Bait and Switch Evangelism. Ick.

Do you know what I'm talking about? It happens all the time in youth and young adult ministry. Where you are invited to some sort of sexy event (free day at Valleyfair! Beach party!) and as someone stands up to give a testimony--you realize you have been hoodwinked. These people lured you here to save your soul. How annoying. bait-and-switch A few months back, we had a intense conversation about what evangelism looks like for us (with brilliant guest theologian, Matt Skinner). In the end, one of our Humble Walk folks said, "I think it's being present. Really present. Just shutting up and listening." A couple days later, someone directed me to a podcast on This American Life (NPR) on this very topic. The person being interviewed had been part of a ministry that did bait and switch evangelism. As it turns out, he hated it and finally went in another direction with evangelism. Here is what he concluded.

Evangelism, in three steps... 1. Notice (take time to notice who is around you. Not with an agenda "Come to MY church!" "I want to save your soul!" Just pay attention.) 2. Pray (for them, for the world) 3. Ask how they are doing (and then actually shut up and listen without giving your opinion or advice).

Well, good grief. I can even do that (yes, even me, even with Nordic farmer stoicism in my bones).   

Good people of the Humble Walk--get out there and evangelize.