Hello, I’m Sue and I’m a recovering Evangelical
I was never a very good Evangelical. I wasn’t good at the evangelism part of it. As a shy introvert, evangelism terrified me. I was raised as the RESPONSIBLE CHILD. As the oldest child, if somebody (usually my little brothers) did something wrong or didn’t do something they should have, it was MY RESPONSIBILITY. Sometimes I didn’t even have to be present for it to be my fault.
Plant this RESPONSIBLE CHILD into the Jesus movement days. Everyone knew that “Jesus was coming back any day now and we must save as many people as we can!” It felt like any conversation that didn’t include the gospel was deemed a failure. So many methods emphasized the one call close: meet someone, give them the gospel, get them to “pray the prayer”. I had a hard enough time opening conversations with strangers as it was, let alone with this kind of agenda and responsibility.
I grew up, I learned how to talk to strangers, and I stopped fearing that each new person I met was supposed to be an evangelism project. If Jesus came up in the conversation fine, we would talk about Him. But always in the back of my mind, there was that niggling thought, that somehow, it’s MY RESPONSIBILITY.
A few days ago I was reading the calling of the disciples, the “Come follow me and you shall be fishers of people”passage and all that angst from my evangelical past reared its uncomfortable head. I was taken aback. I hadn’t felt this for many years. I’ve learned to pay attention to these reactions and spent some time sitting with it. Do I still fear that somehow, it is UP TO ME to bring people into the kingdom? That it is still MY RESPONSIBILITY? In the midst of it, Jesus reminded me of John 12:32 “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”(NIV)
All I have to do is lift up Jesus, to point to him. He does all the drawing. I can do that. I can point to Jesus. And I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE for the way anyone responds to Jesus. He is.