My view of evangelism was way too narrow and rigid.
The first thing that comes to mind when I hear evangelism is a stranger on the street coming up to me and asking me if I know Jesus. That sounds terrifying if you are someone who is very shy, non-confrontational and typically keeps spiritual life personal (a lot like me).
But over the past year, I've come to define evangelism differently.
Evangelism is inviting others to share in the life you are already living with Jesus.
It really is that simple - let me share a seemingly awkward experience from my personal life. The floor I lived on in my dorm housed sophomores and exchange students, but many of us didn’t spend a lot of time there. I wanted others to come to Chi Alpha events so they could have a chance to be a part of a community that for me has been incredibly meaningful in my college career. My question for myself became, how can I be invitational to students I’m not friends with and who don’t spend a lot of time just hanging out in the dorm? Well, opportunity to engage with others presented itself in the most unexpected and somewhat uncomfortable place.
I found the only time I ever spent a significant amount of time with the girls on my floor was in the bathroom.
Okay, that sounds crazy, maybe even gross, but it’s true. Standing at the sink washing your face or brushing your teeth is several minutes I got to introduce myself, ask how their day was and even what their interests are. It seemed strange at first, but it was an opportunity to be friendly to someone and I have some great conversations!
Nancy is a student from China who in her one semester at American University, joined XAi (Chi Alpha International), came to small group, worship and church, read the gospel for the first time, and made life-long friendships. Her third night in the dorm, it all began at the bathroom sink with the following.
- “Hi! My name is…
- Where are you from? …
- Would you like to come with me to a dinner hosted by Chi Alpha for international students?”
I get it, it might be awkward to talk to someone you don’t know about what you study in small group, but the worst thing they can say is they don’t want to come.
And if you continue to ask her kindly even after she said she’s too busy every week for six months straight, there will come a day when she’s free and remembers you talked about your Monday night small group and asks you if she can come with you.
How do I know this? It's happened to me before!