Evangelism is about sharing stories. Our stories, but especially God’s story… the story of God’s liberating, redeeming, life-giving love at work in our lives. Stories of transformation, hope, recovery, beauty, forgiveness, friendship, and goodness.
From the Greek euangelos meaning “bringing good news,” evangelism is about sharing how God is at work in our everyday life. It is not driven by the presumption that we have an exclusive claim to truth, but instead a burning desire within us to share the reality of God’s love as we have experienced it. It is not about scoring debate points or winning arguments, it is about conversing with neighbors and friends. In the end, it isn’t really even about us. It is about God, whose grace makes our stories worth sharing.
Because some of the most clamorous, cantankerous, and condemnatory voices within Christianity have asserted a particular version of evangelism, many Episcopalians tend to think it is a four-letter word (we just counted to double check… it’s actually ten letters, for the record). But why should we defer to those who insist on evangelism as a bullhorn and bludgeon?
Let us, instead, insist on sharing our stories—the story of God’s work in our world and in our lives—in ways that are marked by the fruits of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.” And as we share our stories, let us be open to hearing the stories of others in the give-and-take of true conversation. Then, perhaps, we will have “ears to hear” what God is saying to us today.
How, practically, might we share our stories?
Here are some ideas to us started:
- Take the Bishop’s “Proclamation Pledge” during the Diocesan Convention
- Invite those around you to Come and See
- Use your social media activity to Like and Share content
Interested in exploring evangelism further? Check out the List of Books and Print Resources compiled during the November 2016 Evangelism Matters Summit Meeting, a one-day brainstorming session leading up to the Evangelism Matters Conference.