Last week, when I was on vacation, I was driving through Pensecola on a Saturday afternoon and saw dozens of people at different streetcorners holding up Bibles and yelling at the cars going by. They were holding up signs, trying to frighten people into believing in Jesus and saving their souls.
As I drove by I asked myself - is this effective evangelism? Are drivers really listening to what these people are saying, or are they, like me, making sure that the windows are rolled up and trying to ignore them.
I really do not believe that this "Bullhorn" method of evangelism works. The world is innundated with noise all around us, and this style of evangelism is just another piece of that noise that rubs many people the wrong way.
So, the question then is, is this is not effective, then what is?
One of the things that I think our society yearns for, what we as humans really need in our lives, are relationships. We need to have people we can talk to, relate to, ask questions of, and share our joys, dreams, and struggles with. We need contact with other humans where we can bare our souls and know that we will not be judged because of the questions and even doubts that we may have.
Essential what we need are spiritual friendships.
A spiritual friendship is one of those relationships where we get together we another person or people, where we talk about what is going on in our lives, and maybe even, over time, pray together and grow with one another. We need these relationships to grow in our own lives and walk with others as they grow in their lives.
And you know what, this is also the most effective way to do evangelism. When we show a deep interest in someone else, when we listen rather than talk all the time, when we build the relationship and trust that comes with it, we are then more able to share the love of God with another person. It is all about showing people that we do not have all the answers, we are still searching, growing, and struggling in our own lives. And we are doing so with others and with Christ walking with us.
So my prayers today revolve around the development of spiritual friendships, that I may have to opportunity to build these relationships with others, and that you may have that opportunity as well.