yesterday in church i told my congregation that i wanted them to finish my sermon by turning to their neighbors and telling them how God had been active in their lives. for about three minutes i stood at the organ discussing what was happening with the organist who was a bit skeptical about the exercise, but definitely intrigued by it. when i called them back to order i asked them if they knew what they had done.
a child sitting in the pew closest to where i was standing said, "we talked about God and us." well yes, i told them... but we did something else too... what was it... i'll give you a clue: it starts with an "e" and if it had less letters it would be a four letter word for many people in the church.
another child and one adult (my senior in high school organist's father) called out evangelism.
that's right! they looked shocked by what i had told them.
evangelism is not converting people, it isn't even getting people to join a church; that is the job of the Holy Spirit and she's quite capable of doing her job. (only some were taken aback by the feminine, some even liked it).
evangelism is simply sharing our faith with someone else. it's talking about what we believe, telling the story. most people have trouble doing this simple act. talking about faith is my profession and i still struggle with doing it with certain people; even some of my closest friends.
so we need to practice and then put our practice into practice. there is quite a bit of good news to be told and so many who have never heard it and are waiting for someone to be brave enough to tell them about God and God's love for them.
so i sent them out to tell someone. don't know how many of them will actually do their homework and share a story about their faith, but i will trust that the Holy Spirit will continue to use our faith stories to bring people to the way, the truth, and the light.