Yelling at Strangers

Jay Adams has a guest post over at Matthew Paul Turner’s blog on evangelism.

As my church will be doing a sermon series on Evangelism, this post was of interest. I don’t yet know what my pastor will say, but I do like that one of his topics will include how not to evangelize.

Many of the points Jay brings up are thoughts I’ve had myself. I don’t fully agree, but feel that the arguments are valid ones.

(In full disclosure, I am an evangelical, although – ala the Car Talk guys -many evangelicals wouldn’t want to hear me say it; I have been a few mission trips; I’ve written several mission sketches; I’ve done mime in a public park acting out how the cross restores broken hearts… Wait – can you forget that I told you that I did mime in public?)

I’ve always been curious as to why most evangelism projects that I’ve run across eschew Biblical models of evangelism.

I’m all for created spaces for evangelism; no one attends a Billy Graham Crusade and then is offended that the event advertising G-d talk actually talks about G-d. But that is a completely different thing to bull-horn, drive by evangelism.

I’ve also wondered how leaving behind tracts somehow is thought of as a replacement for proper behavior -like tipping a waitress – rather than thought of as supporting proper behavior.

(Side note: if we really wanted that waitress to treat our tract seriously, we would leave it alongside a 40-50% tip – that would get her attention in a positive way. But then again, that would cost us, and a side benefit of this style of evangelism is that it doesn’t cost us anything…)

Come to think of it, shouldn’t all words about the saving mission of Christ be an ancillary to Christ like behavior, rather than a replacement?

Jesus commands us to love and serve a whole lot; he commands to preach a couple of times. Do we need a priority check before we hook up a microphone to a portable speaker and try to drown out the young lady fifteen feet away trying to get through a chorus of “Rolling in the Deep?”

Of course, many organizations will point to the prophets as their inspiration for yelling at strangers.

But the prophets, with occasional exceptions, were preaching to the church, not to strangers.

And I’ve yet to run across any ministry, especially not evangelicals, that have appreciated being publicly scolded about how G-d disapproves of their actions.

Any who, that’s my thoughts.

-Sean

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