Thinking Out Loud

March 9, 2017

Evangelism Hesitation: Scared Wit-ness-less

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 10:18 am

On Sunday the pastor asked people to name the first words which came into their heads when they hear the word evangelism. There were more than a dozen responses, which he wrote in two columns, positive and negative. The negatives were:

  • It’s scary
  • I don’t have enough knowledge
  • I don’t want to appear pushy
  • I have zero confidence
  • I’m afraid of rejection
  • It’s become politically incorrect
  • It involves crossing personal boundaries

But then he went on to explain that in past months he’s been on a new diet and he’s lost a lot of weight, and as a diabetic, he has not needed insulin (which is very rare to say the least) and how easy it was to share that story with four people last week, while at the same time we struggle with finding ways to introduce Jesus in to a conversation.

Six of the seven concerns listed have to do with fear. Afraid to be politically incorrect, to cross boundaries, or just plain scared. Only one, knowledge, is something a person could resolve easily if they were motivated. But even on that score we’re told, “freely you have received, now freely give.” The man Jesus healed of blindness says, “I once was blind, but now I see.” Perhaps we make it harder for ourselves when we know what we don’t know.

The fear factor seems to be something that shouldn’t be there. We have the promise, “I will never leave you…” so we’re not alone. We have the promise that “God is our strength…” so we can summon the courage. We have the promise, “Open your mouth and I will fill it;” and “God will give you the words…” so we need to be anxious over the content of our verbal witness.

I remember years ago Randy Stonehill said, “We got the hottest news on the rack.” If people are drowning, we can throw them a lifebuoy. If people are dying, we have the medicine. When friends, neighbors, relatives and co-workers hand us a clear opening, why do we hesitate to jump in?

We need to embellish the concept that we are qualified to help people get through whatever situation they find themselves in. Let others be afraid to cross boundaries, or not want to appear pushy. Like a trained emergency responder, we can arrive on the scene and tell people, “I am here to help you.”

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