Tuesday, February 4, 2014
What Some Pastors Have Taught Me About Evangelism
As some of you may know, there are two lectionaries (scheduled assignments of Scripture to be read in church through the church year) in use in the church today: a three year series of readings and a one year series. The three year series is newer (in use for approximately the last 50 years or so). The one year series is more historic and been in use for a much longer time. The majority of churches (that I know of) use the three year lectionary, though the minority that uses the one year is very dedicated to it and very vocal about it. Recently I read another blog post written by someone who “converted” from the three year to the one year series. I skimmed through the article and heard pretty much the same arguments I had heard before. (Note: I am not married to or devoted to either one.)
But a thought came to me this time: if they want me to care (much less convert!), they have to come up with better arguments and show me why it matters. This is NOT an invitation to do that here, in the comments! Here’s the point: this is what I think is the reaction of many people to the efforts of the church at outreach and evangelism. They listen to what we have to say, maybe what they’ve already heard before, but remain unconvinced. Why? Because we haven’t convinced them why it matters. I am happy for those who have switched from the three year to the one year, and glad they have come to that conclusion. And maybe unbelievers are happy for those who have become Christians and glad that they have come to that conclusion. But for those who remain unbelievers, it doesn’t matter. For them, they need a better reason to “convert.”
Now, this isn’t a perfect analogy because when we’re talking about faith, that is the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of those who hear the Word. But this was the first time I think I understood where those folks we reach out to are and what (perhaps) many of them think. Some are hostile to Christianity, yes, but for many, it just doesn’t matter. We need to show them it does.