Does God like it when we involve not-yet-believers to our core practices, such as doing evangelism?
I sure hope so, And I think he does.
In our church, we have a simplistic view regarding teaching. People learn by watching and getting involved, rather than just listening to us talking about stuff. If we want to teach the stuff in “the Book,” we better be living it. If we want the big mass of Them to learn it, we need to get them involved.
I know, it is a simple concept. Perhaps many churches already do this, and ours is the last church to get it. For us, this has changed the way we look at and do, evangelism. Evangelism is not only talking to people, but getting them involved in what we perceive as God’s mission for us.
Just recently our church hosted a great comedy festival. Our mission, as we perceived it, was to raise funds for a trafficking victims’ project the church is sponsoring. In this effort we made a point of involving not-yet-believers. Not only pre-believers, of course, since evangelism is not a service we can buy from anyone (even if some churches wish they could outsource outreach). We did involve not-yet-believers in all vital processes for the event.
One might be amazed by how many people volunteer their time and funds to help some of the most exposed and vulnerable people on the planet, stand up comedians. The Comedy Zone festival had workshops, two different kinds of shows, a hangout area with tapas-bar and open mic, everything open to the public. The weekend ended in a Sunday morning service, complete with communion and baptism.
As one of our core points was getting not-yet-believers involved, we tried to think about planning in a different way. We asked some of the best people we knew to do what they do best, not “some of the most talented Christians,” some of the most talented people, period. We explained to them exactly what we were trying to do, without any Christian jargon, then listened very carefully as they gave their input. It meant not having just very talented technical staff, although we certainly did have that, both from inside and outside the church, but we contacted the best florist in the area to help us with the flower arrangements and some planning for Sunday's meeting. We had some of the best comedians in the country both onstage and as workshop leaders. We also had a pre-Christian tattoo artist all through the weekend.
All of these people rubbed elbows with Christians that weekend, Christians who were willing to open up their hearts, their arms and their church. This was an experience pretty far from the original view of Christians as “The People Who Do Not,” do not swear, do not drink, etc. The ones who do not have fun and do not listen to others. By showing them how we want to live as Christians and asking them for their input, rather than asking them to join an organization, we are each learning something about God and his mission for us.
We often try to give people an opportunity to get involved, not just peripherally, but involved in the heart of what we find important. This gives us an opportunity to talk with them about what touches our lives most deeply.
Having fun and meeting with new people is just another perk, or “blessing” as we say in church.
Mackan Andersson is a full-time comedian and author with special interests in "Humor and the Church." He lives in Sweden, in Malmö. If you read Swedish, you can look him up on the web at: www.comedyzone.se.
This article is taken from Serve! by Steve Sjogren. Visit www.serve-others.com