One of my favorite parts of being associated with the Acts 8 Moment is the goal of making evangelism practical, available, and as unscary as possible (did I make up a word?). Through things like the Elevator Pitch BLOGFORCE Challenge, we are attempting to prove to Episcopalians that they can, in fact, share their faith with people. In fact, if we don’t, the only version of the Gospel most people will hear will be the conservative evangelical one because God knows they aren’t afraid to invite you to their church and make sure you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
As I read through the lessons for Sunday again this morning, I was paying particular attention to the Epistle lesson, one I, quite frankly, usually gloss over in order to get the Gospel, when I noticed one of my favorite sentences in all of the New Testament, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (NIV). Perhaps the Acts 8 BLOGFORCE should be renamed the 1 Peter 3:15A-TEAM because this is precisely what we are trying to help people do: Always be ready to give an accounting of the hope that is within you.
That’s all evangelism really is; being able to answer the question, “What makes you different?” or “Why do you get up early on Sunday to go to church?” or “How can you believe in evolution and still read the Bible?” or “What difference does Jesus really make anyway?” 1 Peter 3:15a evangelism assumes a relationship. People are rarely going to, out of the blue, ask you about the hope that is within you. Rather, over time, as relationships develop, the Christian hope for the restoration of all things in the Kingdom of God should, ideally, shine through everything you do, especially showing forth in how you handle the difficult moments in life. And when, eventually, someone notices, and when, eventually, they get up the gumption to ask, then all you have to do is share your story, explain your hope, describe your relationship with God through his Son by the power of the Holy Spirit.
You can do it!