|Evangelism, Love as the Key to
Evangelism, Love as the Key to
by Rubel Shelly
Published in LoveLines (Jan. 26, 1994)
Evangelism: The Critical Element
Have you noticed how churches seem always to be in the process of revamping their evangelistic programs?
Who should be in charge? Do we need to have a specialist come in to do a seminar? Do we need some new titles in the tract rack? Does radio still work, or should be pay the high-dollar price for TV? And what translation of the Bible should we have in our pew racks?
Some churches still believe in the effectiveness of annual gospel meetings. Many others simply go through the motions of such events, knowing full well there hasn't been a case of genuine soul-winning in their church for two decades.
What I have called instances of "genuine soul-winning" are those in which someone is led to Christ who was not already a member of some family in the church. For the most part, churches seem to be baptizing only their own children — and some aren't even doing that.
"But aren't these children precious to the Lord?" someone protests. "Shouldn't we be concerned about their salvation?" Absolutely! Each one of them is not only dear to God but to all of God's children. But their baptisms are instances of maintenance, not evangelistic outreach. We are evangelizing only when we are reaching beyond ourselves to people who don't know Christ.
So what is the strategy we should adopt? What set of tapes should we buy? What preacher should we invite? What pieces of literature should we distribute? In which newspaper should we place an ad? These are often mere distractions to evangelism. None of them is the critical missing element.
So what is the key? Maybe the story of Mamie Adams at the post office will help you understand. She always bought her stamps at the same branch. There to buy stamps just before Christmas, the line was particularly long. Someone pointed out to her that there was no need for her to wait in line because there was a stamp machine in the lobby. "I know," said Mamie, "but the machine won't ask me about my arthritis."
The issue for Mamie when buying stamps was not speed and efficiency. It was personal contact and some evidence of minimal human interest in her. The same thing is true in leading people to Christ.
You don't need another training class. You already know enough to tell someone what to do to be saved. Otherwise, how did you become a Christian? If you are not gifted to teach, you can always involve someone else to do it. But your best beginning strategy is simply telling someone of the difference Christ has made in your life — someone who knows you care for him or her and in whose life you have made a positive difference.
You see, the key to evangelism is not techniques. It is sincere love for lost people. And love is not a Thursday night strategy for soul-winning. It is a fruit of God's Spirit in a redeemed soul.
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