What do you think of evangelism?
Do you think of the people standing on the street corner handing out pamphlets telling you how to accept Jesus as your savior?
Do you think of those guys dressed in those ugly polyester suits sweating away preaching about the coming kingdom of God then inviting everyone to come forward for an altar call?
Do you think of high pressured salesmanship?
Do you get a nervous twitch thinking that being a good Christian means going up to complete strangers and telling them about your own personal relationship with Jesus?
As I was growing up these were my understandings of evangelism.
As you can tell none of my understandings of evangelism evoked really good positive feelings.
I have like many people inside and outside Christianity, grown up with a very negative view of the word evangelism.
And yet here I am, as a pastor in a church. And as a pastor of a church one of the top requirements of my position is to be an evangelist.
So how do I reconcile this conflict? How can I be a pastor and come to a place of having a positive attitude toward evangelism?
Well, I forced myself to study up on evangelism. And as I forced myself to study up on evangelism, I discovered that somewhere along the way that people had corrupted the original intent of the word evangelism.
It's amazing how freeing this was for me as I took a second look at pursuing a career in ministry.
I discovered evangelism is not based on some cold impersonal salesmanship of the Jesus product but it is instead a very warm real relationship with people of this earth who share together a very real relationship with the Savior of the world (Jesus Christ).
I believe this type of phenomenon happens frequently in our world. People begin to have a negative association with a world, they then place that word in the trash and call it politically incorrect never to pick up the word ever again.
But instead of placing a word in the trash of being politically incorrect what would happen if we redeemed a word or redeemed many words and put them back into circulation using them in the way they were intended to being used?
I think then we would really begin to change hearts and lives.
For me once I dusted off the word evangelism and accepted the true meaning of the word evangelism I then came to terms with the fact that God was really and truly calling me into ministry as not only a pastor but as an evangelist.