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Evangelism is NOT a Dirty Word

Evangelism tends to be a dirty word in progressive church circles. We still define evangelism as people "pushing their gospel on us." We picture people on the street (or worse, coming to our door) handing us a flyer and trying to "save our souls." We understand evangelism to be oppressive and mean spirited.


 But...I LOVE EVANGELISM. Really, I do. And here's why:

"Evangelism is anything you do to help another person move closer to a relationship with God and/or into Christian community." Martha Grace Reese

Evangelism is anything we do that touches someone's life in a meaningful way and moves them closer to God or a faith community. Evangelism is welcoming people to be a part of our family of faith, it's loving on them, sharing a meal or a smile or a hug. Evangelism is telling our story of the one who loves us and why we love others...even those nobody loves.

And you know what? It's time to reclaim this "dirty word" evangelism because it is our call. It is our mission. It's biblical. Furthermore, we're already doing it. Why let someone else define it for us?

This week I have been back in school learning about a new scorecard for evangelism. Instead of counting the number of bums in pews, we're measuring our influence... on the web, through social media, to the entire world! That's really our mission, right? Share the gospel. Take it to the ends of the world. That's what any media (newspaper, radio, TV, telephone, text, tweet, like, share, etc) is doing. It is allowing us to share and spread our story in a new, evolving, exciting way.

We measure how well we evangelize (refer again to the definition as I know you've already forgotten) by measuring our influence. It's both high touch and high tech. It’s high touch because we want the story we tell to be powerful, to be moving, to be worthy of the Jesus we love. High touch is getting the casserole to the family in need, it's providing a shoulder for someone to cry on, it's being fully present with others in a real and loving way. High tech is making the best use of the tools we've been given. It's embracing the new technologies that better connect us. This week we've played with all sorts of new social media (path, prayer engine, base camp, etc) in churches all over the U.S. and Canada to extend our further our evangelize.

Evangelism. It's not dirty at all. It's beautiful. It's powerful. And it's our call.

This is an edited version of the original blog post,, with the author’s permission. Hyde is a 2012 graduate currently serving as pastor of Mission Bay Community Church.

Author Dawn Martin Hyde and the 2013 Thompson Scholars; Hyde is second from right, first row