I hate the word ‘Evangelism’. It scares the crap out of me. So does the word ‘Witness’. It’s as if somewhere along the line I have gotten it in my head that to evangelize means to go up to a complete stranger and say…
“Did you know Jesus loves you?'”
I thought I was getting a free ‘get out of jail card’ when a few Christians along the way said, “all you need to do is live a good Christian life and people will see that you are different and ask why.”
I thought that was pretty sweet cause then I didn’t have to do anything…problem is, no one has ever asked me why I’m different…or even noticed (shocking). Eventually I figured out that wasn’t really the way to go, but I still could not get the ‘evangelism’ stigmatism out of my head.
Then we spent some time with friends just south of Newcastle about a week ago. Matt had taken Seth for a walk, but suddenly walked in and said to me with a very serious look on his face, “get you shoes on and get in the car”. At first I panicked cause he didn’t have Seth, but I realised that scenario didn’t make sense so I walked with him to the car and saw Seth strapped in the car so I got in. As we drove away Matt filled me in. He had seen a girl (about 18) crying at the park and had walked by her a few times but finally felt compelled to stop and see what was wrong. She had had a fight with her boyfriend and was pretty upset. Matt felt he wasn’t really the right person to comfort her, so he said he could get me. She said it was fine, but he came anyway. As we were driving I was praying, actually asking God if she could be gone by the time we got there cause I had no idea what to do, but I kind of figured she wouldn’t be… and she wasn’t. I went and sat down and Matt introduced us. I found out she had fought with her boyfriend about her eating problem and she was afraid it was over between them.
I had no idea what to say and I kept asking God. Finally after a few awkward moments I decided to come clean and to do the only thing I knew how to do in this sort of situation. I told her I was a Christian and the best thing I knew how to do in this situation was pray, so I asked if I could pray with her. She said yes, so I prayed…nothing fancy, just what came into my head. Afterwards I asked her if she had ever been to church or anything, she said she used to be big into church but hadn’t been for a long time. It just so happened that the friends we were staying with had started up a home fellowship and it was on the next day, so I asked her if she was interested, which she said she was. So I gave her my number and told her to text hers through to mine and I would call her that night with the address.
Now this sounds like its coming up to a beautifully wrapped up story where she comes and loves it etc, etc. But she never sent me through her number, and I can’t say I blame her, cause she didn’t know me at all and this home fellowship could have been a cult for all she knew. But I still really felt good about what happened and I believe God has used that in her life if for nothing else, than just to let her know He’s thinking of her. I would have loved for the story to have turned out differently cause it would make me feel good, but the point is more that the experience wasn’t weird because I was just honest. I didn’t push Jesus on her, it was just that if I was in the same situation I would pray, so that’s the best I could do for her. It takes a bit of the sting out of ‘evangelism’ for me to know that if you just be yourself and only say what comes naturally and be honest it’s not so bad.