That's right, boys and girls, it's time to talk about Evangelism. This post brought to you by the number 3 and the Evangelism Marketing Board: try some yesterday, today, and tomorrow!
Some new statistics came out today about church attendance which have the clergy in a tizzy. That's right, I said "tizzy." Google it. "We've got to work on evangelism," we're saying over email. "Why are the numbers so bad?" we lament. This should come as no surprise as the 90s were supposed to be the Decade of Evangelism, according to the national church. Some of us have put forth the radical notion that sharing our passion for the faith and the relationships we form at church is precisely what Jesus meant when he said, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations." [Notice I did not suggest getting them to come to church or fill out a pledge card...]
Regardless, my father had the following to say about the whole thing and I think it worth reprinting:
"The hard thing to do of course is to know, well, what to do. You
know there are some who attribute or have attributed our decline to advocacy of women rights, civil rights, approval of gay clergy and marriage and 'abandoning Biblical ethics.' Others think we have declined because we have too much 'happy clappy' music or not enough. Or projections screens or whatever.
"For what it is worth, I lay the blame [that is the American game is it not] on the people of our generation who decided church was no longer important for them or their children. Thus we have a generation of people, now in their 30s who have never been to church or never seen it as important. The culture too works against all of us - bigger, better, faster, more and easier is the mantra of America and Western Europe.
"What I am saying is that the decline of the church all over western culture is not entirely the fault of those of us who work in the church. Still there is much we can do. I think this fits in with Bishop Breidenthal's desire to emphasize 'formation.' Let's work at teaching church members first that talking about religion and faith outside the walls of our building is acceptable and mandatory. Then let's teach them how to do it.One on one evangelism is the way to go."
What I've asked the youth of Redeemer is, "What do you love about this place?" What event do you love? Who can't you wait to see when you come here? What are you excited about doing? Now invite someone to do it with you.