Evangelism is a Four Letter Word

Evangelism isn’t what it used to be and is uncertain of what it should be.

I get it. Culture is changing rapidly and radically. The methods we have used successfully for decades have become ineffective, even counter-productive. Heaven? Spiritual laws? Bible verses? These no longer spark spiritual interest. Evangelism training isn’t what it used to be, but in many cases is uncertain of what it should be.

This frustration is actually good news. Good because it is causing us to reimagine how we think about evangelism (see my earlier guest post on The Exchange) and, whether we like it or not, forcing us to redesign training tools and equipping experiences.

In 2002, I purchased a new release by Michael Slaughter simply because of the title: Unlearning Church. Reading the title was a revelation in itself. Learning new or different methods without first changing the way we think is doomed to ineffectiveness. And thinking differently without retiring or radically revising standardized assumptions and approaches guarantees failure. A critical component of the learning process is to discern what must be unlearned so that new insights reveal critical implications and lead to fresh implementation.

My learning/unlearning journey continues. I’ve tried to think radically and simply. Which is why I’ve begun to think of evangelism as a four-letter word. More than one, actually.


Evangelism is not something we do as much as being authentically and consciously who we are. We are in Christ—that is our identify in every role and in every situation. Evangelism takes place when we become evidence of God’s love in and through Christ; by what we say and do; by what we do not say and actions we refuse to do.

We are never not meant to be the good news of Jesus. We can choose to hide our light …

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