Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Evangelism / Invitation Question -

In yesterday's long boring post I said, "When did we decide to substitute “invitation” for “evangelism”? These words are not synonyms, and yet many of us treat them as though they were."

Here's my question, then. Do you think of evangelism as invitation, or is there something else to it? If so, what?


Anonymous said...

I might say that evangelism comes down to more than just an "invitation." I think that evangelism conjures up a lifestyle vs. practice conversation.

As Christian people, our lives should be a constant act of evangelism - that's where the lifestyle angle comes from. Too often times I think we see evangelism as something that we can start and stop - something that we create events around (placing door hangers or canvassing neighborhoods) that have definitely beginning and ending times. That's where the practice angle comes from.

Evangelism shouldn't be something that we just pick up and put down whenever we need to; rather, evangelism should be something that our lives, as disciple of Jesus Christ, exude as a way of being vehicles of God's love-filled grace.

Kory Wilcox said...

It's often been difficult for me to approach the word 'evangelism' without feeling cynical or negatively about it. I don't even know that I'm fully there yet. For many of the young Christians I associated with in this region during Jr. High and High School (not really at Campbell so much, but in general), the invitation component of evangelism was more of an explicit invitation to submit to man's routine judgement so to rightly expose the routine need for God's salvation. I am still very at odds with this subculture of our faith, because it seems that condemnation really only begets condemnation. And guess where you are invited go to get more of it?

My experience has been that true evangelism is a lifestyle - zealous LIVING of the good news; the invitation then becomes inherent (as opposed to prescribed), because life begets more life. Does that make any sense?

I just know that my sense of urgency to give my life to Christ was greatly influenced by one person and how radically different her lifestyle was to anything I had previously seen or known. I understood that there was more and that she GOT it. I still often think about her, and those memories STILL influences my own callings to ministry because every plan she came up with to 'evangelize' somehow ended up just being this covert mission to love on strangers!! She is one of a handful of people I know that I feel comfortable describing as unashamed and zealous.

That's my living picture of evangelism. I have to revert to it when I become negative or cynical because it is real and personal. The invitation within this experience was wordless and remains VERY compelling. I want to be ANYWHERE where I can learn how to be like that.

Anonymous said...

I believe that invitation is merely one element of evangelism. In my opinion, evangelism can be boiled down to proclamation, invitation and transformation. It begins with our proclamation of the good news of God, continues with an invitation, and comes to fruition in the transformation of the inviter, the invited, and the church itself.

Anonymous said...

Our lives can act as an Invitation. Then our witness can also act as a form of Evangelism when we let Christ live through us. But sadly we let that end with our lives in side the Church and not out in the world. I believe this has even led our Country to the place we are today. We as a Church have turned our backs on the teachings of Christ for the sake of Politics and soon I fear we will sell our freedom of Faith for the luxuries of the world. We could be a great Nation for God but first we must be a humble Nation under God. How can we ever lead anyone when our Nation has stopped following Christ. I just look at the abortion laws that are getting ready to be passed and even those revoked by this administration and my heart is filled with great sadness. And we are to be a Country for God...

bridger said...

I loved the post several weeks ago about "shaking the gates of Hell" with the love of Jesus. It doesn't take much except to live as close to Christ as possible and then to tell people about your life. You are a witness (an eye witness) to Christ in the life of a follower. Be prepared to share the basics of why you believe what you believe....

because God said this to us....
All have sinned -Romans 3:23
Wages of sin is death, but the
Gift of God is eternal life-Romans 6:23
If we ask Him to forgive us, and publicly state that we want Him to be the Lord of our life, He will forgive us and cleanse us. -Romans 10:9, 13

Then we begin the lifelong journey of trusting Him and following Him. As He guides and blesses you, and walks through difficulty with you, tell other people about it.

You don't have to preach a sermon, you just have to live and tell.