What do you think of when you hear the word “Evangelist” or “Evangelism”? I don’t know about you, but I used to have a pretty skewed understanding of what those words meant. I’m not sure if my misunderstanding was just my limited life experience, but those words used to conjure up images of bible-thumping “fire-and-brimstone” preachers. Even my own attempts at “evangelism” as a teenager were actually more like an insurance sales pitch: We’re bad people. Jesus died so that God will let us into Heaven when we die. We just need to say the “magic words” and try to follow the rules and then we have a ticket to eternal bliss after we leave this sorry planet, instead of going to hell.
All of this is a far cry from the “messenger of Good News”, that an “Evangelist” is supposed to be. We need to decide what the “good news” actually is. Is the “good news” that life on this planet is depressing and meaningless, and that death is even more painful if we don’t get our ticket stamped? Or is the Good News that Heaven came to earth. That God became human. That God wants an actual relationship with each and every one of us?
Jesus is the good news. Jesus didn’t just come to stamp admission tickets into heaven. Jesus came to give us the opportunity to have a personal and intimate relationship with God himself. Jesus gives us the gift of forgiveness. The gift of redemption. He gives us the gift of friendship and love. He gives us the gifts of Heaven now. Being a Christian doesn’t mean enduring a meaningless life in hopes of getting into Heaven someday. Being a Christian means befriending Christ and pursuing a loving relationship with God so that he can establish the Kingdom of Heaven through us.
Evangelism isn’t some kind of religious sales pitch. Evangelists are children of God that are so in love with their Savior that they just can’t help but bubble over with excitement when they talk to others about this amazing relationship. This isn’t some cosmic numbers game with God and the Devil competing for souls! This is a loving God who refuses to force himself on anyone, but freely offers choice. This is a God who humbled himself and became human so that he could pursue us and relate to us.
And THIS is GOOD NEWS!