Are you finalizing your plans for the fall festival, harvest party, trunk or treat, pumpkin carving, or other Halloween related outreach event at your church? A key component of these type of events is always planning how we will connect with, minister to, evangelize with, and preach the gospel for all those in attendance, especially guests who are not part of our church community. It’s your big chance to reel them in, right!??! I am going to be so bold as to suggest that maybe this year your plan of attack to win new followers of Jesus would be to have no plan at all.
You read that right. What if you skipped handing out tracts, asking people to share their contact information, or attaching a Bible verse to each piece of candy? What if instead you just provided a free, family friendly, welcoming event with no strings attached or ulterior motive? You in fact would be ministering in much the same way Jesus did. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, befriended outcasts, and gave endless forgiveness and love, not to mention his life and asked for NOTHING in return. Imagine how Christianity could be transformed if we provided genuine hospitality. What if people wanted to come to your church because they wanted to care for others the way you do, not because they were enticed or guilted into it?
I am not arguing that Jesus didn’t ask us to go into the world to share the good news and make disciples. He certainly did, but his request didn’t come with an instruction manual and maybe, just maybe we don’t go about our evangelizing in the most helpful way sometimes. Though I myself have a very strong Christian faith and even work for a church, I RUN the other way when someone knocks at my door with their faith based literature or wants my phone number so they can call and invite me to their church. I actually find it quite rude. I have a faith and it may be different from yours. Please don’t try to persuade me about of my beliefs. Instead, be my friend, show me how you love and care for the world around you, and put sincerity into discovering who I am and what I am about, and you might just get my attention.
Don’t think that the first time you forgo the intricate evangelism tactics that you will have droves of new members flocking through the church doors. You won’t. But maybe the fifth or sixth or twentieth time somebody feels your sincere welcome, they just might stick around. Even if they don’t, you can consider yourself successful in that you are serving as Jesus served, expecting nothing in return.
Reverse evangelism has worked at my church in my community. Will you give it a try in yours?