Rev. Dr. Scott D. Hannon
St. John Lutheran Church, Amherst, NY
Some tribes of Christianity often brag about how bad they are at evangelism. My tribe – Lutheran – is one of them. Lutherans notoriously are afraid (reticent may be a better word) to discuss faith with others. Not all of them, of course… but most, I think.
In short, evangelism is the act of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. It is the spiritual equivalent of the secular and mundane: “what a beautiful day” and “how about those Bills yesterday?!” It is the cousin of: “did I tell you about that new restaurant?” and “you have to try this new diet.” It is akin to: “have you gone to this shop?” and “you should try this product.” When you think something is good and you tell someone else about it, you are being evangelical.
As such, evangelism is not hard or foreign. In fact, it may be the easiest and most natural thing Christ calls Christians to do (far easier than picking up a cross or forgiving people). Nevertheless, sometimes we struggle. And, we make light of it.
I fear that part of the reason we struggle with evangelism – again, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ – is that the world told us we couldn’t talk about those sorts of things. We are not supposed to talk about religion. Or money. Or politics. (Or, I suppose, anything that actually matters.) To do so is rude, they say. And, as the world would be quick to point out… Christians can’t be rude. Ergo, Christians can’t talk about religion, money, or politics. (Keep in mind, the world has permitted and created avenues for all others to talk about all of those important things – like faith, money, and politics.)
So, many Christians don’t talk about faith in public. And, to ease our consciences, we laugh about it.
And yet, Christ compels us… Share the good news.
The good news for us, of course, is that we are ready… and able… and completely equipped… and trained. All that is left for us to decide is whether or not we are willing.
See, we are evangelists. God has programmed us that way. We evangelize for all that we believe in… sports teams, political parties, beauty products, tv shows, coffee shops, restaurants, the correct highway route, and countless more meaningless things. Secular evangelism abounds and we are great at it because that is how God wired us to be. We cannot help but share what we believe in and like. And, that should not stop with religion… no matter what the world suggests.
Now as much as ever, this world is inviting us to evangelize. We are called to embrace our inner “wiring” (nature) and to partake in true evangelism – the sharing of the good news of Jesus Christ.
God did not put that urge inside of you so you could share the good news of the latest sitcom, sports win, or political update. God wired you for true evangelism so you could bring light to those in darkness and hope to those in despair.
Share the good news and do not doubt. Also, do not fear. Rather, be a little rude…, I suppose… you know… in Jesus’ name.
In the Way,
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