“Are You Sure?” it says with a sunrise as the background on the cover of the small brochure given to me this morning by 3 teenage boys from a local Baptist church who had the curious audacity to knock on a stranger’s door and inquire about his eternity. It continues when you look inside, “Are you sure… if your life ended today, are you 100% sure that you would go to Heaven?” As you look further inside, you see the 4 necessary beliefs, 8 ways to grow, a spiritual birth certificate with 5 of God’s promises, and a map to the Baptist Church.
Evangelism is a curious thing to the Methodist in me who was raised in the Baptist-laden Oklahoma. Because I have experienced this before. I have been given the pamphlets, asked the probing question like “If you died today,” How are you sure,” and “Are you saved?” I see the boldness in these folks and am impressed and dumbfounded at the same time. It is courageous to knock on the door of a stranger and ask them the most penetrating question possible: how do you relate to the one that created you? I’m dumbfounded that it can be done so brazenly at times. What gives you the right to ask these questions of me? Who are you? Why do you care? Are you questioning me? These questions are just some of the many questions people ask when a stranger witnesses to them.
They were nice, respectable young men, looked casual but not sloppy. They waited while I tried to keep Beau quiet and asked if I attended a church. (A good, safe starter question.) I answered yes, and the leader replied well, we don’t want to take you away from your church, but if you are ever looking around here is some information about our church and with that I received my “Are You Sure?” pamphlet and they walked to the next home. When these 3 High School age young men came to the door, I was more interested in returning to my homework than I was in communicating with the three young men. But now, I wish I would have asked them some questions.
I would have began with a nice opener, like why did you get up on a Saturday morning to do this? I would have asked what it is about their church and faith that causes them to sacrifice in such a way? Then, I would move to a few more probing questions. What do you hope happens when you knock on these doors? How effective is this to bringing people into a deep relationship with Jesus Christ? My point would have been to make them think about evangelism. My fear is that this was something that they are doing as some sort of indoctrination, (Not that indoctrination is all bad) but simply that this was step 5 of 8 of how to be a good, youth, Baptist Christian. I want them to think about how valuable the Good News of Jesus Christ truly is, and what it means to be a disciple who witnesses. (One of the bigger differences between Methodist and Baptist as I see it is that most Baptists are concerned with you getting wet once, while Methodists are more concerned about getting you to stay wet.)
Finally, I would encourage them to continue to proclaim Christ who was born, lived, died, and risen. I would encourage them to be bold yet careful. I would encourage them to evangelize to those who they were closest to, and I would tell them that I am praying for the Spirit to be with them, because truly those 3 young men alone aren’t going to bring anybody to Christ, understanding the pamphlet isn’t going to do it, not even signing that Spiritual Birth Certificate isn’t going to do it, only the power of the Holy Spirit working through their hearts and our neighbors will do it. I’m sure of it.