If gospel really means “good news,” we shouldn’t be surprised that most people will be delighted to talk about it.
One-On-One with Matt Mikalatos on Good News for a Change
Ed: You start your new evangelism book, Good News for a Change, by suggesting we’ve forgotten that gospel means “good news.” Why is that?
Matt: Once when I was in college, a complete stranger knocked on my dorm room door. As he stood in the hallway, his first words were, “You need to stop smoking pot, stop sleeping with your girlfriend, and come to Jesus.” It took me ten minutes to convince him I had never smoked weed and that my girlfriend lived eight hours away. Finally, I said, “I’m already a Christian.” He threw his arms around me and shouted, “Brother!”
Sometimes, we’re afraid to talk about Jesus because we’re thinking of it like that . . . I have to tell my friends a laundry list of their sins, and then say, “Come to Jesus.” We know our friends won’t like it because that way of talking about the gospel makes it easy to miss the good news.
Ed: Let’s talk about that fear for a moment. I wrote recently about how fear keeps pastors from doing evangelism. Why do you think fear is so prevalent in our attitudes toward evangelism?
Matt: Partly, I think, it’s because too often our motivation in evangelism is obligation. We’ve been told that the guy next to us on the plane will go to hell because we fail to bring up Jesus, so we think, It’s now or never and rush past relationship and straight to, “Will you go to heaven if this plane crashes?” Which, yes, works sometimes because of the grace and power of the Holy Spirit.
But we think of this kind of conversation as ‘normal evangelism’ instead of an exception. We’ve internalized these …