And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”Mark 15:16
I’ve always thought about evangelism as a scary thing, and in some ways, I guess it is a scary thing. It is our responsibility, through God’s grace, to spread the good news of the Gospel to other people so that they may be saved. Not a big deal at all, right? Not so much. Evangelism is important, and it is a big deal for sure, but I’ve recently realized that perhaps it is not as scary as I had originally made it out to be.
As I’ve grown older, I have reached the point in my walk with Christ that I am no longer only hearing the Gospel, but have the ability to spread it, too. Perhaps there is no real single “point” in the Christian journey where this happens (that is a whole other topic of discussion), but there is a definite difference between hearing the Gospel, embracing its wondrous nature, and then feeling a desire to spread it with others. In my sophomore year of college, I found myself in the latter group.
Okay, great. So I want to share the Gospel. But wanting to share the Gospel and actually doing it is another huge step to be made. To me, evangelism on the college campus seemed like a huge hurdle to jump over, especially at a place like Stanford within Silicon Valley. However, at RUF Stanford, I have learned that evangelism comes in many different capacities. It doesn’t have to be sitting down with a friend with the sole purpose of telling them about Jesus, though that’s great. It doesn’t have to be standing in the middle of White Plaza on campus shouting about how Jesus loves you. I’ve learned that evangelism can just be me being me–bringing someone one step closer to Christ through being myself, because of God’s grace.
Earlier this year, my friend brought his non-Christian friend to see Avengers: End Game with some of the guys in RUF, and the non-Christian friend remarked at the end of the night that the guys in RUF were “a lot less weird and ‘Christian’ than he had imagined.” We talked about this at RUF as an example of evangelism–that non-Christian friend had gone from thinking all Christians were ‘weird’ to thinking that they were just normal bros watching a movie, and that is a baby step towards Christianity. An accumulation of baby steps, eventually, could very well bring this friend to Christ.
After hearing this, I began to look at evangelism a bit differently, and I’ve been surprised to see an abundance of opportunities for me to take baby steps in evangelism, so that others may take baby steps in Christianity. For example, I’ve found that if I “name drop” RUF when I’m with my non-Christian friends–saying that I have an RUF event tonight or talking about my friends from RUF–it provides an opportunity to explain what RUF is, and then explain my faith. And once my friends know I’m a Christian, they sometimes ask questions about it, which then provides the opportunity to clear up misconceptions or voice my beliefs. Even just being there for a friend, buying them ice cream on a sad day, that is showing God’s love, and thus it can be evangelism. Sure, that doesn’t mean they immediately become Christians, but it means that they are, even if just by a tad, that much closer to knowing the good news, and that isn’t something to be undermined.