For the next few weeks, I’m teaching in a Spanish language missions school, particularly on cross cultural conversational evangelism.
Two of the opening questions I often ask are:
- When I think about evangelism, I feel. . ..
- When “evangelism” is mentioned, I begin to think . . .
A North American Answer
When I ask these questions to audiences in mainline denominations in North America (English speaking), the typical answers I receive are
and a variety of synonyms around these words. Evangelism is a chore, survival strategy for churches, and something many feel incapable of doing.
A Latin American Answer
When I have taught in a Spanish language context in both the US and Latin America, the answers to the same question have been different.
When I talk about evangelism fears that English speaking North Americans feel, I get blank stares — as if I’m missing the mark. I finally figured out why.
Last week’s Spanish speaking class answered the questions above with
- Happy in my heart
- Freedom from my own guilt
- Privileged to share such a message
- Joy because I have received God’s grace
- Sad because other’s haven’t found this grace.
- Compassion for those who don’t yet know Jesus
Admittedly, the group I was teaching were students preparing for long term missions among unreached people groups. There may be a passionate slant towards evangelism.
Yet in 10 years of cross cultural ministry I have not yet encountered the same level of evangelism fears in Latin America that I find in the US among traditional mainline churches.
I find this contrast consistent enough in my experiences in conducting evangelism in both cultures and it makes sense as to why I get blank stares talking about evangelism fears in Latin america.
That’s not the hindrance to personal evangelism in this culture.
Let me ask you this?
When you think about evangelism, what do you feel?
Feel free to share in the comment fields below. Feel free to tell us a little of your context.