I don’t like the word evangelism because of what it represents to my non-Christian friends. To them, evangelism has the connotation of having a moralistic, religious agenda rather than love. Our culture is wary of this. If we are honest about it, evangelism can come across as uncaring and arrogant. It appears that we care more about winning one more for our side rather than loving others and being their friend. Essentially, people want others to care about who they are even more than their eternal salvation.
The urgency and importance of eternal salvation is apparent to Christians. But it’s like we’re offering a cure to a disease that people don’t even know they have, and because we know that everyone has this disease, we tend to just skip the diagnosis. We can’t skip the diagnosis. That’s the part that requires us to listen to people’s story. When you take time to listen to a person’s story, they often reach a point in the story where they realize they are showing symptoms of something wrong or missing in their life. We’ve all carried those same symptoms.
Ira Glass, atheist and host of NPR’s This American Life in an interview while on the topic of evangelism says “the stories that I tell myself to get through the day…they’re just as unlikely…the stuff that’s going through my head to convince myself that this is how I should live my life today.”
So then begs the question in the mind of Ira Glass, a nationally syndicated cultural influencer, along with droves of his radio followers, what make the Christian story so likely? How do we know that we have the cure? For most of my non-Christian friends, the only way they’d hear me out on the answer to this question is by delivering an authentic and personal narrative of how the cure is working in my life. They don’t care about what scripture I quote. They want hear about how it’s working for me. So the question to ask myself is what’s my story? What makes it so compelling and so real? How’s the cure working in my life?