Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Christian Evangelism - Is It Really Effective?

In the last couple of days I have been thinking about evangelism and about how its been done for decades. In a recent study, it has been proven that traditional evangelism is short lived and does not effectively work for lasting God-relational results... If people in general are interested in straight forward relationships with people, than why doesn't evangelism stem from cultivating relationships with each other and God then coming from a place where we feel we have to convince people of God and shove guilt down their throats if they aren't convinced, or in the same sense demand that they go to church or Bible study with us... To me, these kind of active evangelism tactics just lead to a dead end from the beginning and does not produce lasting and effective results.

Here is something from the book, Unchristian, that has really opened my eyes to how traditional evangelism has become more damaging than anything else.

"In asking about how Christians come across to people, we interviewed Steven, a thirty-four-year-old who moved to New York from Phoenix. During the interview, he described his initial excitement when he met a peer in an unfamiliar city. 'A young guy approached me in a subway station once, friendly, full of questions, interested in talking. He seemed really nice, and I couldn't believe that a New Yorker was being so, well, nice! We exchanged numbers and said we'd hang out sometime. Next time I heard from him, he invited me to a Bible study, and that was all he wanted to talk about. When I said, 'No thanks,' I never heard from him again.' Rather than being genuinely interested in people for their friendship, we often seem like spiritual headhunters."

So, the traditional evangelism tactics that we Christians were trained to use on people are obviously not working, and the saddest part about this is many Christians seem to be more concerned in converting people than building lasting relationships.


Joel B. said...

Yep it's really sad that often Christians don't really love people... they just want to convert them. I do think it's great when our brothers and sisters in Christ genuinely want others to know this wonderful gospel of grace, and the love of God, and most of all the Person, but it's sad when they see people as "projects" or "potential converts," and don't bother seeking out a true relationship with them just because they don't come to a Bible study, as in this case!

Ha... Weird...! I got done typing this and the word verification is "trophies." Isn't that what a lot of Christians see "potential converts" as??? ;)

Jon Reid said...

I think the same observations apply even to most sincere efforts at "friendship evangelism." I speak from personal experience that my friends were reluctant to talk about spiritual things with me until I stopped trying so hard to control the conversation, and actually listened.

This morning, I blogged 14 Reasons to Stop Evangelizing Your Friends.

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