Update: Results of give-away posted at bottom!
First let me say, that I know in your heart, you feel like you did the right thing. I can hear the “amen’s” and the handclaps after you announced to your congregation that you’d be witnessing to all the lost souls headed to The Kentucky Derby Oaks.
I can imagine the preparation it took to coordinate the people, the Bible tracts, the signs, and the electric megaphone thingies. I imagine last Friday morning, before you all headed to Churchill Downs, that you asked God to be with you, to bless you, and to draw lost people to Him through you.
I really do believe all those things about you.
That said, may I humbly make a few suggestions concerning your witnessing technique?
Holding a sign in my face that says “TURN OR BURN” does absolutely nothing to convict my sinful heart.
I tried to do it as politely as possible. I smiled at you, even. But I felt a little misunderstood when you screamed into your electronic megaphone thingy, and I quote,
Uh hem. No offense, but I wasn’t feeling the love at that moment. In fact, it sort of ticked me off.
And I’m fairly certain that screaming through the megaphone thingie to the girl in front of me,
My entire day at the Oaks, I kept thinking about you. I kept thinking about all the thousands of people who heard you. Who saw you.
And it made me an Angry Christian Person, too . Angry, and very, very sad. Angry and sad because Jesus is NOTHING like that.
He is love (I John 4:8)
He is merciful and forgiving (Daniel 9:9)
He is a friend of sinners (Matthew 11:19)
He pours out His grace abundantly (I Timothy 1:14)
He is longs to be gracious to you (Isaiah 30:18)
He is compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love (Psalm 145:8)
And so while I considered this for hours throughout the day, I realized there were literally thousands of people who were hearing you, seeing you and drawing conclusions about God because of you. I couldn’t bear the thought of so many people walking away thinking my Jesus—My Wonderful, Merciful, Loving Jesus—would stand on a side walk and scream insults at them. I determined that if I had the opportunity on my way out to see you again, I would approach you and say all of this to you directly.
And there you were. Seven hours later. Same signs, same tracts, same electric megaphone thingies—screaming at the crowds.
But, just as I was about to touch your arm and say something to you privately, you literally shoved a man you were “witnessing” to. Sir, you physically shoved him.
And the icing on the cake: The Angry Christian Woman next to you who was video taping the whole thing. Videotaping the shoving and the shouting! No doubt to show to your congregation how you “evangelized” Churchill Downs and “suffered” in His Name.
Because of this unfortunate incident, the crowd moved past you—and I with it—so I never got to speak to you directly.
But my heart is still grieved by you and by every Angry Christian like you.
So if you are, by small chance, reading my blog today, I urge you to re-read the Word you preach so passionately.
So allow me to divulge a little evangelism secret: I honestly have never won a single soul to Christ by screaming at them (through an electric megaphone thingie, especially), throwing creepy Bible tracts at them, insulting them…or God forbid, physically assaulting them.
Those methods, and all others like them, just don’t work. In fact, they make people mad. Really, really mad. Not mad in a repentant, broken way. But mad in a “Christians are wacko and I will never be one” sort of way.
It’s good to speak the Truth. In fact, I commend you for your passion for Truth. But we MUST speak the Truth in LOVE. (Ephesians 4:15) Because contrary to your abrasive and offensive tactics, it is actually God’s KINDNESS that leads us to repentance. (Romans 2:4)
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:35)