Disciples, Apostles, and Saints!
Reading about John the Baptist and Andrew the Apostle this week certainly sets a tone. It’s hard to read this week’s gospel and not think about how easy it seems to be for them. Here’s the Messiah? OK!
And yet many of us shrink at the opportunities we have to share the Good News with others. Some even flat out refuse to participate in evangelism.
The main reason, I contend, is that it isn’t so much evangelism, as the narrow vision of evangelism we have learned from our neighbors. A vision that can be both coercive and literal. Like proclaiming the Good News means literally quoting the Bible at people.
The older, broader understanding of evangelism is simply sharing with others what is life-giving to us. Not for the purpose of recruiting for our team, but to invite them into something that could give them life, too.
I suspect we’ve always gotten this mixed up. Because evangelism sounds like recruitment to Team Jesus. And naturally we want to recruit to Team Episcopal Church. But recruitment isn’t the principle character of evangelism. Sharing is.
It certainly was easier to share our vision of Jesus half a century ago. At least in the sense that most people were already recruited. On the other hand, I suspect fewer people experience genuine, heartfelt sharing these days. Which is something each of us can do.