I never thought of myself as an evangelist.
Growing up, my experience of ‘evangelists’ was limited to those crusade-holding, slightly mysterious John the Baptist types. We’d host special meetings, we’d invite the lost, silently willing them forward as the altar call was announced. The evangelist would lead those at the front in the sinners’ prayer, we’d be genuinely delighted at what had just happened, and then the new believers would be led away to be given a Bible and counselled.
No, I was not an evangelist.
Oh, I knew the verses very well, that we are all called, that we all need to share, but in my mind, the role of an evangelist was for the specially annointed ones who gave up everything to stand on street corners, sharing the Gospel.
Turns out, I was wrong.
I’m starting to realise that ‘evangelism’ is what naturally pours out of you when you’re talking to someone who is facing an impossible situation.
Evangelism is what happens when you see horror and hopelessness on the news and something deep in your heart wants to say, ‘but, but, BUT there IS hope…it’s Jesus…He’s real’.
Evangelism is what happens when a non-believing friend tells you they’re about to do something really daft…it’s that feeling of wanting to tie a rope around their middle and haul them back to safety.
Evangelism is what happens when (like me, the other day) you’re in the back of a taxi and the driver’s got his ‘without-your-love-I’m-a-dead-man’ tunes on the radio and you suddenly get this weird inkling to say, ‘well…to be honest…even the best lover in the world will STILL let you down’.
(WHERE did that come from??!)
The thing is, the older I get, the more I experience the goodness of God in all the ups and downs of this sometimes-stupid life, the more I want to tell people about Him, about how He’s the hope to hang on to when everything in life has disintegrated.
He’s the calm in the storm, when the media tells us we’re all doomed.
He’s the one who holds us together when we’ve lost absolutely everything.
He’s the one who reminds us that we can go on, that we can get through whatever-it-is, that we will be ok.
This salvation and changed-lives stuff is the best news in the world. Telling other people isn’t a ‘calling’ or a chore – it’s just the most natural thing in the world.
My life has been changed, held together, propped up and transformed in so many different ways.
Turns out that I always was an evangelist. I just didn’t know it.