In those days, John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
make his paths straight.’ ”
Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. — Matthew 3:1–6
For most of us, this is what we think of when we think of an evangelist: The semi-crazy person that we admire for their zeal. We are impressed with their courage, but we know that if that is what we are called to do, we could never pull it off.
When we train in evangelism, this is the picture most either point to or think of. Which is one of the major reasons evangelism and evangelist have such a negative connotation for both the believer and non-believer.
Essentially, we train folks to fit into a specific personality type and call it evangelism training. We are training people to be extroverted evangelists.
The Extroverted Evangelist
Extroverted evangelists are the people we see constantly interacting with strangers. They are the life of the party, and they love being around people in general.
We’ve seen them doing everything from street evangelism to getting into gospel conversations with someone while riding in an elevator with them. This is not only a joy for them, but comes very natural to them. These folks are the “evangelists.”
When I felt the call to tell others about Jesus, I thought this is who I was supposed to be so I went out door to door, handing out Bibles, went to community events and handed out tracts, etc., thinking that this is how one is deemed an evangelist and “have beautiful feet by preaching good news.”
The issue for me was this never seemed natural for me. It never felt like this is how God made me. I chalked it up as this was what it meant for me to be a living sacrifice. The problem was it didn’t stop at me, but I preached that others should be doing the same, or they didn’t understand the call to be an evangelist.
However, in the body of Christ, not everyone fits this extrovert mold, yet people think this is how all followers of Jesus must be and live. We must stop calling everyone to be an extroverted evangelist and allow people, specifically introverts, to live out the identity of evangelist and missionary in the way God has made them.
Round Peg, Square Hole
I find it interesting that we have looked past how God has made us, and gone directly to our actions to prove who we are. We should always start with who God has made us to be, and out of that find direction for our actions. Even biologically this makes sense. We don’t ask a dude to get pregnant. But, sadly, this is as silly as asking an introvert to be a John the Baptist.