Friday, June 5, 2009

14 Reasons to Stop Evangelizing Your Friends

This post comes to us from Blog One Another. It's caused quite a stir and was discussed on last night's Ambassadors' Alliance Radio, a ministry of Tony Miano of Living Waters.

Welcome to all listeners of Last Days Radio. Before you jump all over me, may I make clear that I am using overstatement ("stop evangelizing") to make a point? By not trying so hard, I have found the gospel flows more naturally, and have enjoyed sharing the gospel with my friends much more freely and frequently.…All right, on with the show. Thanks for visiting!

Years ago, I decided to stop evangelizing my friends. Here are 14 reasons you might consider doing the same:

1. It makes them uncomfortable.

2. It makes you uncomfortable.

3. It makes you think about how to twist every conversation to Jesus rather than seeing how Jesus is already there.

4. It makes you believe you're bringing God to them, rather than seeing how the Holy Spirit has already been active in their lives.

5. It pressures you into showing an unrelatable happy, plastic face rather than letting God's grace shine through your struggles.

6.It makes you focus on talking rather than listening.

7. It leads you to answer questions they aren't asking.

8. It makes you think about what to say rather than how to love.

9. It makes you think faith is a list of statements rather than a different way of living.

10. It puts you into the role of "teacher," causing you to miss things your friends can teach you.

11. It makes them see you as a religious salesman rather than an apprentice of the Master.

12. It hurts your friendship.

13. It robs you of a good time.

14. It makes you think their lack of interest in your evangelism means they are not interested in Jesus or spiritual questions.

What do you think — do you agree/disagree? What other reasons can you think of?


Melanie said...

what do you think, Rob?

IrishPreacher said...

I have too many objections and not enough time to share them... i think i'll just keep obeying the Great Commission by sharing Jesus with a lost and dying world.

P.S. No "religious statements" (theology) - no truth - no "way of living"

Jon Reid said...

Robert, thank you for reposting my article. I haven't had a chance to listen to the Ambassadors' Alliance Radio show yet.

A big part of my shift in evangelism has been an increased trust in the Holy Spirit and the power of the gospel. By not trying so hard, I have become more aware of where the Spirit is already at work, and simply cooperate with him. For example, before a plane trip last week, I prayed that God would either give me an opportunity to share the gospel, or just let me relax and enjoy the ride. I spent the entire two hours in conversation with a gentleman that God had clearly been working on. We parted with my challenge to him and a hug. So being relational does not mean it has to take years (though sometimes it does).

Wayne Dawg said...

I'm sure we can think up more reasons (excuses) for not witnessing to our friends.

When it comes down to it there is only one real reason we don't witness to our friends: disobedience.

Robert Tewart said...

I think he makes a lot of assumptions for one thing--"It makes you...It makes them..."

It also shows that his view of why Jesus came and how we are to carry out the great commission is is lacking in urgency. Actually, his entire point of view is replete with problems. Anything im particular you are referring to?

Thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

The key to knowing if we are being led by the Holy Spirit is God's word. Throughout the scripture we see followers filled with the Holy Spirit sharing the Gospel as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In short we have been commanded by the word inspired by the Holy Spirit to Go and preach the Gospel to all. If our friends and strangers do not want to hear the gospel they will tell us they do not want to hear it (ala Felix in Acts). They may be uncomfortable like King Herod before John the Baptist. Let them verbally make it clear they do not want to talk about the gospel. Many are open. Let them make the decision. Don't prejudge them. Preach the gospel to all that are open. Don't decide for them. And then be open to a relationship with them regardless of their openness to the gospel.

But please don't indicate that the Holy Spirit leads people to not share the gospel with someone. That is a work of man (see Jonah and Ninevah). Throughout the scripture it is the Holy Spirit that works through us to share the gospel. It is one thing to fight the Holy Spirit. It is another to credit the Holy Spirit for that which is not biblical.

I am however grateful the gospel was shared on the plane. May it be spread further (Eph 6:19-20).

Love, Rob-roy

Jon Reid said...

I accidentally typed "Last Days Radio" when I meant "Last Words Radio." Sorry about that, Last Words!

Rob-roy, I am not advocating not sharing the gospel. I am saying that by focusing on friendship, I have found that evangelism happens more naturally. That is what I did on the plane.

Bonnie Irving said...

WOW! AWESOME POST! Once i had Started Using this approach I felt So Much Pressure come off! We WANT them to See our Relationship with Jesus,Not Our Religion, or list of Rules! :)