If it were not for evangelism, I would not know Jesus Christ – Chuck Sanford
Evangelism and Inclusion
If it were not for evangelism, I would not know Jesus Christ. If I didn’t know Him, I wouldn’t be here. I’m not exaggerating; if I was not rescued by Jesus Christ, I would be dead by now. At the same time, had the Church not accepted me, evangelism would not have happened.
I bring this up because, apparently, a lot of us who are both Millennials and Christians don’t like evangelism, or at least that’s what this one study says.^1 Now, I could spend the limited word count I have showing you the errors in the methodology of this particular study. Instead, I want to share with a little bit about my journey, and why I’m so incredibly grateful for evangelism. (Note that the story below took place before I was born, and pieced together over the last 31 years. Some details may be mixed up.)
In 1986, a divorced sailor with two kids and knocked up ex-girlfriend was talking to his friend John. I don’t know all the details of their conversation, but it ended with my daddy coming to Christ. A few weeks later, John ends up having a conversation with the knocked up ex-girlfriend, and my Momma comes to Christ too. He asks her to marry him, so this very pregnant woman loads up her three kids drives across the country. They get married, and a few months later- here comes baby me!
Because of evangelism, I was raised by married parents who drug me to Church whether I liked it or not. We were one of those families that were at the Church any time the Church was open, but then someone eventually gave them a key.
Here’s the thing though; it would not have mattered how many people like John told mom and dad about Jesus if there wasn’t a Church that accepted us, loved us, and nurtured us. Can I tell you that it wasn’t easy for those Churches? Mom and Dad still looked and acted and smelled like sin. The six of us kids? We were wild and rowdy and broke things and broke the youth pastor’s arm twice. We hung out with rough people, got in fights (although usually not at Church), and did all sorts of stuff where you wouldn’t blame the Church for kicking us out.
The Church never did. We were always accepted and treated like we belong, and because of that, I am here today.
Sometimes we get it a little mixed up on our theology, and that makes it a little harder for us to be as accepting as we should be.
We believe that the Holy Spirit calls us to believe in Christ, and that moment we respond to God adopts us into His family. Sometimes we think that once that adoption takes place, that’s when people really belong- but that isn’t how adoption works.
I have two boys. They are both my sons, and if you say they aren’t my sons we’re gonna have problems. One of them is adopted; he knows all the things that Sanfords know. He talks like us. He knows our stories and our rules and does his best to follow them. My other son is a foster son. He’s newer to us, so doesn’t know everything that Sanfords know. He hasn’t learned our stories or our rules yet. He’s not legally mine yet, but that’s a technicality; he is my son. He belongs, and because he belongs one day he’ll adopted.
The same goes in the Church- we can’t expect anyone to accept the Gopsel if we’re not willing to accept them.