Consider the rise of the Christians during the Roman era. People were drawn to Christians, not because of evangelistic outreaches or crusades, or through mass media-those didn’t exist. The church grew because Christians were doing the gospel and had a community-a local church-where people really loved each other. During the great plagues that swept Rome in the second century, all of the doctors fled, but the Christians stayed and took care of the sick. They embodied what Christians are called to do. Although many Christians died because they took care of the sick, pagans were drawn to Christ because they saw both the love of Christians and Christianity itself as a better way of life. When Constantine declared Rome the Holy Roman Empire, people thought he did that for political reasons, but he didn’t. It was already Christianized; he just recognized the realities of what really happened.
– Chuck Colson
In my slow, and occasional, reading of UnChristian I came across this passage written by Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship Ministries.
I don’t know how you feel about his theory of Constantine’s Christianization of Rome, but he poses an interesting hypothesis. He says that people were not drawn to Christians because of their “evangelistic outreaches or crusades.” He says people were drawn to Christians because they were living out their faith.
It’s increasingly becoming my opinion that we spend too much time worrying about converting people and not enough time caring for people. What drew people to Christ, according to Colson, was the love that they proved in their daily actions. Perhaps, it’s time we set aside the mailers, tracts, etc. and get out into our communities and just love each other. That’s probably the best form of evangelism we could ever hope for.