Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My heart hurts

I picked up my neon-green plastic carabiner flashlight this Sunday, and if that don’t want to make you ask me about my personal testimony, I don’t know what will. It even says, “Share Jesus” on the side, the only two words I need to know. A certain individual (who shall go unnamed) in my immediate ministerial vicinity has unleashed a church-wide campaign that will make my obedience to the Great Commission successful—if only I wear this and produce it from time to time. People who see it will just “want to know” my testimony, so I can invite them to Sunday School to hear the gospel. Any other way is just unbiblical, you know.

I put it to the test. I’ve been wearing it proudly on my key-ring (and for those who know me, already know I carry the jailor’s share), and so far, nobody has stopped me and asked me for my testimony. I’m not so sure I can invite anyone to church, if they don’t stop me to ask. I wondered if my WWJD bracelet and my colored “wordless beads” were confusing them . . .

Since I’ve been wearing my “thing,” I’ve actually been able to share the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ through tracts and conversation almost a dozen times, and my neon-green carabiner/flashlight never made it into the conversation, or my testimony. Maybe I’m holding it wrong . . .

Today at lunch, in a very safe environment, I produced my key ring—just plopped it on the table in front of the Freshmen I was with. Nothing. So I held up my neon green plastic carabiner/flashlight and asked, “Does anyone wonder what this is, or why I have it?” I got everyone’s attention! Great!

They stared at me, cheeks stuffed with macaroni and cheese, perhaps wishing they were back in Chapel, or falling asleep in class somewhere.

I said, “Does anyone want to hear my testimony?” And I waved the neon light around.

Before everyone thought I’d lost my marbles, I asked the group of freshmen I was eating with if this contraption made them think of spiritual things. Cautiously, each either shook their head, or said, “no.” I told them that I had the same feeling.

I told them how a minister in my church said that if I wore this, and produced it from time to time, people would want to know my testimony and I could invite them to church. What did they think? Blank stares.

I said, “Do you think if I wore this down to Five Points or for some other evangelistic campaign that people would be dying to know how my life was changed by Jesus?” We laughed. It was fun.

But it was sad.

“Why not just walk up to people and share the good news of Jesus Christ?” I asked.

What would be more obedient to the Great Commission: my “Going” and preaching the gospel, or my waving my neon-green sign in hopes that someone will come and ask?

The more I think about evangelism, the more excited I get . . . and the more distressed because when someone does ask about church, I feel hesitant to direct them to my own . . . Would I want someone attending my church if this is the way they handle the gospel?

I dare say I would not. For after this outrageous campaign, the room of Sunday School teachers was sternly warned that Sunday School was for evangelism, not teaching the Bible. Not socialization, but evangelism.

What’s wrong with going and telling?

My heart hurts.

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