Images of white suited Bible thumping American TV evangelists; fundamentalists forcing their opinions on other people; fanatics using every which way to persuade, pull, or push people into converting; preachers standing in High Streets shouting about how passers by are going to hell unless they are washed in the blood of the lamb.
All these stereotypical images of evangelism are from recent feedback I have had.
What would people who are not Christian say?
Is it time we came up with a different word for it, a different word that means the same thing but without all the stereotypical images that we all attach to it?
As Colin Dye says in Reaching the lost, the word evangelism actually does not translate well from the Greek. It literally means to gospel, or to good news. It has the sense then that it is something we are perhaps, more than something we do. Translators have to put in words like ‘preach the’ for it to make sense i.e. to preach the good news. It has the meaning of being a messenger, someone coming from someone else who has the authority with a message of importance for everyone it is for.
The key things are that:
1. It is good
2. It is news
How else could we say it so that people who are Christians and people who are not, get the meaning but without the baggage? Baggage can weigh us down and stop us doing things. Evangelism is too important for that.
How else could we say it to a world that often does not think our news is good or that thinks it is not news because they think they know it already?
Suggestions not on a postcard but in the comments box please and let’s see what we can come up with.
If we can come up with something good that’s new, that would be good news.
If you would like regular evangelism ideas for you and your church, please sign up to receive the monthly update.