How NOT to evangelize
From a BBC News story on an American Airlines flight:
"The pilot, whose name was not released, asked Christians on Friday's flight to raise their hands.
He then suggested non-Christians talk to the Christians about their faith.
He went on to say that "everyone who doesn't have their hand raised is crazy", passenger Amanda Nelligan told CBS news.
"He continued to say, 'Well, you have a choice: you can make this trip worthwhile, or you can sit back, read a book and watch the movie'," she said.
The pilot also told passengers he would be available for discussion at the end of the flight.
Rayford Steele might be proud, but I think it more likely that this pilot turned people away from Christ rather than made any new disciples for the kingdom.
Although it is important to the Christian to spread the Good News of Jesus' ministry, death, and resurrection, I don't think Christ meant us to witness in places where people had no choice but to listen.
In one of the Gospels, Jesus says "Behold, I stand at the door and knock", not "Behold, I come into your living room with a megaphone and say that you're crazy." As Jesus gave us a choice, I think we Christians must follow his example and give other people a chance to walk away from our message. This can't be done at 30,000 feet.
One of my favorite St. Francis quotes, possibly fictitious is:
"Preach always, if necessary, use words!"
Or to paraphrase the old hymn, "They shall know we are Christians by our love, not by the strength of our PA system."
This attitude, along with my professional ethic keeps me from trying to win people to Christ through words while at work. I think people have to feel that the library is safe, neutral territory and I'm not sure that unasked for verbal witnessing at work would ever fit into that.
If someone were to ask me about my faith at work, I think I would talk about it briefly if it were a patron, and more so if it was a coworker.
I owe my current faith to coworkers at a law firm who never preached to me on the job, but were always kind, thoughtful people who were patient with everybody. I wanted what they had. Turned out most of them were Catholic Christians. Once I asked them how they got through the day and what their faith was like, they shared with me. If they'd tried that before I asked them, I might have run to another workplace.
Something to think about. Sorry for the length.