Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Evangelism = Fail

The video below was taken by yours truly while traveling in Concord, NC. At a busy intersection near Concord Mills, some people setup shop in front of the Chick-Fil-la. You cannot see it from the video but there is a gentleman holding up a 10-12 foot wooden cross while another guy 'preaches'.

I wonder if this type of evangelism is really effective or is it adding to the Christian stereotype of wanting to cram our religion down your throat. What is the best avenue for evangelism, because although the preacher says it is God's plan for me to hear this message, it left me wondering.


Earl said...

This sort of thing is nothing new. Isaiah used an equivalent methodology (Is. 20:3). Jeremiah used public confrontation to jar his audience with the truth (Jer. 7). A verbally extreme approach was employed by Amos to proclaim God's Word to a hostile audience (Amos 4:1ff). In the tenderness and sacrificial love Hosea showed his unfaithful wife he portrayed the faithful covenant love of God for wayward Israel. Repeatedly Ezekiel used what doubtless appeared to be a bizarre pantomime to confront a complacency with impending judgment. At issue is if what they did was effective but were they faithfully responding to God's leadership in their lives and ministry. The same is true of even contemporary preachers. When so many speak "peace, peace yet there is no peace," the most faithful preaching is that by which a society marked by moral complacency and blase decadance is confronted and challenged with the truth of God. On Mars Hill, Paul may have not had a sweaty camp meeting response to his proclimation, but God used his faithful witness to prick the interest of a haughty skeptical audience with that Gospel of Christ that we all love and seek to share. As with prophets and apostles, the issue for contemporary evangelism is not if one is effective. The central issue is are we responding faithfully to how God has called us to serve.

Unknown said...

Earl I appreciate your response and Biblical examples. I know that the prophets used street corners but then again that is really the only way to communicate to the masses those days.

I am glad you brought up Paul's sermon in Athens. For me this is the perfect example of Paul understanding how to talk to his audience. He knew who he was taking to and was able to convey the message in order for them to hear it. The prophets were doing the same thing, they knew the streets were the best way to get their audience to listen.

Effectiveness has to be in the conversation of evangelism or else you simply have people banging their heads against the wall. Without fruit being harvested we are only playing in the dirt. Is God's calling to preach on a street corner or making disciples? It is my hunch that it is more to do with making disciples. If you agree with that then we need to figure out the best way to reach the people, whether it is going to their place of thinking and having a discussion that doesn't even mention Jesus (as in Paul's case) or engaging more on personal level.

My biggest problem with this type of evangelism is it a waste of energy. I am called to preach God's word but I know that the 30 seconds someone is sitting at an intersection may not be the best way to make my case.

Erin G said...

I've wondered about this too. You have to admire the guy's boldness, but to me, serving as God has called us only does good if it's EFFECTIVE.

I must say this kind of evangelism wouldn't work on me, personally (not that I think I need it anyway), but I think it takes different types of witness to reach different types of people, and I think that's ok.

I read somewhere that it takes an everage of seven "touches" before someone will start to take seriously any form of evangelism shown to them. No idea if that's true, but it's interesting to think about.

wonder if this guy knew he was hollering to a preacher? :)