According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of Evangelism (noun) is 1) the winning or reawakening of a personal commitment to Jesus, and 2) a militant or crusading zeal. YourDictionary.com gives the example of what Billy Graham did on television.
Also, Evangelism was good news spread by disciples after Jesus’ Resurrection, per his instruction, which also included helping the lowly and downtrodden, caring for the sick, defending the poor, and serving widows and orphans. Despite great risk, many trials, and even death, Christianity has spread as people all over the world have embraced the powerful changes and hope in Jesus’ teachings and doings in their lives and the world.
Every year of my childhood, the Billy Graham revival was Must-See TV in our home. My grandmother, who was quite deaf, would be rolled up to the giant TV console, and my mother and I would “get” religion. (My sister was allowed to be a heathen.) George Beverly Shea and my mother would sing “The Old Rugged Cross” and then Rev. Graham would speak—do you see the three definitions above? Later, my Methodist youth group would watch these revivals on some big screen and we would all run down the aisle and give ourselves to Jesus—I tearfully converted at least four times in that part of my life.
Fast forward a few (well, all right, more than a few) decades later: I am an expert on How Churches Welcome since I’ve been in or visited so many. From this, I have developed Cathy’s Cardinal Question: will someone welcome me before or during the church service, or will I be ignored? You would be surprised at the number of churches I’ve visited where no one even made eye contact.
Midway Hills is one of the truly friendliest churches that I have attended. When I first walked in, I was overwhelmed by how fully this congregation answered Cathy’s Cardinal Question. It is quite apparent that “All Are Welcome” is not just some slogan but part of the life of this congregation. This church is a zealous and militant church… as far as the good news is concerned!
I believe that this church needs to spread the good news now more than ever. And my highly sought background in advertising (well, maybe not highly sought) tells me that we can do much more to be a place of radical welcome and inclusion in times such as these. We share a love that transforms, and Dallas desperately needs it.
Here’s a few things I’m thinking about: being more present on social media, and engaging traditional media; forming a welcome team to identify and walk with first- and second-time visitors so they don’t have to go it alone. (Did you know we’ve averaged twenty visitors the last few weeks?)
Maybe we start a podcast. Maybe we start displaying the incredible art we use in worship. Maybe you have some ideas! Join me in this celebration of “All Means All” as part of the Evangelism Team. I am not so much a meeting person as I am a coffee-or-cheap-lunch-after-church person.
Let’s share some ideas!
“Militant” Evangelism Chair