I bet that if you had 100 people in a room, you would have one hundred definitions of evangelism.
I recently heard a person say to me they define evangelism as
“Evangelism is finding the Presbyterians in my neighborhood.”
Well meaning perhaps, but that’s only an egg hunt for the right colored egg.
Evangelism is more than telling your testimony of faith.
It’s more than proclaiming a set of propositions.
But how do we say that evangelism is more than proclaiming and persuading?
Why I was defining evangelism?
This week, I attended an evangelism committee meeting.
Evangelism Committees often need to define Evangelism.
The evangelism committee makeup changes every year with new members coming on and members rotating off every few years.
Thus, the committee eventually brainstorms AGAIN the answer to the question:
“What is evangelism?”
It is a helpful process since those who volunteer to serve on the committee come with their own understanding of evangelism based on their
- theological history,
- training, and
- theological perspective.
How we searched for a common definition of evangelism
There are many definitions of evangelism.
Searching the web and my library for definitions, I find some are so wide to cover anything related to growing a church, some are so narrow as to the only three correct points in a scripted outline to a stranger, and some are in between.
Our evangelism committee did a little brainstorming exercise with post-its.
One idea per note, grouping the notes into relative categories.
It didn’t take long before we got into very healthy discussions over nuances, meanings, and shades of understanding.
We eventually settled on using a definition from the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA
The definition of Evangelism we used:
We settled on this definition of evangelism for many reasons.
- We are Presbyterians and its helpful to appeal to our higher authority (General Assembly).
- It’s theologically rich.
- It includes the activity of sharing, the content of the sovereign love of God, and a fourfold call to commitment.
- It goes beyond the “say-a-prayer” types, and sees the fruit of evangelism as integration into a church and outworking as a disciple.
Over the next few posts, I’ll sharing more about this definition and what it means. In the meantime,
Let me ask you this?
How would you define evangelism?
For more in our series “What is evangelism?”