Time for some honesty here. I’m not so sure I want to evangelize–at least if I’m thinking of an old-fashioned, Bible-thumping kind of approaching everyone to find out if they’ve given their life to Christ. That fills me with dread and fear. Dread in offending them. Fear that they’ll have questions I can’t answer. Fear that they’ll look at my Christian life and find it wanting, unconvincing, and unappealing. I know how far I am from being conformed to the image of Christ, that I wonder what I really have to offer. Of course I must remind myself that more than offering myself, I am offering Christ and he doesn’t fall short.
That being said, I’m trying to be more sensitive to those times when I know the Holy Spirit is prompting me to ask a question…or offer hope…or reach out in friendship. Or has Bill Hybels has taught, just a walk across a room to start a conversation.
I’d like to think that evangelism is just for those who have been gifted and are called. But I know that’s not true. I have been gifted with teaching skills and I find joy in the opportunity of using those gifts in my comfort zone of teaching Sunday School at my church. I also know I’m being stretched for the purpose of stepping out of that comfort zone.
Years ago I gained an interest in apologetics to try to disciple my father. He was a skeptic, but also a seeker. He was “churched” and a lifelong Methodist–but he’d never accepted the idea of a personal savior, his views tended to be universalist, and he bought into almost every heresy I’d ever heard about. He was an engineer and very analytical. He literally mapped out the genealogy of Bible just to prove the inconsistencies. If he’d spent as much time choosing faith as he spent trying to counter it…well who knows. The good news is he did come to it in the end–the very end.
That led me on a journey to try to find ways of answering skeptics. The last few years I’ve taken as many of the RZIM courses as I’ve had time to. I’m learning and stretching and gratefully participating in forums where it’s safe to share ideas and reshape areas where I need a greater understanding. Most of the time I feel way in over my head, but I’m guessing that sentiment is widely felt…so I’m in good company.