Makes some shudder. Some cringe. Some smile. Some remember.
Whatever the case, the word tends to produce a definite response in most.
And for many that response is one of discomfort.
Perhaps this is because some immediately think of a slick televangelist, complete with a sobbing wife, imploring us from a TV screen to repent (Oh and to send your check to following PO Box).
Or some from the "discomfort camp" may say that faith is a personal matter and one shouldn't force their views on someone else.
On the other side of the coin, the word evangelism can evoke positive notions in some.
Like me, for example. When I hear the word, I think of a couple of teenaged girls who loved me with their lives when I was my most lost. They cared for me and stuck with me, and eventually I understood why: They were loved by Jesus and they loved Him back. They simply wanted me to know He loved me too. In it's simplest form, this was evangelism. And I will forever be thankful to Diana and Carrie for literally loving me into the arms of my Savior.
I don't know where you fall? Does the E word make you cringe? Does it bring back a very important memory? Or does it convict you, b/c the E word simply isn't something you pay attention to?
Whatever the case, I want to offer you the best definition of Evangelism I have ever heard. A definition that forever changed the concept for me.
A couple of years ago, I caught the tail end of a radio interview on Air One. Sadly, I don't even know who was being interviewed, except that she was a contemporary Christian artist. Her words have stuck with me, though. (I'm not even sure the words are originally hers. I've tried to find their source, but failed. Just hate that I can't give props to someone).
This is what she said:
"In this world, we are all beggars. Christians just know where the bread line is."
Isn't that evangelism in a nutshell? ...showing someone else where the bread line is? Showing someone else WHO the bread line is??? John 6:48
I know, without a doubt, if I saw someone on the street dying of hunger, and I knew where they could be fed (and NEVER go hungry again) I would literally drag them there. There wouldn't be a question in my mind. I would drop everything to connect this person in need to a source of nourishment. Who wouldn't, right?
Then why is evangelism so hard? Why do we complicate it, and make it so many things it's not? Why do we hesitate for even a second to take others to the only place that can meet their immediate need?
When I first went to that breadline, some 20 years ago, I left with a full spiritual belly. But that's not all. I also left with a new identity...(click here) In Christ I Am, and an all access, 24-7, 365 day pass to the Bread of Life.
I will never go hungry again.
God pursued me, this much I know, and I know he used 2 young girls to get me to the front of that bread line. Wonder what my path would've looked like if they hadn't taken the time to show me there?