You Stink at Evangelism

So last night our ministry assistant was sitting in her car in the grocery store parking lot when a man approached the driver's side window, and knocked. She cautiously opened it a crack and the man threw in a letter and ran away. BOOM! - she just got evangelized! If poorly. I think it's fair to say that this guy stinks at evangelism. I mean, he does get the content right: loving and holy God; sinful and accountable man; the redemption that can only be found through the shed blood of Jesus; the need to repent and believe. Good stuff. And decent penmanship (I give him points for that). But the method is weak. I think an Evangeletter™ could work well (after all, much of the Bible is made up of "letters"), but it would presume some kind of relationship. So here we have a good message, but a flawed method and messenger. And to be honest, that sounds like me. Sure this guy stinks at evangelism, but you probably do too.

What I like about this guy is that he's trying - which is a lot more than most Christians do. He took the time to write a letter explaining the gospel and he gave it to someone. Sure, I want him to start real-life conversations, and build relationships with people, but at least he's making an attempt. And here's the thing - God can use this guy's screwed-up evangelism. Just like he used Wesley's screwed up evangelism. And Whitefield's. And mine. There has only ever been one perfect Evangelist who never misspoke, never used a bad illustration or never unintentionally left people confused about the Kngdom of God. Compared to Jesus, we all stink at evangelism.

And this doesn't freak me out because I believe that it is God who brings a man from spiritual death to life. It is the sovereign grace of our Lord that opens the heart so that people will respond to the gospel. He is the one who causes us to be born again through the word - the Good News. So, on the one hand I know that God does not convert anyone apart from the hearing of the gospel, and yet I do not believe another's salvation rests upon my ability to persuade him. Simply put, we share the gospel (in imperfect ways), God does the saving. And this gives me great hope.

So, Mr. Secret Evangeletter Guy - I am happy that you are working to make the gospel known, and I hope you will work hard to do it in biblically governed, culturally appropriate ways. But more than that I hope the rest of us will be encouraged by your willingness to try.