Would You Like to Hear More? - A Relational Approach to Evangelism

When it comes to evangelism, Christians struggle with two major issues, both stemming from pride.  We have  a tendency to think we are always right, especially in spiritual matters, and we are not willing to humbly discuss what we believe.   Instead, we jam our beliefs down people's throats.  We're too in the face of others about our faith all of the time.  I understand that we deeply care about people getting right with the Lord, but the way we behave in going about convincing people that the Lord loves them and has a plan for their lives is completely the wrong approach.  Our actions often do more harm for God's cause than good.

Last week, I was at the park with a friend and our kids.  A woman was there, and we struck up a conversation.  I don't introduce myself as a pastor.  As a matter of fact, I try to keep that a secret.  When people find out that I am a pastor, they usually begin to act differently around me.  My friend shared that I was a pastor.  She replied, "You aren't going to be preachy now, are you?"  I jokingly retorted, "I save that for Sunday."

It saddens me that the reputation of Jesus' people, especially pastors in His Church, is that we are preachy.  We have done something wrong in living out the message of love, non-judgment, and grace that Jesus taught when someone's response when they heard that I am a pastor is that they want to make sure I am not going to preach at them.

It is a struggle to balance our witness for Jesus while respecting people's personal space, their convictions, and their lives.

I recently heard the story of a man who was an aspiring musician in the early 90s Seattle grunge scene.  You know the scene that gave us Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and others.  Well, this guy would always go to parties, drinking, doing drugs, and the like.  But there was always this other guy there, and he would just be drinking a Coke.  Eventually, the aspiring musician decided to ask the guy why he came to all of the parties if all he did was drink Coke.

He walked over to the guy and asked, "Darrell, why are you here?  You don't drink like the rest of us.  You don't sleep around.  You are not partying like the rest of us.  What are you doing here?"

Then he replied, "Do you really want to know?" 

"I wouldn't have asked if I didn't want to know," was the response of the aspiring musician.

"Well, you see, I am a Christ follower.  I follow Jesus.  And I believe that if Jesus was around today, he would want to be here, with you guys, hanging out.  Would you like to hear more?"

The aspiring artist said that he would like to hear more about this Jesus who Darrell was talking about.  From that time on, the aspiring artist wrestled with following Jesus, and eventually surrendered his life to Him.  A little non-intrusive evangelism can go a long way.

Peter wrote:

"In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:5).

Would you like to hear more?