Christian evangelism has entered new waters in this our modern world. In some ways, it is easier to share your beliefs…with the advancement of technology, particularly the Internet and social media. And in many ways, it is harder to be received, not least because those who do not want to hear your message know how to tune you out or sift through your content. While a few still practice street and door-to-door witnessing, for many reasons, most people are deterred from utilising these avenues for more strategic and time-effective approaches.
In our efforts to spread the message of Christ, how far are we willing to go? Do ethics form a hindrance to how we pass our message across? By that I mean to ask, are there certain places you just shouldn’t try to preach with words but with your lifestyle, maybe like your office, cinema or someone’s wedding? Are there certain tactics you should avoid…like shock tactics (radical, strange, uncompromising behaviours), hell-terrorising (putting the fear of hell in their conscious mind) or flirty-fishing (trying to win people over by adopting their lifestyle, and thus compromising some fundamental beliefs in order to win their souls)? Or does anything really go, as long as Christ is preached?
I think the vast majority employ a tactic that makes them quite ineffective and unimpactful…basically they don’t evangelise at all. They may only mention their faith when someone asks them (if that ever happens, maybe for some formality). People may only know they are Christians during Lent, Easter or Christmas time. They may practice the “live and let live” philosophy, and believe their ministry is simply for people to see Jesus in them by living a good, upstanding life that is tolerant of others…and their sins. You know, because Jesus mingled with sinners too…and you mustn’t judge, only love.
Others may be more proactive in their evangelism. They may feel a burden to tell someone about Christ, maybe once a week…maybe after a challenging sermon in Church or the communion. They may even have a burden to bring a family member, friend or colleague to Christ, and may seek out opportunities continually to talk about their Faith to those people. But rarely do they extend such courtesies to strangers, except maybe to invite them to their Church. They don’t want to impose their beliefs on others. They don’t know what their relationship with God might be, and don’t want to presume or judge. They may trust (read “assume”) that another Christian is already on the mission field for them…so they are comfortable minding their own business.
Yet others are much more diligent in their efforts to preach the gospel. They may find a way to bring Jesus into every conversation (or as much as possible). They may write regular social media messages and/or articles to draw attention to people’s need for salvation. They may take to street-preaching, evangelising on public transportation, going door to door, or even taking advantage of crowds at public or private events.
They may be actively involved in some sort of ministry to serve the lost, sick, poor or oppressed, and also use these as avenues to preach. They may use daily news as opportunities to raise awareness in their office or anywhere they go, where they can strike up conversations with colleagues and strangers alike. They will be well-known for the beliefs they hold, and are either avoided, or become the go-to person in times of deep searching or crisis.
With this range, we have the cold, the lukewarm and the hot (in my opinion, and in varying degrees). As much as we are all called to be witnesses of God, we have our different strengths and different methods that suit our personalities and should also bring glory to God. During different phases in our lives, we may move between these degrees of evangelism (particularly in times of crisis and jubilation), but one may be more predominant/habitual than others.
However, there’s another category that doesn’t quite fit with these three. That is what I like to call the Christian Crusader (super-hot?). This type of evangelist is the most aggressive and the most offensive in his/her methods, seeking to alarm others into changing their way of thinking and possibly accepting Christ. They are known for their beliefs wherever they go, and seem to always be on a campaign or at war for the Kingdom. They may frequent blogs, forums or chat rooms to engage others in debate or discussion about their Faith. They come across very judgmental of others, and so they slay people in their path by their words…losing many but saving some. But this is okay to them, because few are chosen.
They save some because there are some people who need the hard word to get into line and get out of their comfort zone. There are some people who respond to their authouritative approach, who need the discipline their approach lends, and even find them inspiring. But many are slain, who take offense at their approach, and discard them as unloving and unChrist-like. Though they may boast of imitating Christ’s disdain for hypocrites and lukewarmness, those seeking to see Christ’s grace and love will be offended by their witness. However, the greatness of their opposition convinces them of their genuineness in imitating Christ, so they are never challenged to apply a softer hand.
Would you say crusading is an effective method of witnessing or evangelising, or is the saying that you “catch more flies with honey” relevant for Christian witnessing too? Does the method really matter? Do you think all these types can work together to bring a united witness for Christianity, or do they show varying degrees of commitment, passion and/or understanding of the Spirit of Christ? If there is a most dangerous method, would it be the cold, lukewarm, hot or super-hot evangelist?
What method of witnessing do you employ, and why? Do you think your method has been effective in bearing fruit, through the saving of souls? Should we be concerned about the quality of Christians (fruit) a method produces? Which method might churn out more quality Christians, though they may be less in quantity? Lastly, what style of witnessing worked for you (in your conversion to Christianity)? If it isn’t mentioned here, please feel free to enlighten us. Thanks for reading and commenting.
PS: When last did you tell someone about Jesus? Maybe you should do so today 🙂
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