Events ≠ Evangelism

Churches can be funny places sometimes, the language we use isn’t always straight forward or the correct meaning of the words either. Take for example how some people use evangelical and evangelism simultaneously (it super annoys me, but that’s for a whole new post). Today I want to talk about the mix up, or assumption, that Christians can often make; that church events mean evangelism.

You know the story, a well meaning Christian will propose an event to encourage people to come into the church building. It’s a good idea so you’re all for it, however, as the conversation develops it become apparent that the person thinks that the event is evangelism. No talk, no mention of Jesus, no explicit Christian content, but in their minds evangelism.

Don’t get me wrong, churches holding events for non-Christians can be good and helpful, but let’s not kid ourselves, they aren’t evangelism. They might be a tool that leads to evangelism because you have the opportunity to build friendships and then share Jesus with folks. But in and of themselves, community events are not evangelism.

We need to get used to this idea and get our churches thinking this way too. How often have you come away from an event or a planning meeting and people are talking about the ‘outcomes’ or the ‘successes’? An event run by a church, with little or no gospel content, isn’t a case of evangelism but often a case of hiring out a room.

We need to instil the culture in our own lives and our churches that events can be tools for evangelism but they aren’t necessarily evangelism on their own. This also goes for Christian courses, in my opinion, they are not evangelism as such but I would see them as tools that help members do evangelism with their friends which leads to them attending a course.

The best way forward for evangelism today seems to be friendship evangelism. Have an open life, and open home and a free space at the dinner table and you’ll find it filled with non-Christians if you pray and let it be. Then speak about Jesus! Evangelism requires words. Those non-Christians will see your life, hear what you’re saying and be ready to ask questions, challenge ideas and open up if they’ve spoken about Jesus with a friend.

Don’t assume that the non-Christian will come your way. Be a witness to them, not by inviting them to an event necessarily, but go towards them, point them to Jesus and let him do the work.

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