I’ve heard a lot of talk lately about how we need to reach out to non-Christians. It seems everyone has an idea about a program or a method for evangelism – and that’s great, but I believe it should be easier than that. I’m not enthusiastic about learning what is the equivalent of a sanctified sales pitch. Perhaps we can learn a lesson from our car radio.
As you are driving down the road, you attention is arrested by a great tune. Something speaks to you. It captures your attention and then you begin to listen to the words so you can sing along. We should be like that. Our lives are the music. If we live them well, it gets people’s attention. They begin to observe and listen and perhaps even ask questions. They want to learn the words so they can sing along too.
If I was going to write my own program for teaching people how to share their faith, it would have three parts. The first is simple: smile. Try this experiment. Smile at a perfect stranger. Chances are they will smile back. Christians have a lot to smile about so how did we get such a sour-puss reputation? If thinking about what God has done for you doesn’t make you smile, please do us all a great favor and don’t tell anyone you’re a Christian! We need to talk!
The second point of my plan came from an avowed atheist, the magician Penn Jillette (the talking half of the team Penn and Teller). He made an excellent point in a YouTube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhG-tkQ_Q2w). If you really believe in life after death, you must really hate me not to tell me about it. Ouch! So why is it easier to go on spiritual safaris to share the gospel with perfect strangers and we can’t talk with the people we love? Don’t we want to see them with us in heaven?
My final point is closely related to the second. Perhaps we don’t share the good news with the people we love because we’re not sure what to say or we’re afraid we won’t know the answer to a question they might ask or perhaps we were taught it’s not polite to talk about religion or politics. The solution is honesty. Just share why you are a Christian: If there is a God – and I believe there are great reasons to believe there is – then it makes sense to listen to what he has to say. (You’re not one of those guys who is afraid to ask directions or read the instructions are you?) Honesty. If you don’t know, just say, “I don’t know – but let’s find out!” Honesty. Do you need to ask someone’s permission (just to be polite) before you push them out of the way of moving truck? So why is it impolite to talk to people about hope and love and the Abundant Life?
So start smiling! It’s the first step.