I often have written about evangelism and compared it to scoring in hoops; being that it is the ultimate goal of the “offense” and that we should always get to the goal as soon as we see an opening. And therein lies the issue… I have been around a long time and seen Christians that either avoid evangelism or push so much that they commit a lot of “offensive fouls / charges.”
They avoid and justify it by promoting the idea of “lifestyle evangelism” which emphasizes how we live over the idea of actually sharing the Gospel. I have written about this before in that evangelism requires sharing the Gospel, Good News. It is a definite message of the finished work of Christ on our behalf that must be either spoken or written. (Faith comes by hearing…) I am not discounting the importance of how we live but to claim that is all that matters is the equivalent of telling one’s team to just keep making a bunch of passes but not to worry about going to the basket… it is a stalling offense that just kills time.
“Offensive fouls”? The second issue I have witnessed is those try to share the Gospel but do so rudely… forcing it into conversation… and making the recipient feel “attacked” verbally. I can remember being on visitations with older pastors and listening to them “run over” folks that were “set” in hurts, hang-ups, and habits; missing the idea that we “go to the hole when we see an opening.”
So how do you create an opening when going one on one? When coaching players I would show them that when a defender was intently guarding them that something as simple as raising up one’s chin as though standing up and simply watching for the defender to follow by relaxing and starting to stand up taller… then when the defender’s knees straighten out of a defensive stance… EXPLODE by to the basket…
In evangelism we will be much more successful if we are not pushing off or running over people but instead love them enough that they are relaxed around us… then it becomes very easy to share good news! (Even when talking to a stranger it is amazing how much a smile and kindness can relax the situation… removing a defensive posture.)
Proverbs 3:3 (NASB) Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.
Avoid “charging” through those you are trying to reach and instead be kind and it will set the table to share truth!