A couple of years ago, I was in Indianapolis for a conference for our denomination, when I was stopped by a street preacher. You’ve seen the type – often with a bullhorn or a stack of tracts in their hands, shouting bible verses at passers-by, often warning of God’s coming judgment.
This guy took one look at me, decided there was no way I was a Christian, he shouted to me: “You need Jesus in your life!”
I wanted to be nice – after all, this was a fellow Christian, and honestly I was on my way to a seminar. So I waved at him and said, “Thanks! I’m a pastor.”
His eyes bugged out a little and he said, “Really?”
He got excited and leaned in and gestured around us. “So what do you think?”
I didn’t understand. “About what?”
“The End Times.”
Now listen – I was trying to avoid an argument. But I can’t resist when someone wants to talk about the End Times. Revelation is one of my favorite books in the bible and people love to read it wrong. So long story short, I got into a little bit of a discussion with this street preacher. It might have gotten a little loud, much to the amusement of the other pastors with me, and it may or may not have ended with that street preacher calling me the Antichrist.
Which, if I’m being honest, probably wasn’t the best way to witness to me.
I mean, if I was the Antichrist, that probably wasn’t a good way to get me to ‘come to Jesus’, right?
I want to talk about Evangelism today – how we tell people about Jesus. Pretty much no matter who you are, whether you’re a church person or haven’t been to church in a long time, evangelism freaks you out. Maybe like me you’ve been on the receiving end of a street preacher type. Or maybe you’ve sat through evangelism trainings in your church where you were presented with a formula for how to “share the Gospel” with people. I’ve sat through a few of those, and they always felt disingenuous or confrontational to me.
I want to flip Evangelism on its head today. We can share Jesus without fear, and without being jerks. We can do this because God has gone ahead of us. There’s not a single person we meet who does not already have God in their lives – whether they realize it or not.