If You Think Evangelism Is Easy, I’m Guessing You’re Not Doing It

APOSTLE PAUL: I am in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.

OTHER PASTORS: Took me four minutes and I got that guy saved and solved all his problems.
@FailingPastor

 

 

Pretty tired of reading books where the author saves people in between getting off the plane and getting to baggage claim.

Can’t take it anymore.

I’m not downing their evangelistic efforts. I have much respect for people who can strike up conversations with people about anything, let alone the Gospel.

Some plant, some water. I get it. No problem.

The problem I have is assuming that once your blessed 4 minutes with that person is over, they are done now. Totally saved beyond a shadow of a doubt. Everywhere they go people are getting saved in record time.

How do they know this?

Once you get your baggage and get in the taxi, do you see this person again? How do you know they are saved, simply because they said the thing you told them to say?

The Great Commission, which is often trotted out in support of this quick and easy method of evangelism, actually sounds quite hard and drawn out. We’re to make disciples and teach them to do everything Christ commanded.

Seems like it would take longer than a four minute stroll through an airposrt to convey everything Christ commanded. Maybe the first chapter of the Sermon on the Mount tops.

People need to stop counting salvations. It’s just wrong. Especially those who tell their convert “OK, now you are saved!” That‘s even worse. Telling people they are saved has to be one of the most ridiculously presumptuous things a person could say.

I’ve been a pastor for a long time. I can list names of people who I spent YEARS with, going over the Gospel, going over New Testament living, what the new creation in Christ looks like, and helping them overcome their sinful hang-ups.

It takes forever.

And get this: most of those I thought I was getting somewhere with? Yeah, they all eventually got mad at me and left the church. Most are not even going to church anymore.

One of the best ways to know you are not saving people is to spend time with those people.

Most of the people who brag about their easy evangelistic victories are either

1) moving so quickly that they’ll never see those people again or
2) in charge of so many people there’s no way they can possibly know each one personally.

Most of being a pastor is doing the discipleship thing. Spending years with people helping them understand what they have in Christ and what it means. Many play games with it and it takes years before they are honest enough about that.

It’s heartbreaking to see so many quit.

I do not know if they are saved. To all appearances I’d guess no. But I’m not the judge. The Judge judges the heart. I’ll let Him do that.

Since that’s His job, I will continue to refuse to pronounce people saved and announce how many I’ve saved. It’s all ridiculous.

Plant, water, fertilize, weed, and let God sort it out.

10 thoughts on “If You Think Evangelism Is Easy, I’m Guessing You’re Not Doing It

  1. The 4-spiritual-laws kind of “conversion” is simply one of countless ways in which the “church” has watered down & trivialized the gospel & the word of God.

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  2. Something that has really helped me is being completely aware that I can’t save anybody. Only Jesus saves. People will say things like, “I led him to Christ.” Even that is not really true, because Jesus calls us to Him. So all we can really do is plant some seeds and water them.

    As to people leaving, another hard thing is that people are often only in our lives for a season. It’s kind of like kids, we pour all this love into them for years, with the goal of having them leave us someday.

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      1. Yes very true, but people leaving in bad faith or with hostility sure does make me doubt their sanctification. My expectations of other people are often far too high, but just the same, I really do believe people should work just a bit harder to not disappoint me quite so often. 🙂

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  3. I share this same frustration and concern. It is so hard for me to get excited when someone “prays to receive Jesus”. I get very excited when months and years down the road I am continuing to see evidence of their faith, salvation, and growth in their relationship with Jesus. That is the more exciting element to me. Counting hands that go up and declaring salvations based on those raised hands of people who claim to have “asked Jesus to come into their heart” just seems to be a poor measurement.

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    1. Yes. I try not to doubt the profession of salvation, it very well could have begun there, but I don’t get massively exuberant over it. The battle has just begun and most of the seeds don’t grow to fruitfulness.

      Each of the seeds in the sower parable represent someone who heard the word and believed it, even with joy. But only one actually counted. I’m amazed the church has not picked up on this point yet.

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