the "E-word"

In addition to the BarlowGirl Bible study I wrote a Bible Study for Interlinc, (YLO 69) I wrote a short article about evangelism in mainstream protestand denominations. The version in the magazine is almost exactly the same -- here's the article I wrote:

Is Evangelism Scary?
Written by Kirk Moore

I’m a pastor in the United Church of Christ. In mainline denominations (think United Methodist, ELCA, Presbyterian Church USA, the Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ) evangelism is often viewed as something that is scary and "too preachy" to actually do. In an attempt to reverse this reality, many denominations have recently developed evangelism tools for churches to educate and encourage believers to share their faith. In the United Church of Christ, a series of articles makes up a resource called "The ‘E’ Word.

I’ve come to understand over the years that evangelism doesn’t have to be something scary or preachy at all. I think that it can simply be sharing the good news of Jesus. Much in the way someone might bubble about a restaurant, film or book, we can bubble about our experience with Jesus. In the same way we can bubble about a great new song, article or Bible study we’ve discovered, we can bubble about how having Jesus in our lives had changed it.

Understanding the simplicity of sharing our story living as a follower of Jesus shouldn’t, however, lead us into a false sense of indispensability when it comes to God’s plan of salvation. I believe that God is completely capable of doing God’s work. I trust that there are times when God works through us. I think there are likely more times where God gets things done in spite of us.

If God can get things done with or without us, then what is the point of evangelism? I think it is that we share our faith not because we have to save the world, but simply because God has told us to do it.
(Matthew 28:19 NCV) So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

It’s part of our nature as Christians.
(John 15:5 NCV) "I am the vine, and you are the branches. If any remain in me and I remain in them, they produce much fruit. But without me they can do nothing.
Just as branches bear fruit and living beings breathe, we share our faith.

Is evangelism scary? Is evangelism preachy? Does it matter? Evangelism – sharing the good news of Jesus, is something we do – by our nature as Christians and by God’s command. And God continues to get things done.


johny b said...

thanks for posting the article, kirk. i agree with you, that we should be "bubbly" like we are when we find a great restaurant of seen a good movie. my question is though, how do we go about it without coming off cocky, or brash, or even "bubbly"?

i am not sure where i stand exactly... i think that i am for more of the "friendship/relationship" style of evangelism.

in my mind, i do not want to offend people... but do you think that the Gospel, in a sense, is offensive?

what are you thoughts?

Kirk said...

Hi johny

I agree with you about friendship/relationship style of evangelism -- and I think a person can "bubble" or happily share something that is important or wonderful to them without being overwhelming or offensive to another. We just tell the story as we've experienced it -- we can do no more or less, I believe.