In this excellent post, shredding Tribulation Force — the second installment of the Left Behind series — slacktivist has this to say about evangelism:
And so, worried about the eternal fate of his friend’s soul, Buck turns to the classic evangelistic ploy of trying to lure Chaim into watching a broadcast that might tell him what Buck is himself reluctant to say:
“Will you watch Dr. Ben-Judah on live television today?”
Those of us who grew up in the American evangelical subculture will recognize this tactic. We were urged, constantly, to witness to our unsaved friends — told repeatedly that our failure to do so would make us guilty of ensuring that their souls were eternally damned. And yet we feared or hesitated to do so. We weren’t even sure how to go about it if we wanted to. The urgent imperative for evangelism did not come with a great deal of practical advice. How does one segue comfortably from stickball to the Four Spiritual Laws? How does one casually swing the conversation around from Star Wars to the Wordless Book? Our embarrassment and trepidation was compounded by the sense — probably accurate — that such a conversation couldn’t possibly go well. So instead of attempting to fulfill this evangelistic duty directly ourselves we would invite our friends to accompany us to youth group, or to a Christian concert, or to one of the many events organized for just this purpose.
The key sentence for me is that the Great Commission (evangelism, spreading the Word) “did not come with a great deal of practical advice.” I’ve often wondered, especially since I felt the Call in 2007, exactly how I was going to even broach the subject of faith and salvation, let alone discuss it once the ball started rolling.
Hence, I strongly identify (if that’s the correct phrase) with the idea of inviting someone to church with me, so that someone else can preach and talk about Jesus. Except that I’m too afraid to do that! I’m apparently too concerned about what the reaction might be to me even suggesting the idea.
Part of that likely stems from the fact that I count a few pagans and non-religious folks among my friends, and I don’t want to force my religion and/or beliefs onto anyone else (or even seem like that’s what I’m trying to do). At the same time, though, I’m reminded of a story I heard a few years ago, in which a man told his dying wife that he loved her, and his wife responded that if he had truly loved her, he would have told her about the wondrous love of Jesus long before.
I don’t want to hesitate, or somehow be “too late” to tell anyone, let alone my friends.
At the same time, I don’t think I was granted the gift of speaking, or with a particularly bold spirit. I do think I may have been granted the gift of writing…hence Getting Hammered, the blog and eventually book. What I lack in face-to-face nerve, I will make up with lots and lots of print.
Oh, and to those of you reading, would you like to come to church with me?