Evangelism that is.
TOmorrow's sermon is titled THe Church in the World: Witness and Testimony. PReparing for it has pushed me yet again to ask questions around the general uncomfortableness around testimony and evangelism in many "liberal" churches.
It is easy to talk about the many different ways that we can be witnesses to the difference God makes in our lives. WE live out that witness in a variety of ways from day to day, and this congregation is no exception to that. But ask a group of people to talk about their faith, to give a testimony (to use classic language--personally I would never phrase it that way, it really sounds scary) and there is a distinct lack of comfort.
Partly I think it is because we haven't done it a lot, so it is new and new often means scary. Partly I think is is because "evangelistic" has developed a distinct connotation in many people's minds and now we don't want to appear "like them". But I truly think we need to reclaim the term. WE need to say that being evangelistic can happen in a variety of ways and that it doesn't mean being exclusivistic or hard-headed or pushy. In the end, what will make a real difference in people choosing to come to church is that someone is willing to be the one to say "hey, why don't you come to church with me". We need to be willing to testify to the fact that we find something worthwhile in church.
AS one of my illustrations for tomorrow suggests, it makes all teh difference (read the bottom part of the post)