I am currently on the campus of Southern Adventist University for EC3, the Southern Union's evangelism conference. It has been such a blessing so far and I wanted to share one story that Dr. Carlton Byrd shared on Monday. He said that he had just finished a meeting in one city and had returned to his hotel. Slipping his key into the back pocket of his suit pants, he got ready for bed. The next day, he traveled to another location for another meeting. He was picked up from the airport and checked into his hotel before going to the meeting location. When he was handed his room key, he put it in his front pocket and proceeded towards his room. When he got to the door, he pulled the key out of his back pocket and attempted to unlock the door. It wouldn't work though! After trying several times, he began to head down to the front desk to complain that they had given him the wrong key. On the way down, however, he realized that his current key was in his front pocket, not his back pocket. He had been trying to open today's door with yesterday's key.
When it comes to evangelism, are we trying to do the same thing? Are we still relying on outdated methods and strategies? Did we find something that worked in the '50s and stuck with it? As we look at the successful evangelists and missionaries in the Bible, something that always sticks out is how they were able to adapt their methods depending on the audience they were witnessing to. I think of Paul, sharing his testimony and talking about how he was a Pharisee of the Pharisees while he was talking to Jews, and yet, when he was in Athens standing on Mars Hill, he quoted secular poets and discussed Jesus in the context of creation and the unknown god. The one thing that must never change, however, is Paul's method that he used in Corinth. "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2). We are so thankful for the methods that have worked in the past and we are amazed by how God was able to work in our history, but we must learn to move forward and adapt our methods for the world that exists around us.
Throwing away yesterday's key,