March 14, 2007

Hearts Are The Problem In Evangelism

My latest post in my Theology Of Evangelism class:

I've been a Christian for 10 years. I've counseled at Billy Graham crusades. I've been in churches that have done F.A.I.T.H. I've seen remnants of Evangelism Explosion. I've seen ALPHA briefly. I've seen tracts, Romans Road, Gospel tools from now till Sunday...

And I've come to one conclusion. THERE ain't a one of them that can train you to be an effective evangelist. Here's my reasons behind that.

You can make a "presentation" all you want to. But until the Gospel captures you, you are a poor reflection of the real thing and no one is going to listen to a cheap knockoff. I've seen so many folks that are "trained" in sharing their faith that don't even have the slightest ability to listen, empathize, synthesize, and knock down relational barriers with people. By by golly, they got the presentation down to a T.

So that's the dilemma isn't it. Matching up heart and head. Matching up desire and content. It's funny that when Paul went on his missionary journeys and when the apostles traveled in the early church, they didn't have a lot of "doctrine" to share. Granted, knowledge of the Old Testament to most Jewish communities was assumed and therefore, the term "Messiah" ment something. But the main message that they carried with them was "He Is Risen" and "He's Alive". And it was a powerfully simple message because the wonder of seeing Him come back from the dead was powerful and it showed in their countenance, and their radiance.

So the main problem, I believe (and I visit with hundreds of churches each year), is not so much a training the content into someone problem, as much as it is getting someone captured by the Gospel to where their life is sold out in such a radical fashion that the authenticity of their words engages and transforms the listener.

Hearts, not heads and knowledge, are the problem in Western Christianity.

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