The Front Page

Welcome to the Front Page, the digital cover of the Wayne Press.  Here we will share with you things that can't be captured in our newsletter--videos, music, color photographs--as well as articles that reflect on faith and life.  

 

A dirty word

A friend of mine told me that his church recently changed the name of their membership and evangelism committee to simply, the membership committee.  Now I’m not an evangelism maven by any means, but this made me a bit discouraged.  

Evangelism has become a dirty word in the moderate church.  I’m not sure when it happened, but if you mention evangelism to most faithful churchgoers, thoughts of awkward conversations or people passing out tracts or the fear of offending another comes to mind.  We all know it’s important, we all know we need to practice evangelism, but for one reason or another, we don’t.  We don’t share the good news.  We don’t tell others about Jesus.  We don’t event talk about how much the church means to us or why we like going.   

And yet, we must find a way, a good and authentic and comfortable way, to practice evangelism.  The biblical mandate for doing so is clear.  And if you’ve heard anything about the decline of the church in the postmodern era, you know that we have to do something to re-orient people’s opinions of the church and its ministry.  

So I think there is an opening here.  I think there is a different way to do evangelism, a way to reclaim the word.  What if we thought of evangelism not as saving souls or converting people, but as invitation?  I’m convinced, as Casey has talked about recently, that the church can be a place that makes people’s lives better.  I’m convinced that God is worth seeking. 

So what if I (or you) simply invited someone to something?

We do a great job around here of having events or programs that are pretty non-threatening.  We have some great structure around events that should be easy to invite someone to.  Could you invite your neighbor to the next Oratorio?  Could you tell the woman in spin class with you that we do Dinner and a Movie once a month for children?  Could you mention to your co-worker whose mom is sick that we have some great speakers about caregiving?  Could you mention to the visitor in the pew beside you that the church picnic is coming up?   None of those things involve even talking about faith.  None of them require you to know all the books of the Bible or be able to articulate the meaning of salvation.  None of them ask anything of anyone else, except to consider trying something, a simple and non-threatening event, with you.   

I know that even this sounds a bit overwhelming, but I think, with some practice or a bit of gustiness, we could do it.  I think we could invite people to this community, invite people to this family, and invite people into a new way of being.  I’m going to work up the courage to do it soon and hope that you’ll let me know if you do the same.

-Laurie

Posted by Laurie Weicher at 11:00 PM
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