Why Evangelism Often Fails And How To Change That

OK-Namaste-1 When I use the word, evangelism, I am defining it in broader terms than you probably expect.  Instead of narrowing the definition to the spreading of Christian doctrine, I’m including the energy behind promotion of anything you or I consider truth.  Besides the classical Christian idea, it would allow for ideas of healthy nutrition, proper child rearing, to political agendas.

Spoiler Alert:  We are visual people and you might assume that the picture in this article means that I’m going to be proposing that a lack of prayer is the cause for failure and more prayer is the solution.  “Praying Hands,” right?  Nope.

Everyone believes that their emphasis in any of their proposed areas are right, or “the most right.”  You and I may actually be right or “the most right” on any specific topic of importance.  But may I first suggest that a by-product of what the Bible calls “the flesh” is abundant in life.  It crisscrosses topics and cultures.  The flesh bows at the throne of “Being Right.”

It’s not anybody’s ambition to “be wrong.”  There’s no virtue in that.  Truth is truth and right is right.  And, I have been right too many times when I’ve actually been wrong because of the attitude behind my arguments.

Although we wouldn’t like to admit it (because a good debate can certainly feel good and on rare occasions actually influence changes in a few people’s thoughts, it more often creates a “winner/loser” divide.  It enforces an “us/them” mentality.  One that may not have even been intended.

With me, it’s not because my positions of truth have been wrong (in my imagination, anyway).  And, I certainly didn’t want to cause yet another “me/them” divide.  But, something inside of me would raise it’s ugly head with a self-deceiving righteous mask.

I just had to prove that I was right.  It rankled me (my flesh) to be opposed.  And let me tell you, once the “I’m on the right side” battle starts, there remains very little room for each party (or observing parties) to even be understood.  People begin interpreting each others words based on their own biases.  Major Fail!

So, now to the image (above) of what was thought by many to be “Praying Hands.”   It’s actually the image of a practice called Namiste.  You’ll often see it in oriental cultures.  In fact Namiste is a part of Hindu influenced practices.  (Now, if you are a Follower of Christ, your antennae just shot up.)

Chill.  I’m not suggesting that anyone adopt a Hinduism belief system.  I do not agree with Hindu spiritual propositions.  However, Namiste, in it’s most basic definition means, “I bow to you”  Hinduism has extended the idea to “we bow to the god in each other.”  That is not what I am proposing…(read on)

However, at it’s essence, there is a humility and respect for the individual that is being promoted and I firmly believe that is Christ-like and much of the solution to extensive failure and relational injury in evangelism (both Christian and other life truths.)

If the person you’re talking to actually feels like you respect them and that you sincerely want to hear the heart of why they believe what they do, then they will be far more open to hearing your position.  Sowing and reaping.

Do you want to win arguments/debates or do you want to win souls?  Because you see, even when you are “winning your point” you’re touching the sensitivities of a human soul.

Whether your “evangelism” involves Christianity, life and emotional/physical values, or politics, the larger picture will only be successfully won a “soul bite” at a time.  Trampling with truth will never result in genuine wins.  As I said in a Facebook status update at Easter, “Resurrection life follows the most right person’s choice to die to the demand of being right.”

And that’s my thought for today.  AND I’M RIGHT D*%M IT! 🙂   Okay, that’s……umm…well if I have to explain the tongue in cheek, I’ve probably already lost, eh?

I’d love for you to chime in.  Reply or comment!  

Gary