Probably the first real blog post I have written for awhile (sorry, I’ve been busy with Freshers week and house shopping), but I thought I’d pen my thoughts about evandalism.
Yup, that’s right. I was very reminded of it when the vicar at church yesterday talked about it. Evandalism is when we twist evangelism to the point that it no longer appeals or attracts people, but proves to be an annoyance or detrimental.
Last week, I went down to London and felt bombarded by the number of flyers that were handed to be about Christianity. Similar flyers had been given to me when I was in Singapore, and I noticed that they were all the same –
The first thing they put in big font was the WRATH OF GOD.
Really? The wrath of God? You want to give flyers to non-Christians and the first thing you tell them is about God’s anger?
Honestly, I sometimes feel disappointed and a little ashamed that I associate myself with tthem. I am not saying that we should discount the wrath of God and judgment, but I think that we must really assess the situation and context, and be more perceptive about how we portray our God.
It’s the same thing as distributing flyers about a guest speaker, and the first thing that is said about him is his wrath and judgment on all mankind. Wow. Thanks. Just what we wanted to know.
And if people do turn to Christianity because of their fear of God’s wrath, then I can firmly say that they have missed the core of Christianity: grace, love and mercy. Jesus says go and make disciples of all nations – disciples who know and love God; not servants who live in fear of God’s judgment. Moreover, we have failed as ambassadors of Christ because we have not shown what christianity and Jesus’ sacrifice was about.
Just to clarify, I’m not saying that we should not distribute flyers about Christianity to others. If God has called you to do it, then go ahead. But make sure that the content and that what stands out is not repulsive and unattractive to a non-believer who has a different set of values, paradigm and viewpoint from us Christians.
Another thing that got me a little upset was when I kindly told one of the distributors that I was Christian. He looked at me, and still gave me a flyer saying that I needed one. So much for being a fellow brother-in-Christ!
So Izzy, what do we do then?
1. Pray for people
Do everything in prayer. Don’t always try to take things into your own hands and convert them. Remember, God does the converting, we don’t. Sometimes, prayer is more powerful that walking around in the streets and trying to shove the gospel in people’s faces.
Remember that prayer is a powerful weapon. And as my church friend once said, ‘When you pray, the spiritual realm moves.‘
2. Identify people’s needs
The gospel is for everyone, and that still holds true! Yet, we need to tailor it to everyone’s needs. We need to identify the broken things in their lives, what is going wrong and why it is going wrong.
A person suffering from depression does not want to hear about the wrath of God. He wants to hear about the love of God and how God holds his life in the palm of His hands.
A person suffering from cancer does not want to hear about the wrath of God. She wants to know about God’s joy and peace in times of difficulty, and His companionship and healing.
I was very much reminded of this when I was decorating my room in my new house in Durham. Last week, I had been extremely excited about all the photos I had pasted on the walls and cupboards, but I began to realise that I was no longer noticing them over the course of a few days. Very soon, it just became a wall and some cupboards to me. In the same way, when we look at a person, we cannot simply view them as a person. We have to look at the photos and memories that have been pasted on their walls and cupboards. What is their life story? How have their memories and past made them who they are now? How has their past affected them? And in what can Christianity be to them?
3. Be careful of your own words and actions
Evangelism is also about living your own life in a way that is pleasing and glorifying to God. Yes, we fall short many times and I have many times. However, as my brother said ‘Sometimes, we are the only bibles people ever read.‘
Additionally, tell them your testimony! Everyone loves a good story and everyone is an extraordinary person. No testimony is ordinary. Our God is a personal God and we should reveal that side of Him to our non-Christian friends.
So that’s my little rant and thoughts on evandalism. Hope this has got you thinking and maybe, change the way you portray our God.