What is the best part about evangelism in Italy?
The disciples of Jesus Christ who apply themselves to intentionally evangelize the lost know something special about the joy of the Lord. The truth is that when we obey Jesus Christ, by the power of His Spirit working within us, and we go to the lost to help them see their need for the Savior and the way of salvation, we are walking hand in hand with the Lord of glory. There are few things in this life, actually, that gives the Christian greater satisfaction than when we are used by the Lord to bring other souls to Jesus.
Recently at a PMc missions webinar, I answered a question about the best part of evangelism in Italy. It was a good question because too often today believers have negative connotations about evangelism. Too many think negatively and wrongly about evangelism; mostly because they don't understand it and because they haven't yet done it.
Here is my response to the question.
I think the best part about evangelism in Italy is that Italians are talkers. If you know anything about Italian people, even in America, they're known to be talking people. They use their hands a lot. Here in Italy, there's something called "Il Dolce far Niente". It means "the sweet doing of nothing". Italians have this mindset, they love to hang out, and they love to talk. That's why here in Italy, any day of the week if you go into any piazza before lunch or before dinner, you'll see people getting together and sipping on wines. They make hanging out and talking an essential part of their day. Believe it or not, they're masters at doing nothing.
At first, I found this hanging out a bit hard because I'm a doer, I'm an American, and we like to get stuff done. Yet now as I look back over the 15+ years that I've been in Italy, it's one of those things that I've been blessed to learn. I thank God for the Italians who have and continue to teach me how to hang loose a bit better. There's a time for hanging loose. It's part of the Italian way. I imagine that Jesus Himself knew something about the art of hanging loose. It was probably an important part of His preaching ministry.
As a missionary, I see how this plays really well into evangelism. When people are hanging out it helps you to strike up conversations. They love to talk and evangelists need people to talk to if they are to bring people to the Lord for salvation. The Italian person, though he doesn't participate in the Roman Catholic Church and usually has nothing to do with that kind of stuff, he/she does have numerous thoughts about God, the church, the Bible, and life. So it's not hard, typically speaking, in Italy, to get conversations going and ask questions to get their feedback, to hear what they think and what are their thoughts about these things so we can then get them to listen to the gospel.
What do I like best about evangelism in Italy? That Italians are talkers who love to hang out.
This helps us keep the gospel going forward in this spiritually barren land made up of less than 1% evangelicals. There is no persecution in Italy. The door is wide open. The harvest is plentiful. There are no territory turf wars among missionaries, for the most part. Italy is in great need of being evangelized. Evangelism, discipleship, and the planting of Biblical and healthy churches are what is most needed and what is most lacking in Italy today. The door, however, for effective service, is wide open!
Through partnering and/or participating with PMc you too can play a role in seeing more souls saved, families transformed, and churches planted. You too can know more intimately the joy of the Lord.
Have you considered joining a PMc short-term cohort for next summer? More info is HERE.
Have you considered joining The Italian Cohort, PMc's online community for all who love God, Italy, Italians, and the church of Jesus Christ? Check it out HERE.
Interested in learning more about PMc's philosophy of ministry in the Italian context. Check out our Foundations Course at the PMc Academia.
And whatever you do, remember that wherever freedom of speech still exists, it exists so we can keep on preaching the good news of Jesus Christ! Let me encourage you to take advantage of the open doors that God has granted you to bring others to the Savior.
If you are looking for more information about what it means to evangelize, check out the PMc webinar - Evangelism | Simple, Biblical, Fruitful
Written by Jesse Schreck | founder, director, and missionary with Practical Missions Cohort
Adapted from the Q&A