Summary: Forget about EVANGELISM -- we aren’t doing it anyway. Just think about inviting people to something joyful.
I have been in the ministry for 26 years now, and I have preached a lot of sermons on Evangelism.
What a waste of time.
We don’t like to think about evangelism.
We don’t like to do evangelism.
We always want someone else to handle the evangelism programs in our churches.
I’m not sure why we don’t like that word.
Maybe it is because when we hear it we’re afraid that the pastor is going to make us work at something that is awkward and embarrassing.
We don’t like to knock on the doors of the homes of strangers. Most of us don’t like to give out tracts and pamphlets to strangers. Most of us don’t feel like we have the training to do evangelism. Many people believe – that’s what we pay the preachers to do – let them do it.
I want to suggest something today that may come as a great relief to many of you, and that is that we should just drop the concept of evangelism altogether.
We’re not really doing it anyway. So let’s solve the problem of evangelism by dropping the whole subject.
Let me suggest that we do something else with our time and energy.
How many people like the idea of getting an invitation?
Someone invited me to their home for dinner last week. Wonderful. I always like it when someone else is going to cook for me. And of course, an invitation to someone’s home for dinner is more than just food, it’s good conversation, good stories, good fellowship.
I like the idea of being invited to go somewhere.
For example, I live in expectation that one of you will get tickets to the Superbowl and invite me to go with you.
I live in expectation that one of you will invite me to be your personal chaplain on a cruise around the world. Feel free to invite me any time.
We love getting invitations.
And most of us are good at giving invitations to others.
We invite people to come to our home for a dinner.
We invite a friend to come to a movie with us.
We invite someone to meet us for lunch during the day.
We enjoy a good book, and we invite our husband or wife to read the book.
We find a television show we enjoy, and we like it so much we invite others to watch it.
How many of you are parents?
How many parents here have had pictures made of their brand new baby – the hospital usually does this for parents for a small fee.
When your child was born, or your grandchild – did you not invite people to look at the picture of the baby?
Of course you did.
Now folks, you know I’m headed with this.
We have a beautiful savior.
We have a wonderful church.
We have great things happening.
Forget about evangelism.
We should be inviting people to come to church.
1. EVANGELISTS ARE GREAT AND POWERFUL, WELL LOVED PEOPLE – BUT ANYONE CAN SEND INVITATIONS
We have this impression that evangelists are great and powerful people – they are well loved and famous. How many of us fit that mold?
But invitations? We all know all about how to invite people to do something or to go somewhere. You don’t have to be a great and powerful person to send someone an invitation.
And that is what this woman at the well does in the Gospel of John. She becomes an agent of invitation. She invites people to meet Christ.
Some people would say she was an evangelist. But she is not great and powerful, she’s not well loved.
Take a look at verses 28 and 29 of this chapter – what does it say?
“Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?"
She is not holding up a religious tract in someone’s face and asking, “Have you heard the Four Spiritual Laws?”
She is not going to someone and challenging his or her lifestyle.
She is simply saying “come.”
It is an invitation.
“Come and see this man… he might be the Christ.”
Chapter four of John’s Gospel opens up with Jesus going on a journey. He is always going on a journey from one place to another and in this case he is on his way back to Galilee and he has to go through Samaria.
Picking up in verse 5, we read, “So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.”