20060322

shock evangelism

over the past few days i have been processing an event that was so different for me, it kind of freaked me out. one friday a month we bring in a few bands for a concert at 247connection. we do it because fridays are what we call "the asylum; a safe place for crazy people." it's a time when we open the doors and let the local teens hang out and drink free coffee - and share relationships. this last friday, along with the bands, we had "visitors" across the street, and they were not the friendliest group i had the pleasure of meeting.

they where six men, all over 6' tall, 250lbs between the ages of 30-40. now, i add this because you need to remember that on friday we can get some 100-200 teens coming in and out of any concert we host and this was not exception. these men were from a local missionary baptist church. they desired to "share the gospel" from across the street. their "idea" of the gospel was to shout that all the teens were going to go to hell because they were wearing black and listened to "evil rock music." the teens started to get a bit upset, and they asked if we knoew what was happening and why these men where souting at them. so, me being over 6' and 250lbs, i decided that i would venture across the street to ask why they felt it important to insult the kids. my intention was to invite them over to 247connetion and we could have them speak with the teens without shouting. well, as i got their and introduced myself to them i was shouted down and insulted on levels that would make a truck driver weak in the knees; needless to say they did not want to visit with us. one, even tried to accuse me of "assault" because i touched his arm as he was walking away from me - when i explained that we were a church, and that i was the pastor and all i wanted to do was talk - they continued to shout and called me names i would have never believe would have come from a fellow follower.

this got me thinking, do they truly think people are listening to them? i mean, all the teens kept away from them and the police asked them to move on [they said they were being "oppressed" because they had to keep moving]. all i was able to get from them is a self-righteous drive to prove they were right and everyone else, who thinks different, was wrong. i could not find a single thread of kindness, of humility, or grace, of love, or care in anything they were sharing. they did not desire a conversation, they simply wanted to shout down anyone with a question. being from the southwest, this was new to me - i am sure they are around in the soutwest, but i never ran into anything like it. it is hard for me to understand a monolog when it comes to faith, because i see so many conversations.

i think there is something counter to "sharing good news" by insults and fear. i mean, good news is good, by it's nature - right? as i walked back to 247connection, after being insulted on levels unknown, one of the teens came to me and asked, "why do they hate us so much?" wow, was that a shock. the men thought they were doing good, but the teens saw it as hate. i replied, "i don't think they hate you, they are doing what they think is right. it is not our style, but it is theirs." with that the teen walked away, and as she did i heard her say to her friend, "that is why we like coming here, they don't shout at us."

the idea of "beating people into jesus" is so not where we need to be as a church. jesus loved people, and so should we - we need to love people unconditionally, without shouting at them. when we love, truly love - without placing conditions on that love - people truly desire to know us and our faith. they open the conversation, they seek to know what we believe and they desire to learn from us - but when we shout, we only share how closed we are and how out of touch we are with the needs of people - people need love, not fear.

the funny thing about all this is that several people in the congregation was surprised it took them so long to getting around to doing what they were doing. i tried to get the name of the church they were from, but got noting but "kjakhdfkhsd missionary baptist church." hopefully, i will be able to get it the next time - and i am assured there will be a next time - and i will try to speak with the pastor - and i will post the results of that.

3 comments:

Jason Clark said...

I still find it hard to believe Christians think that this is evangelism in any way. So sad, and deluded. Jason

peter said...

Ask most people what they think of when you say 'Christian', and you will likely get a negative response. What a difference to how we are supposed to be living. I posted on this idea earlier this week and got a great response from it. People don't expect Christians to be perfect; but they do expect us to be genuine. Yelling and insulting people in an effort to get them to church is far from being genuine Christianity. Here is a link to the full post:

http://www.lublink.ca/?p=108

Peter

Miracle said...

Living in the southeast, I've known these types of people for a long time. What is sad is that they probably knew you were a church and had this planned for months. Now they will go back to their church to talk about how filled with satan your "cult" is. It is really upsetting, because they didn't really care about building the kingdom, but building their personal selves and backwoods church... Gotta love the bible belt