In Living His Story (the Archbishop of Canterbury’s 2021 Lenten Study), the Rev. Dr. Hannah Steele explores evangelism as a way of sharing God’s love with our neighbors in a post-Christian world. Evangelism is an invitation to others to switch stories and therefore to a changed life. Lent is the ideal time for us to recover and relearn our story so that we are then prepared to share the Good News of Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday. This lesson covers seven weeks.
Evangelism is an invitation and a summons to switch stories and therefore to change lives.
Evangelism is the act of simply inviting someone to participate in this story of the Risen Christ. Our problem is that we make evangelism too complicated, and like Moses, we create excuses to stay on the sidelines.
Evangelism is theocentric (originating in God) not anthropocentric (originating in the needs of humanity). It is defined, directed, energized, and accomplished through the Trinity and not through us. We have a role to play as simply the messenger or storyteller.
The Parable of the Sower offers us two ways of considering evangelism.
All stories share certain traits, but no two stories are eh same. Everyone has a different experience of transformation.
Peter writes that we should always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks why we place our hope in Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 3:15.
When we begin to look at Jesus’ interactions with others, we discover his interactions are not reducible to a set formula or even a set teaching.
We have the example of Jesus’ ultimate vulnerability in the story of the Passion. Jesus cedes control of the situation to the other person so that he may draw them to himself.
Who is it that the Spirit places in our lives that we are to go to? Who is the chance conversation that we may have about Jesus? Who is God-fearer, the spiritual-but-not-religious, or the non-rule-follower, that we are being called to tell our story to?
The first thing we should notice in the stories of Philip and the Ethiopian and Peter and Cornelius is that the Spirit drives the early church towards risk-taking and not comfort-seeking.
For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. Acts 17:23
“You mean,” asked Lewis, “that the story of Christ is simply a true myth, a myth that works on us in the same way as the others, but a myth that really happened? In that case, I begin to understand.”
Conversion stories on the Road to Damascus and the Road to Emmaus.
Jesus did not demand converts but disciples. Discipleship, however, takes time and is a life-long process.