Good news doesn’t have to be rehearsed.
Think about it. If there is a birth or a wedding, no one struggles with how to declare it.
We’re having a baby!
We’re getting married!
The right words are pretty obvious.
On the other hand, bad news requires more thought.
I regret to inform you that…
The cancer has spread.
There’s been an accident.
There is nothing more we can do.
Similarly, good brands spread more organically because the product speaks for itself. We don’t need convincing. We recognize that it is good.
Sure, they advertise good things too but this is usually a matter of bringing something good to our attention.
With evangelism, we are actually commissioned with the tasks of delivering both the good news and the bad news. This is where things get tricky.
We have to address the false advertising of other “brands”.
We have to correct the misinformation that exists about our “brand”.
If we try too hard we come across like carnival barkers or hack magicians. Some people have gotten the impression that we are selling something.
But grace is the free gift of God.
I’m uncomfortable with the idea of faith as a sales pitch and yet I recognize that there is a propositional aspect to truth.
People have to be presented with truth claims before they can accept them.
Many Christians are deathly afraid of sharing about their faith with others. Because of this, a large amount of resources have been developed over the last twenty years to assuage these fears, most notably Sharing Jesus without Fear. The aim of these materials is to equip people to turn the conversation toward the gospel in a natural and non-confrontational way.
But then, there is something about the resulting style of presentation that strikes both Christians and non-Christians as disingenuous.
I don’t, as a rule, talk to strangers about my faith but then I never neglect an opportunity when one presents itself directly. If someone asks me what I believe, I tell them. If someone makes a statement about the Bible or about Jesus that I believe is misguided, I engage them.
But I don’t turn a conversation about the Dallas Cowboys into a Billy Graham crusade and I don’t go looking for arguments.
I realize that many of the first Christians did talk to strangers and were confrontational. I realize that many Christians have found this approach very effective.
In the whole scheme of Christ’s hands and feet, I like to think I serve a different function. Some people are a megaphone. Others of us, like me, are a whispered reassurance that God is here and that He is good.
There is a quiet confidence that comes with true faith that enables one to be still amid chaos or to move with the fury and intensity of God’s love.
May we, one and all, possess that strength.