Rethinking Evangelism: From One-Sided Preaching to Mutual Understanding

Newly-built Yichang Church in Hubei
Newly-built Yichang Church in Hubei (photo: Hubei CC&TSPM)
By Li DaonanJune 11th, 2024

In traditional church evangelism, we often see a one-sided output. Regardless of whether the other person is willing, we insist on preaching the gospel to them. This approach shows an air of dominance but also reveals a lack of confidence. Jesus has already overcome the world, so Christians should proclaim the gospel with a victorious stance.

This domineering attitude is similar to an overbearing clause: only I can speak, and you can only listen. You are not allowed to question or ask, implying a lack of confidence. When evangelizing, Christians often fear facing the questions posed by others, afraid that these questions might stump them or shake their "firm" faith.

For some believers, this method of evangelism is simple and effective. They do not have to think about it, they just need rote repetition. Thus, the most common form of evangelism is handing out gospel tracts, which require no interaction and are favored by grassroots members of traditional churches. Another method is preaching to new members within the church.

Although there might be some interaction in urban churches, when faced with questions from non-believers, they often resort to circular reasoning, revealing their inability to address issues related to society and the natural sciences.

I have attended several evangelism meetings. Faced with certain questions, the common response is, "You don't understand because you haven't believed in Jesus; you'll understand once you believe." They talk about themselves without mutual understanding. Christians share their stories of converting to Christianity, while non-believers share their experiences and reasons for disbelieving.

To preach well, we must not only strive to make others believe in Jesus and understand the gospel but also ask why they don't believe in Jesus. Interaction should be built on mutual understanding. We also need to look back at Jesus and see how he preached the gospel. So many people followed Him because Jesus knew their needs and spoke in their own shoes.

To emulate Jesus, we must know and understand others when evangelizing, speaking from their perspective, so they can see the goodness of the gospel. To preach the gospel, we should not be exalted and arrogant but be humble.

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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