I read an interview with Eastern Orthodox bishop Kallistos Ware. If you are familiar with the Orthodox Church, you will know that the liturgy is pivotal for their faith. In the interview, Ware talked about his view of evangelism in relation to the liturgy: “To those who show an interest in Orthodoxy, I say, ‘Come and see. Come to the liturgy.’ The first thing is that they should have an experience of Orthodoxy—or for that matter, of Christianity—as a worshiping community. We start from prayer, not from an abstract ideology, not from moral rules, but from a living link with Christ expressed through prayer.”
This quote made me think about how some Evangelicals sometimes limit their means of evangelism to inviting people to church. I have typically thought of this as a cop out (I still think it can be). I mean, don’t individuals have a responsibility to share the gospel with people?
However, now I’m thinking that it makes sense to invite someone to church as a means of evangelism in as much as we are (hopefully) inviting them to a worshiping experience in which they can encounter Christ. And, after all, Christianity isn’t just about believing the right things. It is about having a relationship with Christ.
I suspect that most Christians did not come to faith primarily because they heard a great argument in favor of the existence of God or the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Rather, they probably came to faith to a greater extent because they had an experience of God, whether at a church service or somewhere else. If that is the case, perhaps our evangelism would be more effective if we focused on leading people to relate with God, rather than only on telling people information so that they can believe the right thing.