What kind of evangelist are you?
What we thought was just an excuse may actually be more valid than we thought. Do you bring people to you for the Gospel or do you have to go out to find them?
Over the years of doing active evangelism I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard this, "I have people approach me all the time asking about spiritual matters. I never have to go out of my way to share my faith. All I have to do is answer their questions and everything works out fine." If I did, I'd probably be able to fill my gas tank. Of course, my response on the outside is, "Uh huh, ok..." with a smile and nod; when in fact on the inside my mind's eye is rolling. I'm not alone in this. I mean, let's face it, to an active evangelist Christian such a statement sounds like nothing more than an excuse to not share your faith at all. I have even been flat-out contradicted in front of an entire church about this whole thing. During a Q & A after a sermon I gave about evangelism, this lady stepped up to the microphone and told everybody how you don't need to do anything that I just spent 45min talking about. So, yeah, forgive me if I get a little testy from time to time about this issue considering people have no problem embarrassing me in front of hundreds of people. However, recently I made a fascinating discovery. Before I reveal my findings, any intent to say, "I told you so," or smug looks that convey the nonverbal equivalent will not be tolerated because this discovery is completely different than you think. Plus, it doesn't actually change a thing as far as how we need to be sharing our faith.
Here it is: Some Christians are able to attract people to themselves for the Gospel and others have to actively go out of their way to reach people.
Mind-blowing right? This is something that has bugged me over the years and has finally been unlocked. It all started when I attended a Wednesday night Bible study at a church for the very first time. I told them what I do and they were very nice to me, but one of them began telling me about how she constantly has people coming to her about spiritual matters. As she was talking, I didn't detect the normal tone of, "You don't have to talk about Jesus to people, you just let people come to you..." This time instead it was a sincere testimony with an understanding that this doesn't occur to everyone. She also had the basic understanding of the Biblical principles of evangelism, so no mind's eye rolling this time. So obviously there must be such a thing as Christians who are able to attract people to them for Gospel conversations. After that night I spent a lot of time in prayer and studying the Scripture and I discovered that there were plenty of people in the Bible who were able to attract people without having to go out of their way.
John the Baptist is an excellent example of someone who could attract people to himself without him having to travel much. He was an "attract-er." He stayed out in the wilderness by the Jordan river pretty much his entire ministry, yet the children of Israel and even some Gentiles traveled hundreds of miles into an area far from civilization. This required lots of planning and sacrifice to make the trip. People would have to be gone for months, which means they might have even had to walk away from any businesses they had. Another example is Phillip in the book of Acts. He was just walking along when he saw the Ethiopian eunuch reading the Scripture. He just started a simple conversation with the man and he became born again right there! Some contemporary examples would be people like Billy Graham or Greg Laurie, who though they would actively share their faith with anyone and everyone everywhere they go, draw crowds of thousands to hear them preach the Gospel.
I'm not like that in any way. I'm the one who has to go out of my way to share the Gospel with people. Despite my obvious spirituality, people don't come to me with spiritual matters. They just don't, period. It has nothing to do with being "unloving" (quite the opposite in fact since I'm willing to tell the truth) nor does it have anything to do with my spiritual example. I firmly believe and have always believed that it's necessary to bring the Gospel to the world instead of trying to bring the world to church. I regularly have to go out of my way to share the Gospel and even plan events for that sole purpose. I have to hand out Gospel tracts to start conversations. I have to hold up a sign to get people's attention. You get the point right? You may believe it's just me, perhaps I'm just doing it wrong. Well, I'm not alone.
The Apostle Paul is an excellent example of someone who really had to go out of his way to get the Gospel to the world. He was a "go-getter" This man traveled the corners of the known world and made his way to even the emperor Caesar himself! Here's the thing, whenever he entered a place, he had to go to the Synagogues, the market places and wherever he was able to speak. Not a soul came to him for spiritual conversations, he really had to work every step of the way. I could also share examples of literally any missionary who has ever lived, since they were clearly going out of their way to get the Gospel out to the world.
The problem arises when each evangelism camp begins to act like the way things work for them is the only way. We both begin to fire accusations at the other side and it becomes this "us vs. them" mentality.
Those who attract people to themselves with spiritual matters believe nobody has to go out of their way and if people aren't flocking to them, they