“Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” ~Mark 5:19
I’ve been convinced for a while now that the reason we are not particularly evangelistic is that we’ve tried to convert people to the Church instead of to Jesus. We think people should be taught how to be members of the Church instead of being taught how to be followers of the Christ. And we’re so bogged down with all the rules and regulations and details of the faith that our story has become so complicated—DISTORTED—that we’re too afraid to tell it.
I can’t talk to my neighbor about Jesus or about my faith. What if he asks me a question I can’t answer? What is our church’s stand on this issue or that? What are we saying now about that topic that’s a little different from we were saying about it ten years ago? What are the reasons again we do or don’t do these certain things differently from everyone else? How do those Scriptures work that get me from Point A to Point B in those arguments we’re always having? I can’t remember all that. I might get something wrong.
So we don’t evangelize. We’ve made it so complicated—you can be a Christian, but I have to teach you how to be the right kind of Christian—that we’d rather not bother. Better to keep my mouth shut than to risk not knowing all the right arguments.
Terry Rush has articulated these thoughts so much better in his blog post from yesterday:
Loaded down with multiple and conflicting proof-texts while being well-warned of all those many false prophets, our people have become convinced we will not remember how it goes and most likely will get it wrong if we dare try. Therefore, the general population of the church lives frozen and mute; unable to move with confidence to extend their faith to another. We have concluded that refusing to share the life in Christ with others is a better option than taking a stab at sharing and getting it fouled up.
Please click here to read Terry’s wonderful little article on this problem. (His portrait of Barney Fife as the church cop who nervously paces with his whistle and badge, looking to bust somebody for getting part of the arguments wrong is classic.) And be encouraged to forget all the anxieties of the arguments and the details and just share with people what our God through Jesus is doing with you.