I’ve always been at odds with most of my friends in various denominational pews when it came to evangelization. It wasn’t that I disagreed with them on the need for people to know and love Jesus; it was that I disagreed with the how. And because one of my former denominational pews was Catholicism, I often got a new dose with each new friendship in a different denominational pew.
It would start with an invitation to come to some event, usually a party or a concert. We’d hang together up until the event. Maybe we even did devotionals or Bible studies. At some point toward the end of the event, I knew it was coming. It was even harder when it came from the friends I’d spent anywhere from one week to three months hanging with up until the event.
We’re all sinners. We’ve all broken one or more commandments, whether we really want to admit it. In breaking a commandment, we say no to God. And that leads to hell, eternal damnation. But God sent Jesus to be perfect for us. He died on the Cross for every sin you’ll ever commit. All you have to do is admit you’re a sinner and ask Him into your heart. Will you do that? Now, now, now is the time. Pray with me, friend…
Admittedly, sometimes God does align that it’s a chance meeting and one-time thing at some crusade or concert. But I question whether that was really effective. It wasn’t for me.
Salvation for me was a very long process. The teaching came from several different sources. Those moments that stuck were the ones that came from people who had done life with me daily, long-term for more than three or four months. Yeah, I’ll freely admit some of those lessons took 25 years to be fully realized.
As a result, I see evangelization as a long-term process. I shouldn’t even consider inviting someone to follow Christ unless I am seriously growing in my resolve and efforts to follow Christ.
I have to do serious, single-minded work with Him to eradicate my flaws and to be growing in my demonstrations of love for others. Over time, I have to make an authentic effort to implement Christ’s teachings in my life. I have to build relationships for the long haul. I have to earn the privilege (yes, I used privilege, not responsibility or right) of sharing what I believe.
If my life has no integrity and no consistency, I am a poor witness for Christ and will prevent others from making a decision to build a relationship with Christ. And that could have disastrous eternal consequences for them.
It’s a game I don’t want to lose.