When I was researching worship styles a few years ago, I heard a lot of people say they didn’t “do evangelism.”  It didn’t help that surveys of spiritual gifts indicate that only around 2% of the church is gifted for “evangelism.”  We see the master evangelist (Billy Graham, etc.) and think that since we can’t preach like that, we don’t have permission to share our faith.

I began to talk about Testimony instead.  When I was growing up, we had testimony time, usually on Sunday nights. In college noonday chapel, if the speaker didn’t show, we’d do “popcorn testimony” – pop up and testify a sentence, and then sit down so someone else could pop up.

Tonite I read Steve Bierly’s “Evangelism for the Ordinary Church.”   He, too, says to “Stop using the E-word.”  He explained “evangelism meant intruding into the lives of total strangers by handing out tracts at the mall or calling door-to-door or phoning a list of names. Nobody wanted to do that.”

Bierly says he compromised with a series on “How to Explain Christianity to Your Friends.”  As part of the series, he encouraged them to invite their friends to social events and to church.  Teaching your people to “invite” instead of “badger” means they’re more comfortable with their own faith, and sharing that faith with their friends and neighbors becomes more natural.

And teach the congregation to pray.  Steve Bierly says God really will cause a church to grow just because people ask him to.  He says that people come who say , “We just felt that it was finally time to check out church and for some reason we were drawn here.”

Give it a try.

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