Go Therefore into the World...and Do What?
About a year ago, I took my first ever spiritual gifts assessment. Has anyone ever taken one? It is kind of fun—The particular one I filled out consisted of around 100 questions and in return you get back a list of your spiritual gifts (Download Assessment to find out your spiritual gifts). Like I said, I had never taken one before—the top two things on the list were not surprising, but the third one completely took me by surprise. It was the spiritual gift of evangelism. It floored me that this was a spiritual gift of mine—I had no idea!
Now, when I say evangelism, what image come to mind?
Let me tell you what images come to my mind…
First, I imagine that witnessing door to door is involved. Growing up, one night a week, the men from church would canvass the neighborhood while explaining the Romans Road. A succinct path through Romans on how to be saved (Check it out here!). The end goal of this exercise, besides refreshments and coffee, was for the people they encountered to pray the prayer of salvation and hopefully join the church.
This is the most prolific image that comes to mind, when I think of evangelism.
The second image, is what I like to call the street corner evangelist. Every time I’m in a big city I usually experience an encounter with this. Sometimes the evangelist is merely holding up a sign inviting people to come over and talk and sometimes they have a bullhorn and they are preaching. Either way, I love to sit back and watch and see what happens. However, I know, I am not the type of person to stand on a street corner and do this.
This is the second image that comes to mind, when I think of evangelism.
Here’s the last, this is harsh—but this is honest. When I was in college I waited table to put myself through school. There was a couple that I waited on—all the time. But instead of a tip, they left me a Bible Tract—all the time! Now if you don’t know what these are, they are little pamphlets explaining what Christ did and how to be saved, which is not a bad thing but what they did frustrated me.
First, because they only ever left a tract, and I needed money to get through school. Secondly, NEVER ONCE did they asked me anything about where I was spiritually nor did they care. It was more of a conscience thing for them—and that was very obvious to me being on the receiving end.
So that is another vivid image that comes to mind for me, when I think of evangelism.
Here’s my summary, to evangelize you have to be bold, confrontational or irritating!
(Juli’s side note: I am none of those things!—Ha!).
Has anyone else come to the same conclusion?
You can see why I was surprised when the gift of evangelism showed up in my top 3 spiritual gifts. For me, it was time to redefine what that meant, and look at evangelism in a different way—by a different definition than the context I grew up with.
If you are interested in finding out what I discovered then I invite you to listen to a recent message given on on October 26, 2014 at Orchard Hill Church in Cedar Falls, Iowa. I invite youI invite you to enjoy this message using the audio player below.