UPDATED MARCH 2021
A personal word to Non-Christians coming into the Hedge End Methodist fellowship or buildings for the first time.
I was for many years a broad sense atheist / agnostic, hostile to those who shouted rude accusations about hell and sin to me on street corners.
I met a girl and wanted to get married, but when we saw all the expensive fancy cars and togged up children in suits attending the council registry office something wasn’t right. We met the Methodist Minister of a particularly ugly Methodist Church several times. Afterwards we started to attend the Church and we met some genuinely sincere ordinary people. After several years I became an official Worship Leader in the Methodist Church.
Twenty five years later I still HAVE NEVER experienced THE SPANISH INQUISITION amongst any church people of any denomination, nor met any of those people who shout on street corners within the church.
I still watch “bullhorn evangelists” sometimes. I know where they stand in Wood Green, Elephant and Castle, Victoria and Above Bar Southampton. I still don’t understand them.
Perhaps evangelism is achieved by an experience of who people are; the sharing of their love and compassion with all their human faults and fragilities; where they are hypocritical and where they are sincere; from the heart and not by the size of the mouth.
The average church goer is far more confident about making tea than evangelising. They are scared and worried about bullhornism as much as any visitor, and well aware of the threat of evangelism as far as how you may be put off as a visitor. They are far more likely to appear slightly distant and cold in an attempt to give you space so you don’t feel attacked. They feel the Good News is far too important to bungle it up. The concept of evangelism puts a lot of pressure on them to act out of character, but little practical advice on how to do it.
As far as meeting new people, I hide behind my wife!
Hint: Avoid the problem completely. Come to an event which is secular when the chapel building will be open for those who want to look around, and we are only too excited to talk and get to know people, whilst talking about the flower show or nativity festival or other wife appropriate subjects. The building is deliberately open during events such as the Hedge End Carnival to provide toilets and drinks and a non confrontational, no obligation welcome.