posted by: Mark Weible from Fishing on The Other Side:
While speaking to a group of pastors in Jacksonville, I asked this question, "What is the Golden Rule of evangelism?" No one in the room answered the question. Perhaps, they had never been asked that question before and they were expecting some clever answer from me. I simply shared Matthew 7:12 with them:
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
I reminded the group that there is only one Golden Rule (the one that Jesus gave us) that we apply in any situation; including evangelism. So we could say that the Golden Rule of evangelism is this:
Evangelize others in the way that you would want to be evangelized.
If you were spiritually lost, hurting, afraid and alone, how would you want someone to share the life transforming message of the gospel with you? Would you prefer to hear it from a complete stranger while you are walking to your car with coffee, keys and briefcase in hand? Would you want to hear it from someone randomly knocking at your door while you are watching a nail-biting game on TV? Or, would you prefer to hear the gospel from someone who has been spending time with you, listening to you, empathizing with you and showing kindness toward you. Would you be more responsive to a loving friend or relative who knows you well and who's advice you trust because they have lived the kind of life that you wish you had? I know that I would rather hear the gospel and would be more likely to respond positively to the message if it can from someone like that. In fact, I did hear it that way. I first heard the gospel from my Dad.
For me to follow the Golden Rule of evangelism is to develop loving, serving relationships with people so that as they are hearing the gospel, they are seeing it lived out in front of them. I like to describe it in reverse like this:
- Evangelize those that you love
- Love those that you serve
- Serve those that you know
- Get to know those that you don't
The Golden Rule of evangelism is the Golden Rule. Should there be any other? Please share your comments below.