See those posts to get the idea, but too often only extroverted evangelism methods are seen as the ideal. Introverts are forced into methods that do not work for them or made to feel defunct, but the opposite is not the case. Rarely are extroverts pressured to try introverted evangelism styles or made to feel useless!
For today’s post …I wanted to share recent evangelism opportunities.
⇒ ⇒ As mentioned in the one post, I have the old-fashioned hobby of postal pen pals. (Yes, people still do this!) One of my pen pals is a unique situation. We don’t exchange handwritten letters but cassette tapes where we record our thoughts. This is a blind Japanese woman. I know there are more modern ways we could communicate, but cassette tape is HER choice as she finds it easier. We have taped back and forth for at least 10 years. Since I share my life by tape, sometimes this includes my overtly Christian activities – such as working on my seminary degree, adult Bible teaching, substitute preaching, etc. She finds this aspect of my life interesting and from time to time asks me specific questions about Christianity.
Well, of course, I am pleased to answer her questions! Her questions are not adversarial, she simply knows next-to-nothing about Christianity. There are few Christians in Japan. It is an Asian nation where mission work has struggled, unlike certain other countries where there has been progress. The Japanese people and mission work among them needs our prayers.
I’ve been able to give an overview of Christianity several times in the past, but it is all so “foreign” to her. In the most recent cassette tape, she again asked me to explain the “big picture” of Christianity. I did. I went back to Genesis, the Jews, moved into the New Testament, and explained Jesus. I did that in just a few minutes, hitting highlights and the key points. Could you do this? [Meaning, do you understand your own faith well enough that you can step back and present an overview?]
Not criticizing you if you can’t, but you should think about it. Particularly when dealing with someone with no Christian background, you can’t just say “Jesus died for your sin. Believe” – as they have no framework. On that note: I highly recommend this book: The Story of Reality by Gregory Koukl. I review it here. In an increasingly multi-cultural world, Christians need to re-consider their approach to sharing the gospel.
I pray the Holy Spirit will at some point bring understanding to my friend, and she may come in contact with Christians in Japan.
⇒ ⇒ You may laugh at this gospel sharing opportunity, but here goes. I have been getting repeated phone calls from a place called “household benefits.” The callers always have a certain accent, making me assume their background is Muslim or an Eastern religion. I’ve become increasingly annoyed by their calls and have tried different things, including asking to be put on the do not call list. It has not worked. Well, I thought, why not try sharing the gospel with them? haha. But seriously. I did.
First attempt was an amazing success, in that, to my surprise, the person listened to me and responded with an occasional “okay” (etc) as I went on and on. I’d estimate I talked for a solid 5 minutes, telling him about the Lord Jesus, quoting some Scripture, and emphasizing the unique things about Jesus – Jesus is not only a prophet or good teacher but God incarnate. This fellow did not respond by accepting Christ, but he did listen! Second and third attempts with two other callers went differently. The one quickly told he was Muslim so Jesus was not for him. I then took a different approach – stating that Christians and Muslims do agree on some things about Jesus. But we can’t stop with Jesus as good prophet only, and I urged him to consider that Jesus was more than this and that as a Muslim, Jesus was for him too! The guy would not let me continue and the call ended. Third attempt…this guy was quickly frustrated with me, saying that the call was not about Jesus but household benefits, and hung up. (No calls since!)
⇒ ⇒ Last autumn I taught a class on Christology at my church. I wrote it myself, and you can access it for free here. Towards the end of teaching this, my husband and I visited a nearby town known for an old fashioned Main St with special shops. Everything about Christ was fresh in my mind, including false things taught about Jesus by Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christian Scientists.
First we came across two JWs set up on the public walkway with literature. I did not do the best I could here, but did have a brief word with them and quoted John 1:1 and expressed my concern that they ad the word “a” to this verse which totally alters its meaning and creates a false Jesus. But it was basically me quickly saying these things, and a conversation did not really take place.
You might be thinking “Are you sure you are an introvert? Speaking so boldly like this on a public street with strangers?” – Well, I was nervous but the info was fresh in my mind, making me comfortable with my knowledge. I also felt I had to say something. I mean, I was teaching a class on Christology! But the next opportunity was more introvert friendly…
We came to a Christian Science reading room. It was open, so I went in. These reading rooms are designed for quiet reading, study, and reflection with books they provide. A volunteer was there. She welcomed me, and then I took the plunge and engaged her in discussion about Jesus – emphasizing the importance of his deity.
It was worthwhile dialogue where each of us shared with one another. We talked for a good 15-20 minutes. It was friendly. She had never experienced an informed person such as me come in, so this was a first for her. From a nominal Christian background, she discovered Christian Science – which is neither Christian nor scientific, by the way. As our conversation came to a close, I was re-assured by some statements she made, which made it clear that I had properly emphasized the importance of Christ’s deity to her. I mentioned that if I was wrong about the deity of Christ, I lost nothing. But if she was wrong, she lost much more – everything really.
In closing, don’t try to force a method or style of evangelism on yourself that does not match you! If you are an introvert…
* Consider indirect methods of communication such as by computer or postal mail.
* Where is your passion or knowledge focus? Introverts aren’t usually good at ad-lib talk, but can be articulate when the topic is of special interest to us. Look for opportunities to talk about your biblical or theological passion.
* Don’t forget LISTENING. It is a lost art. Introverts can be great listeners, and thoughtful listening can open up doors to share the gospel. Because we can listen, we may better perceive a person and situation.
Your thoughts welcome.