe if he cared enough about me to tell me about Jesus I would have known the truth many years sooner.

    The great commandment is "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment.’" and I know no other way to show my love for Jesus than to sacrifice my time and my comforts on Earth so that I can tell others of his grace. This leads to the second great commandment: "'The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'", what more love is there than to show someone the way out of hell?

    I hope that you do not get a feeling that I am angry with you or anyone on this blog by my disagreements. I love and respect your work and think that you are doing God's work on earth. But if iron does not sharpen iron we will get dull. All I say here is with brotherly love and no matter what the outcome of our discussion I will look forward to seeing you in heaven.

  • http://mindgrazing.wordpress.com Jason

    Diane, I really like your differentiation between evangelism and witness. Nice thinking!

    Mcoville, I don't feel any need whatsoever to get in a war of bible verses with you. Anyone can make the bible say anything they want to if they pick the right scriptures.

    Usually people ask me, "Dude, what the heck is wrong with you?" but that's a whole different topic ;-) I have actually had people ask me why I did one thing or another like giving a homeless guy a sandwich or whatever, and I tell them that that's the way I act because of my religion, talking a bit about how I see things from my Christian world view. However, I rarely tell anyone, "You know, Jesus says…"

    Why would anyone follow our teachings from Jesus if we could not demonstrate that we have adequately learned them? That's why so many people are hostile to Christians in America. I would never take anyone seriously who tried to teach me something if they could not demonstrate their knowledge of that something. I'm pretty sure Jesus said many more things than to go and spread the word. Among those was most likely something having to do with loving one another and taking care of one another. How can we expect someone else to adhere to Jesus' teachings if we have not shown them living proof that those teachings are good?

  • mcoville

    Jason: I do not disagree with you. We should demonstrate all the teachings of Christ. Thats why we should not ignore the ones that make use feel uncomfortable. Again I agree with you that anyone can make a Bible verse say anything they want to when they take it out of context, but in context the teachings of Christ in the Bible are easy to understand. If you feel I am twisting scripture, read the verse in context and see what it says.

    One thing I would like to touch on in your comment is that I find it hard to classify my relationship with Jesus as a Religion. Whenever someone gives me kudos for doing something well I tell them "I am only able to do this through Jesus". I would not want a religion to get credit for me doing something good, the credit should always go to Jesus.

    And to answer your last question: "How can we expect someone else to adhere to Jesus’ teachings if we have not shown them living proof that those teachings are good?" We can't. In return I would ask How can we expect someone else to know the teachings of Jesus if we don't tell them?

  • http://billphillips.wordpress.com/ Bill

    Mr. Shore,

    You say you don't care what people think about you, but your whole theory explained in this post is that people must so admire you that they can't help but ask why you're so great.

    In the post, you said, "become so excellent a person—so thoughtful, so kind, so respectful, so honorable a person—that sooner or later the people around you—the people who know you—are moved to ask you about what makes you tick. Then you can talk to them about your religion."

    Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding, but you want people to like you so much that they ask you what makes you different. I just don't see how you can deny desperately wanting people to like you. What am I missing?

    Thanks,

    Bill

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    The part where you're open to what I'm actually saying.

  • mcoville

    Come now John, why so snarky sounding? I think Bill had a very valid point and I would like to hear the answer to that. Don't worry, if you don't like the answer, maybe you should be the one asking that very question. I have never thought of the opinion that you need to live a good life before someone asks you about what makes you special as an egocentric idea before, but thank you Bill, it makes perfect sense. I just thought it was from a fear of being ridiculed, but for some it may come from an uncontrollable need to be liked by others.

  • http://www.sheppardministries.com Greta Sheppard

    You always hit the nail on the head, John! Need I ask your permission to put this blog in my blog? Seems I always get your notification at the end of the day, after everyone else has replied. Perhaps you do not go back to read late ones?

    Thanks anyway for today's brilliant wisdom. If only all christian's would get it!

  • http://mindgrazing.wordpress.com Jason

    Mcoville, I also agree with a lot of what you're saying. Perhaps we're both thinking that it's a BOTH/AND argument instead of EITHER/OR. Yes we do need to demonstrate Jesus' teachings and yes we do need to tell people about it when the timing is right.

    I agree that God and His relationship with us through Christ definitely transcends religion. Perhaps I could have worded that section of my comment a little better :-)

    Bill, isn't it possible that some people could ask about someone's motives because a lot of Jesus' teachings are kind of counter-intuitive? Freely forgiving someone who has wronged you does not seem like the standard idea of justice. Sacrificing a significant portion of your income and GIVING IT AWAY is hardly a fiscally sound thing to do. Giving to the needy, comforting the sick, and sheltering the homeless without receiving compensation isn't a very popular thing to do. Waking up early on a Sunday during football season??? Perhaps someone who doesn't know much about Christ would think us quite weird and ask what in the heck we did all that stuff for…

  • http://danielgurtner.com/blogger/ daniel

    The answer to Bill's question would be that it's not about wanting people to like you…you can be so excellent a person—so thoughtful, so kind, so respectful, so honorable a person without trying to get people to like you. The motivation is not for that put rather for becoming that person, and ultimately becoming more like Christ.

    Once people see a change or difference in your lifestyle, weather they like you or not, sooner or later they are moved to ask you about what makes you tick. Then you can talk to them about your religion.

    I have had people come up to me and ask that very question. I didn't want them to like me as much as I wanted them to want what (WHO) I have: Christ.

    My motivation for becoming that person is not because I want people to like me; I want to be that person because I believe I've been created to become that person, among other things.. If I my motivation were for people to like me, I would not have taken that route, trust me, because for some reason not everyone likes that kind of person…weird as it may sound.. – I actually got fired from a job for being too happy!

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Daniel: Thank you; I was hoping someone would step in and field that one.

    Jason: nice job

  • http://billphillips.wordpress.com/ Bill

    I'll summarize how I understand your position. You want to be an excellent person, in order to glorify God. We can agree on that. You're supposing that not volunteering the gospel is part of what makes you an excellent person. Being an excellent person is what will cause people to ask you why you're excellent, giving you the opportunity to present the gospel.

    But, you've already stated that you don't care what people think about you, which would indicate that you don't care whether they ask you for the gospel.

    If I held to your whole theory, I would desperately want a lot of people to ask me for the gospel, which would mean that I would have to be really cool and well-liked. I guess that's where my misunderstanding came in. You don't actually care whether anyone asks you for the gospel.

    Maybe I'm still misunderstanding, but to be brutally honest, I think this is the sissy way out. I don't see the godly men in the Bible pulling punches. They spoke the truth in love. I want to be like them.

    Regardless of whether we're commanded to share the gospel, no one could stop me from sharing it, because it's the greatest thing that's ever happened to me and the world. I'm not sure how excellent a person I would be if I habitually withheld the gospel from people. Thanks for the conversation.

    Bill

  • http://inkstainedpaws.blogspot.com casey

    ugh, john- I agree that Most everyone in america has heard of christianity; and that if they wanted to know more- then yes they would volunteer if someone asked to talk about Jesus.

    I also think that everyone else in the room would either run for the hills, stay quiet (like me)or be nosy and listen to the conversation- then get into a pissing match about what god really meant.

    second- "you can be so excellent a person—so thoughtful, so kind, so respectful, so honorable a person without trying to get people to like you." that does not have much to do with religion. Its the reason you are that person that matters. Obviously some people are like that because they are very faith driven, and their faith tells them that its important.

    Others are like that to get noticed. And popular. (those people can also hide behind religion)

    still others are this way not because their religion tells them too; but because its the right thing to do.

    3rd- "I feel it is my responsibility, and the responsibility of every Christian, to grab as many of them as we can and put them on the narrow road to Heaven." mcoville…..

    why? what happened to freewill? What happened to freedom of faith? Why is it your responsibility to make sure I go to heaven? What if I want to go to hell? Or…. god forbid, What if I dont believe in your god, and so by participating in your religion; I have just turned my back on my god and so am not going to be reincarnated correctly- but instead I'm coming back as an ant?

    And while i'm still paying attention- what makes you think that people now a days care about what happened to some random guy millions of years ago? Wouldnt they care more that you held the door open for them when their hands were full? or john let them go ahead of them in the grocery line; even though he had 2 things, and they had 20. Or that Morse stopped in his car long enough to let that guy turn, while no other cars were coming, but that made him have to stop at the red light now. Isnt that more important?

    I'm not saying that you should stop talking about god. If I were; trust me, this heathen wouldnt be on this blog or reading John's work.

    All I'm saying is there is a time and place for religion. And if some has had an extremely bad day- hearing "Jesus loves you; but youre going to hell!" Well, that tends to put off the message, upset the receiver, Shoot the messenger, and ignore the sender.

    Witnessing isnt bad; the tone and message seem to get confused in most cases. Maybe picking your battles instead of fighting them all. Maybe when some one has a bad day- listen. then just "god works in mysterious ways." Let them come back to you. I havent heard of a case where someone delieved gods message in one breath and succeeded. But I've heard of a lot of failures. Maybe witnessing is supposed to take more than 1 discussion.

    I think it would be more effective if John, for instance, listened to his followers, and offered advice. But if all he ever does is quote the same message, do you think any one would listen to him?

    Sorry for the long post John…. I tend to go all long posts sometimes. Oh, and I would personally like to thank you for increasing my knowledge about freaky animals right now- because I just got done with making my evolution project and I used your Aye-Aye! lol

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Bill: Wow. That wasn't even anywhere remotely near my "position." I mean … not even almost close. My fault, I'm sure.

  • mcoville

    Casey: "why? what happened to freewill? What happened to freedom of faith? Why is it your responsibility to make sure I go to heaven? What if I want to go to hell? Or…. god forbid, What if I dont believe in your god, and so by participating in your religion; I have just turned my back on my god and so am not going to be reincarnated correctly- but instead I’m coming back as an ant?"

    Where to begin, well lets use an earthly story to illustrate (and yes I know that analogies break down so please bare with me). If I saw someone walking down the street listening to their iPod and enjoying life, but they where heading towards a busy road with enough cars that he would certainly get hit and die, should I allow that person to enjoy their music knowing they will die or should I interrupt their life, knowing they may get mad at me for ruining their favorite song, so that I can stop them from going the wrong way and saving their life?

    I know that this is not politically correct but if your on this blog you should be prepared for this next thought. I am certain that if you die without the gift of salvation from Jesus, no matter what god you worship, you are heading towards eternal death in hell. It sucks when you put it that way, but sometimes the truth hurts. Knowing that those within hearing distance of me maybe heading to hell I feel a sense of responsibility to tell them that they don't need to go to hell and that Jesus can give them the key to heaven that they need.

    As for free will, you have the free will to listen to me, to believe what I am telling you and to choose to follow Jesus to heaven. You also have the free will to enjoy this life on earth as much as you can and go to hell in the end. I can not force you to believe in Jesus, I can not convince you that he is real and above all I can not forgive you of your sins and allow you to go to heaven, only God can do those things and he will only do them with your free will decisions.

    Ok, I know I am preaching here and that if you are a saved Christian this is not new to you to hear, and if your an unsaved heathen that is happy in their sin that this sounds ridiculous to you. But I promise you it is the truth and if you make the decision to follow Christ that he will open your eyes to see and your ears to hear.

    Last point. To clarify what I am saying in regards to John's original post. I agree that we should not chase people around and force feed them the Gospel. I agree that we should be examples of Jesus' goodness on earth for those around us to see. But I have to disagree that we should not talk to someone about Jesus unless they ask us without invitation to. I believe it is our responsibility as Christians to give others the opportunity to ask us. Wither it is me wearing my John 3:16 tie at work, or leaving a Bible on my desk for visitors to see, or better yet if it means I walk into a crowded room and yell out "I am looking for someone to talk to me about Jesus!" and then see who steps forward to discuss God. We need to be more blunt with opening the door for someone to talk to us about Jesus than just living right and waiting for them to notice.

    God bless you all, amen and thank you for you time.

  • Dan Harrell

    John, if everyone read the book I'm OK you're not, or UnChristian, the message would be clear. Most so called Christians cause people to tune out and turn off, and run screaming from any overt discussion of God. Couple that with how most Christians act, and you get a good case for letting Jesus have the saving part, and us having the loving part.

    Most Christians I know struggle every day with their nature. I stopped wearing a cross ear ring because I didn't feel I represented the cross as well as I should.

    I still struggle with the "Love God with all your hear mind and soul and love others as yourself" every day. I still have doubts about Christ and God that I examine every day when I lay in bed at 3 am and think about life and the end of life.

    Great post John, as always. My hope is that people actually read the words and think about them outside their comfort zone.

  • http://danielgurtner.com/blogger/ daniel

    Bill,

    The point is about volunteering the gospel or not, but about sticking it i someone's face without them being remotely interested in hearing what you have to say.

    The reason why they ask you is because they can see that you're living the gospel.. they can see that the kingdom of God is inside you and has spread itself out over everything in your life; your work/school, finances, relationships, church etc…

    I volunteer the gospel to anyone who asks for it, but I will never try to shove it in their face, ie. volunteering to them without them asking for it..

    They already know about Christianity, what they don't know is how it applies to their life and how "..the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory…"(Colossians 1:27) looks like. You have to live it first by example…

  • http://danielgurtner.com/blogger/ daniel

    Sorry, i meant "..The point is *NOT* about volunteering the gospel or not.."

  • FreetoBe

    Thank you John….haven't read all the comments yet, just wanted to thank you for (again) writing this. We currently have a Bible study going on about the Acts of the Apostles and the leader is INSISTING that Acts 1:8 is the MOST important verse of the whole Bible…."THE GREAT COMMISSION." As if nothing else matters. I have been putting in my feeling that God wants us to LOVE (Him, each other, and others) before GOING, but it's not getting through to this person. ARGH!!!! Anyway, I will continue to love first, then share. I think you definitely have the right of it.

  • Candace

    I attend a fairly conservative, "bible-believing" church. It's an evangelical bunch. Tough stuff is said pretty much every Sunday from the pulpit.

    In the small-group Bible study I attend, we're talking about the balance between grace and truth right now. An elder leads it, and everyone who attends (except for me) has been Walking The Walk for decades.

    In discussion tonight, even these folks agreed that debate-like, Bible-quoting, confrontational evangelizing (different from witnessing) without a) being invited, or b) speaking within the context of an established relationship of some sort, generally does more harm than good.

    I emphasize that the people of this group, and my church in general, are quite conservative as a whole. But they are nonetheless closer to John's position on this than to some of the commenters recently (blog wide, not just this thread).

    Just wanted to toss that out there.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X