Friday, November 15, 2013

The "E" Word: Evangelism

Evangelism is defined as the preaching or promulgation of the gospel.  Most people get REALLY uncomfortable with Paul’s call to us to be evangelists to the world.  Evangelism has gotten a bad rap.  Generally people associate evangelism with individuals trying to ram down a specific orthodoxy on a group of people.  I do not believe that evangelism and orthodoxy are the same thing. Evangelism to me is the sharing of your belief in God with others.
As a Christian writer, I cannot begin to explain my own process of coming to terms with my personal evangelism.  Let’s face it; it’s very difficult to say, “I’m a Christian!”  We are afraid of the looks we will be given; we are afraid of the preconceptions that people may have about us; we are afraid about the changes in relationships.  We are afraid about how we will perceived by others when society and the mainstream media tend to portray Christianity in extremes that rarely seem to represent what I believe; how I act; and how I know other Christians to act.  I generally believe that the majority of Christians are good, caring, and kind people.  I also believe that generally speaking, religions try to teach people how to be kind, caring and productive members of society.  But Christianity is often portrayed in extremist definitions that make the average Joe reluctant to share how God has touched his life.  It can be for some, almost like coming out of the closet.
When I was in the process of publishing my book, “Christ Walk: A 40 Day Spiritual Fitness Program,” I had not said anything to any of my friends.  I was very quiet about this process.  My spirituality and writing were my secret, shared with God alone.  I came to this realization that if I was going to publish this book and promote it; I was going to have to get really comfortable, really quickly with talking to LOTS of different people about my beliefs.  I remember very specifically having a text message conversation with a dear friend.  I went along the lines of:

Anna: BTW, I am publishing a book.

Friend: No way sister!  Why didn’t you tell me!

Anna:  Umm.  It’s about God. I didn’t want you to think I was a crazy Christian.

Friend:  No way!  That’s cool.

Anna:  You don’t think that’s odd?  Especially since you know I like cheesy chick lit and science fiction?

Friend:  No.

Anna:  You won’t think I’m weird?

Friend:  No.

Anna:  You’ll still be my friend even if we don’t agree on what I say?

Friend:  Uh.  Yes!  I can’t wait to get a copy for me and my mom!

Anna: Do you think I can do this?

Friend:  Absolutely! 

From there, I started to realize that people to understand each other’s belief sets if they don’t take the time to talk about it.  I am the same person I was before I wrote “Christ Walk.”  I simply took the time to express what I believe in a way that I wanted to share my passion for God, my family and my health in a holistic way.  Evangelism doesn’t have to be a scary word.  Evangelism can be that moment when you make a deeper connection with someone else by realizing that you both have a profound faith to share with each other.  It may also be the opening of the door for someone else that might not know about God, but allows them a safe relationship to explore a faith they may have never considered before. Evangelism is a fancy word for taking your faith out of the pew and into the world you live in daily.  It’s about how you show your “Christ Walk” to everyone around you in your life.
If you look at your faith story as God’s Story in YOUR life, and not something YOU own, then it becomes easier to share and evangelize your belief.  You don’t own your story.  It would not have happened without God being involved in it.  Therefore, give your story in the world as God’s gift of you to it.
#christwalk1 #fitness #church

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