Many of us can sympathise with Krish Kandiah when he says that he has more experience in doing evangelism badly than in doing it well.
Here are four ways to evangelise badly:-
1. The mime artist.
St Francis of Assisi is supposed to have said: ‘Preach the gospel. Use words if necessary.’ Many Christians today think that the gospel can be proclaimed by our deeds, and that words are at best an optional extra. But although Christian behaviour is an essential accompaniment to the gospel, the gospel itself must be made known using words, or it will not be made know at all. If ever a man might have relied on his actions, it would have been Jesus Christ himself. But he made sure that he explained what he was doing. so did those who came after him. and so must we.
2. The shouter
The shouter is not afraid to use words. But he uses words to harangue, to accuse, to condemn. He calls out to passers-by in the street: ‘Repent today, or you will spend eternity in hell’. Interesting, though, that Jesus never addressed the general public in this way. He invited himself round to their houses, sat down at the meal-table with them, and becamse the ‘friend of sinners’.
3. The Avon lady
She knows that she needs a wide network of people whom she can reach of Christ. So she makes a charming approach to people and seeks to befriend them. However, if they show no interest in the Christian things that she attempts to share with them, she drops them and moves on to her next target. We need to remember that friendship is good in itself, and not just as a sales opportunity.
4. The call centre clone
This is the person who is working from a pre-determined script. No matter who the other person is, or what they might say, what they’re going to get is formula and cliche: the Four Spiritual Laws, perhaps, or Two Ways To Live. But Jesus and his followers had real conversations with people. They responded to what the other person was thinking and saying. They contextualised the message. And we must do the same.
Note: whenever I think about poor evangelism I am reminded of the story about the woman who criticised D.L. Moody’s evangelistic methods. Moody responded by agreeing that his methods were very imperfect.
“How do you evangelise?” Moody asked the woman.
“Well, actually, I don’t.”
“Then I prefer the way I evangelise badly to the way you don’t evangelise at all.”