Title: Failed Evangelism?
Author: Harry Rhodes
A friend told me that his 21-year-old daughter, let’s call her Angela, had a bad experience sharing her faith recently. Angela is a quiet young woman who works in a fast food restaurant. She decided to share her faith with one of her co-workers. Her sharing was rejected. Her co-worker’s response devastated Angela, and at her next break she went to one of the empty tables and broke down into tears. To her surprise, her co-worker walked over to her table and asked her if she was crying because of what she had said. Angela was surprised by the question, and she denied that her friend’s response was the cause of her pain.
When it comes to sharing our faith, Angela’s experience could well be our worst fear. But are there some lessons to be learned from her story?
First, we may imagine the response to our sharing the good news, but the actual response may be quite different. As Angela prepared for her first time sharing her faith, a significant event in her life, Angela may have imagined what her co-worker’s response would be. I doubt that she imagined an outright rejection.
Second, just because the response is different from what we hoped for, it doesn’t mean that God is not at work. Despite the immediate rejection, the co-worker followed up. What if Angela had admitted that her co-worker’s response was the reason for her anguish? Would a dialogue resulted that would have given Angela an opportunity to understand and address her co-worker’s objections?
Third, the fact that the co-worker came over to check on Angela indicates that she was concerned. That concern arose out of their relationship, and a relationship is a prerequisite for a meaningful sharing of the good news.
Fourth, outside of church, when we are sharing our faith, we are not preaching a sermon; starting a dialogue is what we should hope for. A rehearsed speech may open the door, but a conversation where the importance of our faith is shared is where change occurs. It is important to listen, truly listen, to the other person so that the sharing becomes a dialogue, not a monologue. Who knows what wonders God will work through that dialogue.
But remember, nothing will happen unless you start the conversation.
A Note About This Post:
As Christians, we have Good News to tell! Formerly known as the Evangelism Committee, the Good News Team invites the Virlina District into a discussion around sharing our stories about evangelism. Between now and District Conference, we will be publishing a new story each week, or thereabouts. Written by members of the Good News Team, the stories recount experiences of when the members told or showed the Good News to others. Evangelism is not just about asking a person about his or her faith. It’s not just about going door to door inviting people to come to church. The Good News of Jesus is told through our words and actions, and its impact is often unseen and unknown by those who share it.
Do you have a story to share? Would you like more information about evangelism, or do you have questions for us? We invite you to check out our exhibit at this year’s District Conference!