who are you: rethinking evangelism.

Hi. Again it has been awhile, and I apologize. I’ve been working two jobs and finding time to think about things outside of methods of teaching and Chick Fil A has been a challenge, and it will only become harder as the fall approaches.

This post might be hard for some of you to read, it might be challenging, or it might anger you. 

A few weeks ago I spent 4 and a half hours talking to one of my coworkers from Chick Fil A (Hi Sharon if you’re reading this). It was wonderful. It was a great talk and I look forward to when I’m able to do that again. In the four and a half hours we talked about a lot ranging from stories about Chick Fil A to Southern Alabama and lots of other things I honestly don’t remember. One story really bothered me though.

She told me about one day after work when she was sitting with a group of my coworkers and a woman came up and asked this question “Do you guys know if you’re going to go to heaven or hell after you die?” The question took the table aback and some responded with “I hope I’m going to heaven, I mean I’m a good person” etc. The lady then began evangelizing to my coworkers for about 20 minutes telling them about Jesus and heaven and believing and faith.

When I heard that story I was so angry it wasn’t even funny. It reminded me of when I went to Wrigleyville with a few friends and I was handed a “Get Out of Hell Free Card” stating that Jesus will save me from burning in hell if only I believed in him.

I find it hard to accept a way of evangelizing that makes those who even have faith feel guilty. I also find it hard to accept that some random woman coming up to a group of Chick Fil A workers preaching the Gospel with her words and preaching judgement with her actions is an acceptable way to bring people to Jesus.

It broke my heart to know that her lack of grace and understanding more than likely pushed every one of my coworkers further from Jesus.  

Why must we as Christians feel this obligation to preach to people we don’t even know?  I am a strong believer in the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit’s ability to convict, but when we take the Holy Spirit’s power into our own hands and rely on our own intuitions, I’m pretty sure we do more harm than we realize.  Do we feel like better ‘Christians’ when we walk up to random people and hand them a “Get Out of Hell Free Card”?  Random people who you don’t even know their names? Do we some how get the satisfaction that “I’ve done my part to evangelize in the world, and therefore I’m better than those Christians who don’t evangelize at all”?  

I understand there is passion with Christianity and when you first become a Christian there is a fire to tell everyone, this isn’t what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about the lack of Grace and lack of desire to actually understand people in the church today.  If anyone knew some of my coworkers, they would know that that kind of action to “evangelize” to them wouldn’t work at all.  In fact it made most of them angry.  

My question for you is, who are you to tell people what they should believe and why they should believe it?  Who are you to judge someone immediately by their response to you question of whether they are going to heaven or hell?  Who are you to assume that people hanging out in Wrigleyville are going to hell and are in need of a “Get Out of Hell Free Card”?  The problem with this way of evangelizing is there is too many assumptions about people and their lives.  Where this type of evangelizing might have worked 20 years ago, this generation will not respond positively to that.  Maybe we should rethink our thinking and learn to love those around us as opposed to throwing our beliefs on them.

You are a Christian, but you are also a human.  A broken, sinful Christian who is saved by grace alone.  A Christian who occasionally messes up, lacks faith, doesn’t trust, doesn’t believe, doesn’t love, doesn’t care, doesn’t desire Jesus enough, doesn’t seek Jesus enough, sees the world through human eyes just like everyone else.  The only difference between you and a non Christian, is your faith.  Although that faith is a HUGE deal, it doesn’t make you any less of a human and more of an angel.  Jesus’ blood saves you because of you’re sinful.  Nothing you can do will ever make you less sinful than you are.  Not even evangelizing to random humans who you don’t even know their names.  

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