Published: 9 years ago

Evangelism Is Too Big Of A Deal

My goal for this Wednesday morning is to have three people (or people groups) incredibly mad at me, lining up at my office door with pitchforks, torches, and my effigy hanging from a cut-off tree branch:

  • Every pastor and member of every evangelical church in America,
  • Dr. Reid, my seminary evangelism professor,
  • and Mrs. Henry, my 7th grade English teacher, because I couldn’t figure out what should and shouldn’t be capitalized in this post’s title.

We’ve made evangelism way too big of a deal in the Christian church.  It is bigger than potlucks, bigger than church politics, and bigger than a student ministry’s 24 Hour NinjaThon BananaRama Dessert Night and Lock In Jamboree.  Outside of the church, it’s become a bigger deal than our family relationships, our weekend recreational activities, and our workplace chatter.

And that’s the problem.

When evangelism creeps into the realm of the “big deal,” it becomes something we’re scared of.  It becomes a topic that is relegated not just to the back burner, but to that little portable propane burner that you took on a Boy Scout camping weekend when you were in middle school and now is chock full of spider webs and fossilized centipedes.  Big Deal Evangelism means that we avoid the topic just like we would avoid selling our I Heart Rush Limbaugh bumper stickers in the middle of a Kennedy family gathering or how we would avoid saying to a woman, “So tell me about your upcoming elective surgery.”

It’s just not done.

I think that evangelism should no longer be a big deal.  I think we should make it a part of everyday conversation and integrate it into everyday life.  We talk freely about who won the brackets or what we’re doing for summer vacation…why shouldn’t the most important relationship in our life get the same kind of casual, everyday approach?

In case you’re not catching the irony, evangelism is an incredibly big deal.  It’s the biggest big deal you can imagine.  Life and death and all eternity hangs on the hinges of evangelism.  But talking evangelism (i.e., sharing the gospel) should be second nature to the believer.

There are some people in your circle with whom you need to practice No Big Deal Evangelism.  Who’s it gonna be?

And I’m sorry, Mrs. Henry.  I know I should have said, “To whom is it gonna be?”

 

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8 Comments.
  1. kim davidson says:

    good good stuff. Hopefully Doc won’t be too mad. And this is something I don’t do enough – thanks for the reminder.

  2. Cliff says:

    Second nature or just nature? And how can someone *work* towards just being natural? By stopping, culling, quenching, removing all that is *unnatural*.
    I really appreciate what you have to say here, and wholeheartedly agree with the spirit of the message, but even talking about it like this edges it into “big deal” territory.
    The issue isn’t evangelism, it’s Jesus – it’s whether or not we believers have a personal relationship with Him. If we do, then when we talk about Him and the gospel, it’ll be just as natural as breathing. All we have to do for this to occur is simply *be* – and that’s all we ever can be, and that’s all God ever expects us to be. Jesus isn’t keeping a tally of how many people we evangelize – why should we? He’s not up in heaven, nor is His Spirit in our hearts concerned about whether or not we talked about Him today, but whether or not we know Him personally, and are we striving to know Him better? Out of *that* is where the heart speaks.

    • Danny says:

      Cliff, I think you and I are on the same page, with one small exception. Your statement “He’s not up in heaven…concerned about whether or not we talked about Him today,” dismisses the intent of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20. A good, everyday translation of “Go ye into all the world” is “As you are going…” In other words, Jesus assumed that the Christian would also be an everyday evangelist.

      Again, I think we’re 97% in agreement, but where I would disagree is that we have to constantly do a gut check and remember that being a consistent witness is a spiritual discipline, just as is Bible reading, prayer, scripture memorization, etc. If we are never talking about Jesus, then that is very, very unnatural for the mature Christian.

  3. Cliff says:

    I agree with you there too, but where do you see the line between intentionally living for God’s glory and legalism/image management?

    And again, as Christians – is the root issue us evangelizing, or us knowing Jesus personally?

    And if never talking about Jesus is very unnatural for the mature Christian, what does that say about a Christian who never talks about Jesus?

    And then how much talking about Jesus does it take before a Christian is counted as “mature?”

    • Danny says:

      I’d simply point to a passage from scripture:

      1 Cor. 10:31-33 – Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glroy of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they might be saved.

      I’m not sure where you can pull legalism / image management out of this. It’s not about what other people see me doing; it’s about what I’m commanded to do in scripture. And I don’t argue that the root issue is knowing Jesus, but that doesn’t remove the discipline to evangelize – not so Jesus will love us more, but because Jesus has loved us so lavishly.

      (…and if I were to answer your last question, well that would smack of legalism, wouldn’t it?)

  4. Cliff says:

    This is why I like you, Mr. Franks.

  5. Blair says:

    Great post Danny! =)

  6. Jon Reid says:

    Part of evangelism being such a big deal is it freaks Christians out. We break into a sweat, stutter, and work up the nerve to say, “Would you be interested in reading this study together?” Non-Christians can smell the fear!

    This morning I posted “14 Reasons to Stop Evangelizing Your Friends” http://jonreid.blogs.com/oneanother/2009/04/14-reasons-to-stop-evangelizing-your-friends.html
    and I am expanding on reasons 1 and 2.

    You don’t have to be manipulative to be intentional.

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