When I think about the word evangelism, I am immediately transported back to my high school church experience. I started attending a non-denominational, evangelical church when I was 16 years old. I absolutely loved their youth programs and the accessibility of the sermons each week during the youth service.
Part of the reason their program was so large was due to the fact that they embraced and encouraged evangelism (not only as leaders and church staff, but in us students as well). Our leaders informed us that evangelism was simply spreading the good news of the gospel and Jesus Christ. This could be as simple as inviting someone to church next week.
One of the most important ways I was taught to evangelize was to not stay silent about being a Christian. There is a lot of peer pressure and stigmas against being a Christian (especially as a teenager). Having the accountability and confidence to not deny the savior, Jesus Christ, in public was the best way to evangelize.
I was actually rather inspired by this approach to evangelism, considering my own imaginative interpretation prior to this church experience consisted of the door-to-door sales approach. This was the picture my parents had painted for me, equating evangelism to evangelical, conservative propaganda, where the main goal was to convert as many people as possible to fill the church on Sundays and brainwash the masses into like-minded thinking.
I understood not wanting to shove religion down someone’s throat and the importance of respecting differences, which is why I felt empowered by this relatively easy and painless version of evangelism that my church described. I honestly haven’t evolved my definition of evangelism since high school, because this definition fits my personality and my lifestyle well. I can be a bit of an introvert and I haven’t quite worked out where I stand on “converting” people, but I do know that I am happy and that stems from my relationship with my creator, so I’m going to share that.