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Our Saviour Lutheran 56 Cleveland Dr. Croton on Hudson, NY 10520 

The Life of a Disciple Part 4

Working our way around the circle, we come to what the diagram calls “Bless,” but it is also the word “evangelize.” This will be a two parter of a 7 part series as the diagram nicely lays out two aspects of evangelism- sharing and listening. I will cover listening next week.

Believe it or not, I have been a door knocker when it came to evangelism. While the Jehovah Witnesses and the Mormons seem to have cornered the market when it comes to door knocking, I did it too for the Lutheran church.

I would walk up to a door, knock, and begin promoting the church or asking a question about the community. Can you guess what the most common response was to this? I’ll give you one guess because it was probably your response to a door knocker- “no thank you” and a closed door.

In fact, as I learned later, Witnesses and Mormons do door knocking to learn how to be rejected, so when someone questions their faith, they are ready if they face rejection to keep sharing their story. It is kind of a brilliant strategy. They will be successful in gaining a new member less than 1% of the time through door knocking.

I share this because even though most Lutheran churches do not door knock physically, their evangelism methods do it theoretically. Ads in the paper, signs around the church, flyers on car windshields, or any other type of hands off advertising is theoretically door knocking in that there is no relationship with neighbors, there is no interaction, and there is no communication about who we are or what we stand for.

Through the years, the best way to evangelize is to sit with people and have a conversation. You may have noticed, I don’t wear a collar often. While I am all for comfort, it is also strategic. I have found through the years, a collar sets up an instant boundary for some individuals. Due to the messages heard by many churches out there, there is an assumption when I wear a collar that I may be homophobic, or anti feminist, or looking to convert souls, or even worse a pedophile. 

I find it more fun for individuals I am speaking with to “find out” I am a pastor. It changes perception of what a pastor could be and what a church goer may look like. This finding out comes through relationship, listening, and sharing story.

When I am out there evangelizing, I am not shouting how much people need Jesus, but rather showing who Jesus is through my actions and willingness to listen, even when that listening involves listening to how the church may have hurt someone. If you notice, this is how the disciples and how Jesus worked.

The majority of the disciples work wasn’t sermons necessarily, but being with people and accepting them for who they were. They were present and healing. When asked why they acted the way they did, they shared who Jesus was to them. It was through relationship that the church grew.
Pastor Justin Johnson
Our Saviour Croton on Hudson

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Our Saviour Lutheran Church · 56 Cleveland Dr · Croton on Hudson, NY 10520-2751 · USA

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