Evangelism Without the Angst

“Have a normal conversation. …a normal conversation about life, sports, family, who has the best French fries, whatever. Somewhere along the way, a problem with a child, a health concern with a family member, or an issue at work will pop up. Just offer this: Would it be OK if, when I pray, I include that in my prayers?” - Lifeway


….is that you can do this even in places where overt “hand out a tract and speak on a street corner” evangelism is prohibited. I also have some interaction with the teens in my church, and they really struggle with “hand out a tract”. “Be who you are”, on the other hand, they (and their leader) can do.

In my little world, I get to interact with people from all over, and it’s wonderful to have the chance to hear the struggles of someone from India, Singapore,Israel, England, or Mexico and pray for them. Yes, it happens. I hate to say it, but “thank you, ‘rona.”

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

An emphasis very much missing in the church circles I’ve served in most of my life: think of unbelievers as human beings who are interesting and important in their own right rather than just targets for gospel bombing. James 1:19 is applicable here. What if we started out doing a lot of listening—not just as a “well, I’ll do this for a bit so I’ll get my chance to say what I want to say,” but with the goal of understanding better.

If you’re thinking “Well, unbeliever. What is there to understand?” Exactly who I’m talking to. :-) Imagine there is much to learn, put your curiosity hat on and expect to be surprised. You will be.

In the end, you’ll have better things to say because you actually know who you’re talking to and you have a connection and have earned the right to be heard. But I think “earning the right to be heard” should not be the conscious goal. It leads to poor listening, which is just about caring and respecting a fellow human made in God’s image.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

“I’ll pray for you” is a good thing to say and do and listening to people and developing relationships is important but we need to be careful not to confuse that with evangelism. Evangelism is actually telling people the good news.