As far back as I can remember I’ve always loved performing on stage or giving speeches in front of a crowd. Most people list public speaking as their number one fear, far ahead of the fear of death or bodily injury. For me, the knowledge that every eye in an auditorium was hanging on my every word and gesture brought with it an intoxicating sense of power. To be able to evoke thoughts and emotions in a group of watching people, in my mind, put me in the same category as gifted orators, writers, and actors from centuries past, who have coined phrases which now exist eternally in the English lexicon. The blinding glare of the limelight terrifies some people. To me, it provides a warmth that kindles the fire of all the deepest ambitions of my soul.
Evangelism is a frightening word, equally so (maybe even more so) for Christians as it is for non-believers. Among non-believers, the word implies one-sided, salesman-like conversations where strangers or acquaintances try to pressure you into coming to their church while being as friendly and irrationally happy as possible. For Christians, the word implies having to talk to someone who will undoubtedly write you off as either a fanatical lunatic or a hyper-judgmental hypocrite, so you naturally come into the conversation as timidly and apologetically as possible, leading to the near-certainty of rejection. Yet our pastors are constantly “encouraging” us to share our faith as openly and as often as possible, though the encouragement often carries with it the unwanted psychological burden of being forced to sacrifice all of your friendships with non-Christians by turning the natural flow of conversation into pure awkwardness. Because these conversations are such a massive cliché by now, it’s become almost impossible to broach the subject, even with people whom you trust and know will most likely still be your friend even if they’re not interested in your church.
I'm J.R., a US Navy veteran and Linguist. This blog is devoted to insights and experiences I've gained over the years.