Crowd at Santa Monica Pier

We all deal with so many people in our lives. We walk among people of every type of belief and lifestyle.

Even within our own families, there is such a diversity of beliefs about spiritual things. Let alone about eternity and salvation.

And it seems that so many people are completely oblivious to the urgency of their situation. They are living their lives with no apparent concern for their eternal destiny.

So, I think a lot about how I can impact those people I come in contact with. How do I truly affect those around me for Christ?

And the answer, I believe, is one that is much different than you might expect.

I believe that the impact we truly need to make is not based upon a method or strategy or our own forcefulness.

It’s not based on our own efforts to say something or to give something out to people. As with a Bible or salvation tract. Or to say something clever that has a spiritual message.

How Not To Influence People for Heaven

When I was just a young believer, I took a short course in evangelism. It was all based on a book about how to witness to people. It was a course taught in my local church at the time.

I don’t remember much from that course other than one really irritating idea that the teacher shared. It was about how to answer people with clever little quips.

Like, if you were in an elevator and someone asked you, “Are you going up?” You could say, “Yes, I’m going to heaven.” And that would supposedly give you a way to break the ice to talk about spiritual things.

Now, please, understand. I think that is a really bad idea. I think that is a stupid and irritating idea. And, thank the Lord, that I was not so convinced in that method to actually try it on someone.

Because, it would have probably just irritated the person I tried it on.

Becoming Something We are Not

We tend to push ourselves to do things in our own strength; because we believe that, if we don’t, people will be lost.

So, we do things that are not normal for us to do in order to win people to Christ. We tend tend to become almost schizophrenic in the way we talk about spiritual things.

Or we are just not real. We are not genuine in the way we talk about the Lord. It’s like we become someone else when we do that.

Which seems to be the Evangelical way. And especially the Fundamental way.

Now, I am not suggesting that preaching and sharing the gospel is not necessary. It is necessary. It is absolutely necessary. 

But, pushing ourselves to say things and being aggressive in our method or manner does not seem quite right to me. There has always been something of “the flesh” in so much of the Christian work I have seen taking place over the years.

So, I want to explain, briefly, how I believe that we can truly, and biblically, minister to the world around us.

The Fundamental Method 

When I was at Bob Jones University, I was trained to be a very extroverted type of “soul winner”. Which is common for most anyone who would attend a Fundamental school or church. It was just the way that things were done.

But this was always very hard for me. I am not made that way. To force the issue. To push my beliefs on people. I was not raised that way.

I grew up in a Methodist background that was more of a quiet, ordered, and reserved life. Not stuffy. Not unfriendly. Just not open to tell everyone what I believed.

But, I also saw how critical it was that people hear the gospel. And how I was commanded to give the gospel to people. And, if I didn’t, their “blood” would be “on my hands”. As the scriptures are often quoted.

(But that idea is another post to discuss in itself.)

And, in so many ways I agree with the urgency. Which is why I went to Bible college to begin with. To preach and to teach the gospel.

The Evangelical Method

In contrast, if you go to an Evangelical church, the atmosphere is much different. In fact, it runs the full spectrum from very aggressive to virtually stoic. Depending on the type of church you are in and how they “preach” the gospel.

And, in many of the churches that are more hip to the modern Evangelical trends, they have a different take altogether. Which is characterized by the trendy phrase, “Preach the gospel; and, if necessary, use words.” Which means, you are trying to win people by your lifestyle and good deeds first. Only talking about the gospel when you have to.

To Be Continued . . .

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