I think in the Western World, serious Christians care way too much about “saving the lost”. Please, don’t miss the goal I am aiming for here.
But let’s look at the life of Jesus, our Lord and Savior…
He was a Rabbi, part of the Sect of Pharisees, and His mission was to reach God’s chosen people- the Israelites. Crowds heard of the miracles He was doing, and the Jews heard the things He was saying when He taught in the synagogues, and this led to people crashing home meetings and following Him around from city to city, leading Him to sometimes teach on the street or on a boat so His voice could carry across the water to reach the ears of the crowd.
To put it frankly, Jesus was sought after. People wanted to hear what He had to say, regardless if they wanted to be His follower or His accuser.
At some point, in America, after the whole church-revival-tent-meeting-area, Christians got in their head to treat church-goers like consumers to boost attendance. Church leaders were/are actually taught this, like this was/is a good thing. But for the people who like going to church and would go regardless if their church was hip, relevant, and judgmental-free, when they get to the point in their faith-walk they discover Jesus commanded us to spread the Gospel and make more disciples of Christ… some people get crazy ideas what that looks like.
Some folks pass out candy in the hood. They ask strangers, who take the bags of candy, “If you die today, would you go to heaven or hell?” If they don’t want to talk about church and Jesus, they just offer to pray a blessing for the stranger. Then, the worst part they tally whether the encounter was a salvation or a prayer. Of course, the strangers get invitations to come to the church these street-outreach-folk come from.
Like, repentance isn’t really taught in these situations, it’s just a salvation prayer, or a blessing prayer, but the people most likely remain as unrepentant as they were found, but hey, the people who passed out candy “saved souls” from the “pit of hell”. I personally think, this is the WORST WAY to evangelize. Now, I don’t think it’s pointless, I think it could lead those really searching for God toward Him, but like there are better ways.
This awful method though, was probably birthed out of sincere desire to see people saved, but how the Western World operates spoiled it. Like passing out food to neighbors and offering to be there if they need anything, is a great way to evangelize.
Get involved in people’s lives! Do nice things for people just to simply do it out of the kindness of your heart. Love your neighbor more than you love yourself!
And I could list more poor evangelism techniques, but I digress.
Poor evangelism or a lack of evangelism comes from poorly practiced Christianity. And when someone is trying to get serious about it for the first time, they can be terrible at it, because they can take-on the “Salvation-Complex” as I like to call it. I think it’s really called the “Messiah-Complex”, or maybe this isn’t as official of a term like I think.
But this “Complex” occurs when a believer thinks they MUST share Jesus with their friends, their family, their neighbors, and through the moments they share the Gospel, they think the folks they share with MUST receive the Gospel. The truth is, people have free will, and they can reject the Good News of Jesus Christ or receive it but all the saints are responsible to do, is to be the VESSEL or the instrument.
Like a guitar needs to be tuned, and to have all the strings on it, to be ready to play, but it’s the musician’s skill and passion that makes the music sound beautiful. The followers of Christ, are like the guitars and Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit are the musician. If we’re prayed-up and bibled-up, we’ll be tuned with every string ready for the Father to play. And don’t think God just “uses” you. He chooses to work with you to spread His message and in His infinite wisdom, He determined that was and is the best method to spread His Word!
Preachers are really good at delivering a Gospel message that get responses because they are well studied in the verses, and super prayed-up, and they don’t take it lightly what they do.
When I was younger, I was silly! I felt so responsible for seeing my friends saved and labored so hard, and I got epically discouraged when my friends still wanted NOTHING to do with God.
Truthfully, I tell you. If you pray for opportunity, if you stayed brushed up on scripture, God will create windows and doors for you to share the Gospel. Sometimes, you can do it in the way you live your life and what type of employee you are, what kind of customer you are, and how you behave on social media. Your life, can be the letter unbelievers read to catch a glimpse of Jesus (like how Paul considered the Corinthians to be a letter speaking of the ministry he and others labored in for them; 2 Corinthians 3:2-3).
And the beautiful thing is, you don’t have to try hard and you don’t have to aim for perfect. Simply be a Child of God. Think of God as your Father. Jesus revealed to us how to follow God, and that was to think of God as our Father.
In the Greco-Roman days, it was a man’s world. The firstborn son would become a man’s legacy. The son would carry the father’s name, the son would mostly likely take on the same profession or take over the family business, the son would receive an inheritance from his father, and the father’s reputation would follow the son all of his child’s life. And the son never had to do anything to get all that, he just had to live as his father taught him, and live by his father’s instructions. Any son that loved his father and had a good, loving father easily lived according to society’s expectation of a son.
As followers of Christ, when we believe the Gospel, and we study scripture and the Holy Spirit leads and guides through the Word to equip us to walk in the spirit (which is living according to scripture)… it’s not hard and it is most definitely NOT a BURDEN (1 John 5:3). If it feels like a burden, something is wrong… I couldn’t say what, maybe you think your actions will only please God or you’re trying to be perfect even in your thoughts, like I said, I don’t know.
Now, understand, the life of a Christian isn’t supposed to be easy really. But life will be hard whether you believe in God or not, might as well trust God and hold onto the promise of an eternity with no more pain (John 3:16-17; Revelation 21:4).
Today, do yourself a favor and the kingdom of God. You’re nobody’s savior. Only Jesus can save. You’re just the messenger. How you choose to deliver that message? Well, that’s between you and the Holy Spirit (as you read/listen to the Word).
I don’t say this lightly. When I was caught up in heresy for a decade. The NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) and the WOF (Word of Faith) really make you think and feel that God can’t save anyone without your obedience, and when you don’t stay in your Bible and know what it says… you get super wiggy and your imagination sometimes becomes “the spirit of god” and you DO CRAZY STUFF in the name of the Lord to WIN SOULS!
For example, I had a childhood friend… one of those friends you had because your moms hung out kind of friendships. She was a popular girl at school and I was a nobody. She was totally different at home then at school and of course at school we didn’t hang out. I don’t think anyone knew we were “friends”.
When we grew up, she chose to fall away from God and I got caught up in deception. But I really wanted to see her saved. She is a crazy good musician and if she made music for Jesus she’d sell more than Hillsong and Maverick City music combined, only if she really gets saved or “comes back to the Lord”, then her music would be scriptural and for the true Jesus hopefully.
I would travel long distances to drop by her unexpected. I would write her letters with fresh revelation from “god” about her future. I would fast for the Lord to save her. I would pray all wild hours of the day and night she would be saved. I think I invested way too much of my self to try and save someone who clearly didn’t want anything to do with God.
I think only a handful of times I acted in a way through faith that may have been genuinely guided through the Spirit of God (via scripture and/or His Spirit in me). Majority of it though, NOT GOD! I’ve had to ask God to forgive me for how I behaved. I’ve asked this person to forgive me (unknown if she has or not). And if I did anything to make her be disinterested in God for being a poor example of a Christian, I feel awful about that, and I am determined I’ll never be that silly again, at least I pray I’ll never be that outlandish again with anyone ever again.
Here’s the truth though, in my ignorance I may have done some damage in my evangelism, but God’s Word speaks life. God’s Word and His Grace is enough. Other vessels can spread the Gospel, and this poor woman I terrorized with my over-spiritualism, heretical-hogwash can still hear and receive the Gospel at any time.
I’ll say it one last time. Do not be silly! Learn me, do as scripture teaches, and be wise knowing the Word when you share the Good News with people and respect their Free Will. If they let you share your faith in Jesus, then do it, if they don’t want to hear it, then pray another laborer comes across their path that they will listen to one day and pray that God opens their eyes and invades their heart and they either comeback to Jesus or become born-again!