The Scene Has Changed
I have noticed a shift. I have been doing all kinds of evangelism for 25 years. Pretty soon after I became a Christian, I came under conviction that because of so many people who told me about Jesus along the way, who witnessed to me, I needed to do the same for others. So I have done street evangelism, personal witnessing, revival preaching, going door-to-door, sending out cards and letters, you name it.
This past month has been… interesting. I have a great crew of people who write notes to new movers, inviting them to church. 21 people went out and put 3000 door hangers out in the neighborhood around the church.
So here’s the thing. While getting out door hangers, I had a guy get pretty irate about it. I can count on one hand how many times that has happened in 25 years. Then we got a complaint from another person about getting a door hanger. And then, our notes to new movers went out Tuesday and by Wednesday we had an email thru the church website saying the person had received an unsolicited letter from us and take them off the list immediately.
None of this bothers me particularly, but in unison, they seem to point to a shift. Again, I have been doing this for 25 years and have not seen anything like it. And it is not because I was in Morehead for 9 years… I have served in Lexington twice before, and Louisville. I think--and this is just an initial impression—it has become acceptable to have an inhospitable response to communication from the church. The takeaway from this, though, is that the work of evangelism is going to have to be more and more the work of individual Christians in their circle of friends, family, and neighbors. It is going to be hard for evangelism to be a general marketing strategy from the church. It is going to have to be the personal work of individual Christians, witnessing to the goodness of God and salvation in Jesus Christ.
But here is the kicker: all our door hangers had an invitation to VBS on them. We have seen at least 2 families bring their kids to VBS through this. One of the families… is Muslim. Very interesting; complaints from Americans but a Muslim family comes because they want to get to know people in the community.