In light of my post last week where I interviewed the author of The Shack, I’ve again heard the ongoing battle of how we approach sharing our faith. Recently, I’ve heard different people talk about the damage that can be done by the book. So I want to take the opportunity to voice my concerns with evangelism on the opposite end of the spectrum.
There was an interview that World magazine did with author and speaker Mike Bechtle. In it, he coined a term called “spam evangelism” that I think nails a lot of the current styles of “spreading” Christianity today whenever we try and do it outside of a relationship. He shared a personal story to make his point:
“A college classmate decided to walk down Central Avenue in Phoenix at lunchtime and ask women to kiss him. He wanted to see how many people he would have to ask before someone took him up on it. After being repeatedly cursed, ignored, and slapped a couple of times, the 98th woman gave him a kiss. Using the logic of spam evangelism, he might say, ‘It was worth it, because I actually got one person to kiss me.’ I wondered about the other 97 women who might be more hardened than ever, more suspicious, and more wary of men approaching them on the street. In the same way, I think a lot of unbelievers have been hardened by aggressive witnessing technique.” – Mike Bechtle
Let’s just say that the biggest factor that pushed me into full time ministry was the desire to get the other “97 people” to give God and the Church another chance after being burned by the Spam Evangelism. There’s real meat out there, and it tastes terrific. But it means that you must take the time to earn the right to share your faith with someone.