Evangelism and Me: An Introduction

Evangelism and Me: An Introduction

I used to be really into converting people to Christianity.

You couldn’t really blame me. I was introduced to evangelicalism during my teen years, a time when you’re most impressionable, credulous, and passionate. When you believe something as a teen you believe it fervently and with your whole being, and you’re absolutely bursting with a passion to embody it.

And evangelicalism puts a pretty heavy emphasis on “witnessing,” “sharing your faith,” and/or “leading people to the Lord.” (Hence the name: “evangelical” means “one who brings the good news.”) I learned about the ABC’s of salvation (Admit you are a sinner in need of grace; Believe that Jesus died for your sins; Confess him as the Lord of your life) and how to lead someone through the Sinner’s Prayer. I was encouraged regularly to invite unbelievers to church or youth group with me, and reminded that if I didn’t take initiative my non-Christian friends might burn in hell forever (and it would kind of be my fault.)

And so it was the in my late teens and early twenties, I was on fire to bring the good news to the unbelievers of the world.

It didn’t work out so great for me.

In fact, some of my most profound regrets in life involve my attempts to convert people to Christianity.

I thought I’d share my stories with you, both to amuse you (they are intensely humiliating) and so that you might learn from my experiences. (Plus, I’ve already written them. I shared them on my first blog which I have since deleted because it is so embarrassing; I thought I’d re-post these few stories here for your edification.)

Now don’t get me wrong. I still want folks to come to know Jesus, and to become fellow members of the Kingdom, so that they can experience the love and freedom he offers. I rejoice at the addition of brothers and sisters to the family, so that we can work together to bring heaven to earth.

But my approach is dramatically different now that it was a decade ago. In part because my life is different; but also because my understanding of what it means to “bring the good news” has evolved.

In the posts to come, I want to explore some of the ways my understanding of evangelism has changed.

Join me?

In the Series:

Image by B Baltimore Brown.
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  1. I know that of which you speak. (Except in the past I would just read books like, “How to be a Contagious Christian” and never had the guts to actually “witness” verbally to anyone…except my boyfriend who I tried gently to convert by taking him to church a few times and making him printouts of information I got on the internet defining “salvation” and “sanctification.” No major damage done, and hopefully he forgot my anxiety around his salvation status, despite his Christ-like behavior.
    I look forward to this series!!!

  2. I’m so right here with you…..there are so many things I have said as a teen and young adult with good intentions that I wish I could pull back in. Looking forward to reading your experiences!

  3. Kathleen,

    I acknowledge I’m probably in the vast minority of your readers: I am an atheist who follows a kind of Eastern sort of philosophy of living (a personalized mish mash of Buddhism, Pantheism, Taoism, and kindness).

    I first found your blog when searching for various things on Google, as I was attemting (and still am) to frugal-ize and simplify my life. I found many other blogs as well; and I took many tips and ideas from those other blogs, as well as from your own. But yours remains the one I continue to read. Simply because I really like it and connect to it in many ways.

    I also really admire that you’re living your faith in a way that seems so honest and sincere, and in a way that truly seems to honor the spirit of your faith. If you write it, I will read it. And I know I will enjoy reading it, because I’ve enjoyed everything else I’ve read of yours. (Just don’t expect a convert in me) ;)

    Rebecca recently posted..The Diva Cup ExperimentMy Profile

  4. I think it mostly comes down to the fact that people can sense when you have an agenda about them–and don’t like feeling condescended to. This should be interesting!

  5. Looking forward to reading your thoughts! Our church is having a weekly “witnessing” class right now. So far, I’m impressed with the material being presented. The first class was about being a servant- which I think is a good approach, and what we should be anyway. I’ve really struggled with evangelism since I became a Christian over ten years ago. I’m an introvert, and relationships with people don’t come very naturally or easily. I too, dislike feeling like I have “an agenda” or I need to “fix” someone. I think we are to let our light shine, but I also believe there is a time to simply share the message of the Gospel directly with people. This should be a great series! :-)

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