Last night was one of the most enlightening church experiences I have ever had. And I have had a lot.
We love our church so much that we drive 40 minutes to get there. Love, love, love it. However, the long drive can sometimes wear on me especially when I’m toting around two little ones. So, when I saw that a local church two minutes down the road was offering a class on evangelism, I was stoked. This is something that the IMB wants us to have, and I thought it would be a great opportunity for Matt and I to learn alongside one another, so I signed us up.
I am trying to write this with utmost respect for all parties involved, so I am purposely omitting the name of the church and the curriculum they are using for this class. But holy moly! Now I understand why people have problems with Christians.
As soon as I read that the focus of the class was about leaving intellect at the door and appealing to the sinful nature of unbelievers instead, I knew this probably wasn’t the class for me. Then came the leader’s comment about going fishing. It went something like this:
“Now y’all know that during the last two classes, we’re going fishing. So be looking for some good fishing holes, ya hear?”
I sat there thinking to myself, “hmm, that’s odd. Won’t it be a little cold to be out there fishing?” And then it occurred to me… this dude is talking about evangelism!
It only got worse from there. The dreaded stereotype of Christians as people who love to point out the sin and failings of others was being perpetuated in that very room. It was sad, really. These were nice- but very misguided- people who sincerely believed that conversations should begin with people’s sins and their eternal damnation.
At the close of the class, I offered to pray… really, because it was the best way I knew to hold my tongue. Needless to say, we won’t be back. I did learn something very valuable last night, though.
In the wake of an excellent sermon on this very matter last Sunday by Danny Franks, I learned firsthand that there really are churches out there that are teaching such poor methods of evangelism. To think that the greatest, most life-changing news that ever was is being tainted by such hypocrisy and condemnation is embarrassing and sickening. If you want more constructive, God-honoring ways to present the Gospel, try this week’s blog posts here.
And to those of you out there who have been hurt by hypocritical, legalistic, and insincere messages from so-called Christians, I am so sorry. Please don’t let this turn you away from the one truth that will rock your world and save your life.
So, going completely against what we were taught last night, let’s try again…
God loves us. He created us to be in a relationship with Him.
We screwed up, separating us from God.
God sent his son Jesus into the world to live the perfect life that we couldn’t live.
At the cross, Jesus paid our debt.
If we accept this payment, we enter into a relationship with Him and become God’s sons and daughters.
Oh yeah, and then we have a sweet eternity in Heaven to look forward to.
I’m still not 100% sure what that guy was saying about a fishing hole, but I don’t think I’ll be tagging along.