How should we look at the lost souls to whom we evangelize? Evangelism at the Chapel may look different than evangelism at home. Perhaps those to whom you evangelize at home are friends, family, or acquaintances, whereas most of the interactions on the boardwalk are fleeting. You may approach evangelism a little differently with those you know well. But regardless of how well you know the different people you witness to, each one is in the same condition.
During the training at the Boardwalk Chapel, Pastor Zozzaro honestly confronted the condition of the unbeliever. The reality is that the unregenerate heart, like the heart of a Christian, is still precious and valuable because that person was created in the image of God. But the unregenerate heart is anti-God.
“The Christian worldview teaches that every human is fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God,” Andrew Zhou announced to the staff who were seated in the Chapel, ready to begin their studies in Defending the Faith. The open door allowed his voice to carry out onto the boardwalk. “You carry the image of the Creator, who made all things. That’s why humans are special. Humans have human dignity. We’re not animals. We’re not dogs, cats. That’s why people mourn when their loved one dies. Because they know—that’s an image-bearer of God.”
Despite this fact, humankind is enslaved to sin of all kinds. You see it in your friends. Your hometown. You see it on the Wildwood boardwalk.
“Something that hit me from the lectures was how we’re born naturally in sin. Being sinners by nature, we then become sinners by choice, and that affects the people around us,” said Calli-Jade, who is at the Boardwalk Chapel for the summer with her husband, evangelism intern Isaiah English. “I’m tempted to excuse them or make them seem not as bad in my own mind. But the fact is it does no one any good. That doesn’t do me any good, it didn’t do me any good as an unbeliever and it doesn’t do me any good as a Christian—I need to see my sin for what it is. I think one of the big things I’m gaining this week from the lectures that’s going to help impact my evangelism and maybe even discipleship too, is that we need to see people as what they are.”
Those who you’re witnessing to can sense that there’s something more to life. They’re not satisfied with the things that they can see. Some can ignore that thirst for something beyond what this earth can provide. Others are consumed by it. But we are all searching for meaning.
“I know why you seek after meaning,” Pastor Zozzaro declares. “Because you’re created in the image of God. That’s why. You don’t see animals trying to forge a better life, to bring meaning. They’re not asking, ‘Is there more to life than this?’ You’re not an animal. You seek meaning because you were created with a purpose.”
“Hearing both sides of what humans are helps me give the Gospel to them in a more direct way,” said Calli-Jade. “We’re born image bearers, and born broken image bearers. Not only is that helpful for realizing how radical grace is in my own life, but also realizing where a lot of people are— not just on the boards, but even at home. It makes my compassion stronger, and it makes my determination to talk to those people stronger. Because it shows me the need that’s truly there. Because it’s getting real about it.”