As I began evangelism in Atlanta, many people tried to help me by suggesting their ideas for effective evangelism. Some of them were suggesting distributing flyers, brochures, or business cards; others, making programs and advertising them on media and internet. I am attempting most of them, to see what would work for me. However, the question, ‘Will they really work?’ is still hovering over my head.
Those ways may be like a double edged sword. They can cut through the way to effective evangelism by one side. By the other, they may hurt myself and our church—We may lose our identity and become common with others, who have been applying those ways. If the churches, which have been applying those strategies, were true Lord’s churches, it can be a different story. In fact, however, most of them are not true Lord’s churches; they are church-businesses. Therefore, to become look like them may mean that we are losing our identity as Lord’s church at least in the way of evangelism. If this is true, even if we make success in attracting people to our church, it does not necessarily mean that we are offering a success to the Lord.
What should be our way of evangelism, then? In other words, would what ways not hurt us at all? What are the ways that the Bible teaches that they are always pleasing to the Lord? Answers may be many; but I think it is by holiness and righteousness especially according to 1 Peter chapter 3 from verse 8 to the end of the chapter. Evangelism is basically witnessing the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, that is the gospel (John 15:27; Acts 1:8, 26:16; 1 Pet. 5:1). Then, who can be witnesses? Only those who are converted and living by the gospel, right? Anyone, who is not born of the gospel nor living by it, cannot be a witness of it. What would they show that they are witnesses of the gospel? In short, holiness and righteousness in Christ—they will be totally different from others, who are not born again of the gospel; it may not be flyers and advertisements. As the Christians are different because of holiness and righteousness, people will be curious why they are so different, and eventually will ask them what kind of hope makes them live so differently (1 Pet. 3:15). As they hear the hope they have—the hope of the gospel—they will choose to receive it, or not.
Commercial people put all their creative efforts to make their flyers and advertisements point out their differences from others. However, as their purpose is as worldly as others’, they cannot be different ultimately. Flyers and advertisements cannot make anyone different from others’ but only his difference in essence. If we are really holy and righteous, we are different from others in essence and our lifestyles, from theirs too. Our difference in lifestyle because of holiness and righteousness will work as the moving and living ‘flyers’, ‘advertisements’, and ‘business cards’. Our identity, holiness and righteousness in Christ, is the only way of evangelism, always pleasing to God, not hurting ourselves nor the Lord’s church.