In a News.com article on attitudes and approaches that will hold up a woman's career, sets out some clear philosophical ideas that having reflected upon them, apply equally to the way in which Christians approach evangelism.
The article was essentially promoting the visit to Sydney of Dr Lois Frankel, the American best-selling author and executive coach who led a workshop run by women's networking group Business Chicks.
The philosophy behind this as detailed in the article was not to play the girl's traditional game of being nice, being kind, being good and working hard. The claim is that these traditional beliefs for little girls growing up, in later life limit their potential for getting ahead.
This appears to be the central focus of the article. Boys are often taught to be fearless, competitive and tough, ready to hide their feelings and put themselves first. While girls are told to behave themselves, be good, be nice and be aware of the needs of others. And it's that distinction that's ultimately responsible for the inequality of the modern workplace according to Dr Lois Frankel.
The philosophical idea in the workplace is to understand that it's a game and you have to play to win and to do that properly, you need to understand the rules. Herein is the essence of changing perceptions by women to take hold of the reigns and take charge.
Dr Frankel then lists a number of things that women in the workplace need to put aside and having read them it became obvious that these also applied to weak Christianity in that the Christianity portrayed by so many Christians I wouldn't want to follow either.
(Don't) Ask questions instead of making a statement
What a powerful statement in evangelism. By initiating evangelism with a question, immediately offers the listener an opportunity to disagree with you. Instead put out there that Jesus Christ is Lord. That's the statement. Be firm in the statement and allows your body language to express a sentiment of courage to hold such a remarkable belief.
(Don't) Avoid negotiation
Evangelism has nothing to do with negotiation. The Gospel has clarity. It is precise. Jesus Christ died for our sins, He rose again the third day. This is non-negotiable. This is the belief. Bed clear, upfront and concise. But the person in discussion may have some valid concerns, so don't close off.
(Don't) Tolerate jerks
In evangelism you will inevitably meet people who are clearly jerks. There is no need to be unkind to such people, yes they will treat you badly and with disrespect, set yourself boundaries in your mind where you leave them behind. Be honest about how much you can achieve in any given situation, and sometimes it is possible to offer the person choices for themselves to consider.
(Don't) Act like a financial ostrich
In business you need to aim for having enough money free from concerns and keep your hand in the money pot at home. Know exactly how much money comes in and comes out. Evangelism is like this too. It costs money. Be sure the funds are well enough to meet your legitimate running expenses. When seeking love giftings be upfront as to the needs at hand.
(Don't) Forgetting that you have to compete to win
Evangelism involves aiming high, push out the boundaries, understand how others think and look beyond all that in order for challenge and expand their horizons to fresh ideas. We're in a battle for hearts and minds, we haven't turned up to lose.
(Don't) Perfect perfection
In evangelism there is a time to recognise its time to move on. Don't fuss about something with a closed mind and over-stay your welcome. Be alert to the Holy Spirit's leading.
Evangelism is busy work, there is a great deal to ponder and pray over and there are times you need to allow others to do the volunteer work as there is always much to do.
Evangelists who use an economy of words say far more than those who talk and talk and talk and talk and what was important is lost in all the verbose. It is often better to let go and allow the listener to ponder and reflect - and maybe, just maybe, days or weeks or months.
(Don't) The tiara syndrome
Dr Lois Frankel concludes that a woman should not expect praise for your work. Always present a business case for what you want and what you set out to achieve. Don't just expect to be handed a tiara for your efforts.
And so too in evangelism. Present the case for Salvation through Christ alone, and allow the Holy Spirit to touch your listener's lives. This is not selling the Sydney Harbour Bridge, it doesn't need a hard sell, rather it requires a clear, precise and loving testimony.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html