Saturday, July 7, 2012

#RealEvangelists

Yesterday, I started a new hashtag on Twitter: "#RealEvangelists". In 140 characters or less, I tried to express what I believe are some of the characteristics, behaviors, passions, and beliefs of real evangelists. Within minutes, people began to retweet, post on Facebook, and comment on the #RealEvangelists tweets. Still others joined the conversation by adding their own sentiments to the hashtag.

The following list is, by no means, exhaustive. And the tweets are listed, here, in the order they came to my mind and then posted to Twitter. The order is not representative of the level of importance of each sentiment. Each statement should be taken as they were written--individually.

The Tweets are shared, here, the way they appeared on Twitter--complete with "text speak." Spelling and grammar errors were necessary to fit the following thoughts within the 140-character limit imposed by Twitter.

And please, keep in mind, it is next to impossible to fully express a sentiment, doctrine, or declaration of truth in 140 characters. With that in mind, please extend whatever grace you can, realizing that Twitter is not the best online vehicle for full expression of thought.

Critics (especially those pesky atheist trolls who read this blog) may likely say, "Wow, Tony! You sure think highly of yourself, if you see yourself as not only holding, but living up to this long list."

Allow me to lay such thoughts to rest. I have compiled this list because I believe each and every statement to be true and consistent with a Christ-glorifying Christian life and evangelistic ministry. However, I do none of the things I say, here, perfectly. Far from it. Pondering these things and then expressing them publicly has provided me with times of personal reflection, confession, and repentance.

My hope and prayer is not to lord this list over anyone else, but to live up to it myself.

I have numbered the tweets--again, not in order of preference or importance--to make commenting on individual tweets easier, by allowing each to be referenced by their own number.

So, with that, here are some thoughts of what I believe make a real evangelist.

1. Real evangelists love their wives more than evangelism.

2. Real evangelists know more Scripture than illustrations.

3. Real evangelists love 2 preach; but they put others 1st & rejoice 2 hear others faithfully share the law & the gospel.

4. Real evangelists don't consider it beneath them to clean a toilet in their church.

5. Real evangelists love the local church and love submitting to her God-appointed leadership.

6. Real evangelists love their children more than evangelism.

7. Real evangelists want to win more converts than arguments. To glory in winning an argument is to glory in one's self.

8. Real evangelists realize there r other legitimate ways 2 biblically communicate the gospel than their chosen approach.

9. Real evangelists understand there is NO evangelism without the verbal (or written) presentation of the gospel.

10. Real evangelists see every-day life as opportunities for evangelism, not excuses for getting out of doing evangelism.

11. Real evangelists understand neither God nor His gospel needs their help to save a single soul.

12. Real evangelists don't allow sinful motives keep them from sharing the gospel. They repent of their motives and press on!

13. Real evangelists, while they won't cast their pears b4 swine, will never keep the gospel from anyone out of spite/prejudice.

14. Real evangelists want to see more growth in the local church than on their evangelism team.

15. Real evangelists r offended by terms like: "club frustration" and won't abide other evangelists maligning the local church.

16. Real evangelists do not compete with other evangelists. They consider other evangelists more important than themselves.

17. Real evangelists won't make a habit of forsaking gathering with their church families in order to hit the streets.

18. Real evangelists, while assessing the culture, won't allow cultural mores to undermine the preaching of the gospel.

19. Real evangelists will die to self before they fight for their "rights."

20. Real evangelists will submit to governing authorities with biblical meekness, until there is no other option but to resist.

21. Real evangelists don't seek 2 impress others w/a vocabulary the unsaved world doesn't understand. They speak the language.

22. Real evangelists love and guard doctrine; but won't wantonly slash a brother in Christ with the sword of the Spirit.

23. Real evangelists will treat their box like a pulpit and the ground upon which the box sits as holy.

24. Real evangelists will be careful to make more of Christ than the law of God. It is HIM we proclaim (Colossians 1:28).

25. Real evangelists firmly/gently hold the law of God before the lost as a mirror. They don't relish using it as a hammer.

26. Real evangelists try not to forget preaching reconciliation with God. Heaven (the place) is not the greatest gift.

27. Real evangelists make much of Christ's resurrection, testifying to the world that the Christian needn't b pitied by anyone.

28. Real evangelists preach not only the humble birth of Christ, but also His future, triumphal terrifying (2 the lost) return.

29. Real evangelists confront heretics. They do not coddle heretics.

30. Real evangelists extend grace to Christians who have been duped by heretics; patiently leading them back to the truth.

31. Real evangelists don't allow elephants in the room, in the first place. They care too much for the sheep to do that.

32. Real evangelists study, not to prove themselves to men; but to show themselves approved by God.

33. Real evangelists hold the Bible as they preach w/authority, not as a prop. They open the book. They don't just wave it.

34. Real evangelists are NOT Pelagians.

35. Real evangelists DON'T live an intentional nomadic existence. They love the fellowship/accountability of the local church.

36. Real evangelists see evangelism as an act of worship, not as a hobby or a sport.

37. Real evangelists are content with no one remembering their name. The only name they want to exalt is the name of Jesus.

38. Real evangelists want to make disciples and are willing to disciple those they see come to repentance and faith in Christ.

39. Real evangelists care less about the size of the crowd than they do about the souls in the crowd.

40. Real evangelists, while they want all the world to hear, are content and find joy in preaching to an audience of ONE.