by Paul Hazelden


I believe that it is important for us to be aiming for the right things.

I know the old adage: if you aim at nothing, you are sure to hit it. Which is fair enough. But sometimes the implication seems to be: therefore, you need a target - any target will do. And I don't believe that. You have to choose your targets with great care. You never know: you might just hit them.

Cause and Effect

People often get confused about targets because we associate cause and effect.

It seems like a reasonable thing to do - until you start to think.

For example, Christians generally want to see more people saved - in a relationship with God, enjoying the benefits of that relationship, on their way to Heaven. People get saved through the process of evangelism. Therefore we want to see more evangelism.

The assumption seems to be that getting people saved is a good thing, therefore more evangelism is a good thing.

But we all know that some evangelism is pretty bad. Some of the things Christians do in the name of evangelism is, quite frankly, awful. Sometimes it is dishonest or emotionally manipulative. Sometimes it is done for all kinds of unhelpful or twisted reasons: to make the evangelist feel better about himself, or to regain a smug satisfaction that 'we' are the only ones that 'know the truth' and that 'they' are determined to stay on the path of destruction.

So not all evangelism is a good thing. In fact - surprise, surprise! - it turns out that good evangelism is a good thing, and bad evangelism is a bad thing.

If we could stop Christians doing bad evangelism, that would be real progress. Maybe people wouldn't be getting saved, but at least we would not be actively putting them off the Christian faith.

Evangelism is not the objective. It is a means to an end, not the end itself. It is only good if it helps you reach the objective.



Copyright © 2008 Paul Hazelden
http://hazelden.org.uk/pt05/art_pt212_objective.htm was last updated 27 April 2008
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