Y’all know Brandon Hawkes. He’s one of our favorites. He’s an amazing disc golfer, and his sincerity is palpable. Brandon recently asked me some questions about ECPC’s evangelism training program. In the course of our conversation, Brandon made the following observation, “It seems that many people are shouldering an unnecessary sense of personal deficiency and guilt in the evangelism department.” Certainly there’s something to be said about having a plan and a passion for evangelism (which I will talk about in the 3 points below); but on the whole it is true (and lamentable) that people are afflicting themselves with consumeristic paradigms, pressures, and comparisons when it comes to evaluating their zeal for evangelism. Brandon suggested that I share my philosophy of outreach with ECPC, in order that y’all might have greater clarity and confidence regarding evangelism.
So without further ado, here’s Tyler’s Philosophy of Evangelism [A.K.A. Tyler’s Pyramid of Evangelocity]:
- The base of the pyramid is CHARACTER. By ‘character’ I don’t mean integrity (though that is important). By ‘character’ I mean that you must know that God is an Author, and you have been assigned a particular role in His story. If you truly want to do the work of an evangelist, you must first clarify which role God has assigned you to play in the story He’s telling. So, if you like bowling, then chances are good that you are being stationed (by God) to have Christlike, Christ-honoring Christ-oriented, and Christ-orbited interactions with people who enjoy bowling. If you were born a woman, then it is not your place to have significant Gospel-impact or intimacy in the New Orleans Saint’s locker room. However, if you can sling an American football with velocity and accuracy, and your name is Drew, then you can have a high degree of certainty and clarity that God intends for you to have an evangelistic presence in the N.O.S.L.R. If you’re not thrilled with the idea of going door-to-door with a “gospel script” that’s perfectly okay; instead go to a coffee shop and read a book you sincerely enjoy, and when you see someone else with their nose in a book, ask them what they’re reading and simply chat about the myserteous fact that all human beings crave stories. Honestly ask yourself, “Who am I? What I am genuinely excited about?” Mountains? Beach? Board games? Baseball? Chess? Cooking? Tinkering? Fashion? Etc. You are free to be unashamed of the role God assigned you to play, and you are free to be excited about the stuff that God has crafted you to crave.
- Within the role God has assigned you to play, and the communities that you’re insatiably inclined to participate in, you must embrace Christ-centered CONFIDENCE! The Samaritan woman in John 4 provides an excellent illustration of confidence. This lady was extremely confident and insistent that everyone ought to encounter Jesus (who – she promises – will completely expose you for who you really are)! We need not be bashful, or overly-sensitive, toward the people we do life with. We are free to enjoy our addiction to Jesus with anyone and everyone we come in contact with. If you’re honestly married and addicted to Jesus, then you will quite naturally speak of the chief truth and desire of your life.
- Finally, the peak of the pyramid is CONSISTENCY. Think of a person who jogs to the top of a hill 4 or 5 times a week. The good practice of jogging is only effective and healthy so far as a person consistently shows up and runs to the top of that hill. There’s nothing immediately-gratifying or celebrity-esqueatious about it; it’s simply a matter of consistently showing-up and taking each and every monotonous step up that hill. Don’t think of the conversion of your non-Christian friends like a firecracker (where you just light the fuse/say the script …hear the sibilating sound and see the sparks of the heat working its way to the impending ka-boom of their spectacular conversion) but rather embrace the fact that your non-Christian friends will eventually convert through a steady application of pressure over a marathon’s worth of consistently showing up in their life as a weirdo Jesus-addict who actually loves them!