Monday, June 11, 2007

Story Evangelism

I have come to believe that evangelism needs a different focus. I believe we have lost the importance of sharing our story, our testimony to what God has done in our lives. If we are to share the love of God what better way then by giving people a first hand account of the difference that love can make. In a Christian book store I visited the biography section was one of the smallest, with theology and commentary being the other two smaller sections. that was an interesting thing to see when those three are perhaps the most important to understanding our faith.

The "method" I have come to believe evangelism needs to take is to share our stories-- any method or sequence, if it becomes a series, is no longer adaptable to an individual, rendering it useless. God has worked in our lives in incredible ways: we have come to know him through different people and circumstances in our lives. Therefore, we have an opportunity to share something that doesn't need to be proved or verified. Someone cannot disprove your personal experience because if that were possible it would be like proving you don't exist. If I tell you what I've seen, how can you deny it?

The first thing is to gain a base of understanding: a platform to speak from. If we have no foundation to talk, the words we say are empty and worthless. Love should be our foundation and platform to speak from. We should show God's love for the people we interact with and that will give us opportunities to share our testimony with them, and one of the best ways to demonstrate love it to show care for where they have been and where they are going: care about their story. In other words simply listening to what they have to say, and caring about what they have to say, shows that you love them. so Listening is the first step in evangelism, and in some cases the only step. The idea of not forcing opportunities will take you a long way, so if an opportunity never comes up for you to tell your story you don't tell it. You listen and love and that's all.

If you do get the opportunity to tell your story, then tell YOUR story. I have asked a lot of people what the gospel is and they give me the three steps: 1, you are a sinner, 2, Christ died for your sins, and 3, accept him as your savior. This is truth, but the gospel is much more than three steps, and in those three steps there is nothing about how you came to know Christ: how you have walked with him, the difference he's made in your life. Give someone the personal connection to Christ through a personal connection with you. You are in Christ, and He has a way of shining through your life to others. Part of your story involves a Jewish man who is also the son of God. It involves the grace extended to you and your freedom from guilt and shame that is both final and complete. I realize the three step process just turned into a two step one. But, perhaps this new focus will change it from a process to a lifestyle -- to live a life of love for others and letting God's love flow through you.

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