Evangelism is a personal and individual movement to share one’s faith with others either directly or indirectly. This is best described as the way we share our faith in a real and meaningful way with all those that we encounter. This means that evangelism is not something that happens in a single conversation, a tract, a door knock, a special service, or a specific Sunday in the liturgical calendar. True evangelism happens more organically and moves at a slower pace. I believe this to be necessary for true faith sharing.
Our faith grows over time so the way in which we share our faith should transform as well. For someone to share their faith with you truly and openly, they must be willing to be vulnerable and to show you the weaknesses in their faith admitting them and claiming them. It is in those moments of weakness in my faith that I am best able to communicate the way in which the perfect faith of Christ has affected, changed, and continues to transform me.
True evangelism in the context of a mainline congregation is life-giving to the church. A congregation that is dedicated to sharing their faith with one another has some visible signs of evangelism. In this way evangelism is intentional yet it becomes both indirect and unintentional. These glimpses of evangelism are best seen in small groups that begin to function more as a family, deeply trusting and being open about the places of strength and weakness in their lives and their personal faiths. These groups concentrate on both their individual faith, and the faith of others, praying both with and for each other and listening to others concerns.
I believe for a congregation to be intentional about their evangelism, these safe places to share fears and troubles are essential. It is in these groups that courage to discuss faith is fostered. While many individuals feel strongly called to share their faith, they see evangelism as a solo effort and they feel underqualified. In the safety of small groups within a congregation, evangelism begins organically by sharing faith with those to whom you feel closest. These groups are needed to allow mainline churches and their members to experience the life-giving qualities of evangelism, and to move away from the stigma that has been associated with a single word.
Evangelism: Have you shared your faith today?