Evangelism: A Lifestyle I Can Live With
April 1, 2002 - Thud-thud-thud. The rhythmic sound bounced off the empty Army barracks in the misty, predawn Kansas morning. The men and women of the 49th Ordnance company were out for a morning run.
by Diane R. Kinney
"Listen up, people," rang out the sergeant’s baritone voice. Whenever he started a cadence in that way, we knew that we would be having some fun.
The sergeant started us singing the "Amen" chorus from the movie "Lilies of the Field." We as a unit hesitated for a second, as we had the battalion chaplain running with us this morning. We did not want to seem disrespectful. We were a well-disciplined team, however, so we sang the cadence.
As we finished, from the back of the formation came a voice: "Keep on singing!" It was the chaplain. So we sang another round. Then he told us to sing a little softer. We did. He told us to continue singing. To a quiet background of "Amen, amen, amen ..." the chaplain began to preach. For the next three miles he told of Jesus. I remember thinking that it was a strange place for the Gospel.
But as I have come to a greater understanding of Jesus' ministry, I now realize that there is no strange place for the Gospel. The Good News of Jesus Christ does not belong just inside the four walls of a church.
The chaplain knew that the Gospel needs to be brought to where the people are.
Jesus did the same thing. He brought the Good News of salvation to the people, to the marketplace, to the world. He preached on a boat, on a mountaintop, in a field. Everywhere that Jesus went, He proclaimed the Kingdom of Heaven.
With those examples, I have learned to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people. I have spoken about the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ to a biker outside an X-rated strip club. I have told people about God’s love ... on a merry-go-round, in a grocery store, on airplanes ... in Minneapolis, in Amsterdam, in Jerusalem, in New York City. Wherever the people are, I tell them that God loves them. Evangelism is a lifestyle I can live with.