This blog post was originally posted on Facebook as a note.
Here’s the quote that started this short three-part series on Facebook, as originally provided by my friend, Pat McCoy, from The Way of the Master:
Friendship evangelism that doesn’t seek a way to quickly tell people about their eternal fate is the ultimate betrayal of trust.
I raised several questions in light of this quote, and then I answered my own questions.
I conclude several things at this point, which are as follows:
- “Friendship evangelism” is a valid form of evangelism, even if oral communication is not a factor and one’s own lifestyle is solely the testimony;
- there are non-verbal forms of evangelism, such as friendship evangelism that seeks to befriend nonbelievers and attempt to convert them by being a shining example, but while said evangelism is valid, it isn’t necessarily effective;
- oral communication (personal testimony, informal conversation or debate, etc.) is much more effective as evangelism;
- the Church is charged with the responsibility of evangelism;
- but the role of the individual is still important, even if evangelism is not explicitly required of each and every member within the Church;
- and, finally, the Holy Spirit is ultimately in charge of evangelism, and we need to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading.
While I disagree with the quote, I agree with its overall concern. AndI have to say as well that it seems to me a simple task to have an informal conversation with someone and to put in 50 words or less what God has done in our lives in and through Jesus Christ. Is it really that difficult for us to be so bold in but a few instances in our lives with our unbelieving friends? Are we not grateful? Are we, the Church, not responsible? Are we not concerned? Even if we are not required, each and every individual, we should all participate in the task of the Church to spread the good news, whether this be through formal settings, such as preaching, or informal settings, such as coffee talk. Yes, our actions are important, but the early church combined their actions with their words to effectively spread the gospel. No, you as an individual do not need to go up to everyone and give a systematic five minute spiel to perform the simple task of evangelism. Nor is preaching on the street corner necessary. Instead, be honest, genuine, and open with your non-believing friends and family about your good news and the reason for what you believe and live, and allow the Spirit to create opportunities for you to share.