Was it a Scarlet letter?

The church where Kelly and I attended when I worked at Cincinnati Bible College . . . um, I mean Cincinnati Christian University was Oak Hills Christian Church, which is now Impact Church [was that confusing enough?]. Anyway, the youth ministry there is growing and attracting some awesome kids, one of whom is Eric Bast. Eric, a student at Oak Hills High School [my alma mater, Go Highlanders] was so convicted by message of Jesus that he and some friends decided to write a personal letter to everyone in the high school telling them about Jesus and the eternal consequences about not following him. The letter directed people to a website that told them more about what he was trying to say. The result: a five day suspension because he delivered the letters during an extended homeroom and was accused a disrupting the learning environment. Local media outlets have started to pick this story up and I'm wondering if it'll be national by next week.

I've been going back and forth on this thing and I don't know how I really feel about. I love Eric's passion and the overwhelming need he felt to spread the message of Jesus. But I've never been a big believer in using religious tracts. The theology behind it is similar to that of people who support televangelism: reach as many people as you possibly can, getting the most bang for the buck. I've heard people say, "If Jesus was alive today, don't you think he would use every means possible to reach everyone he could?" I honestly don't think so. Jesus was deliberate in his ministry and I think we'd be shocked to discover how few people in Palestine knew who he was when he was alive. By the time He ascends to heaven, only a handful of people follow Him. The lesson is: it's not all about quantity, but quality. Those handful of followers, two-thousand years later, did pretty well for themselves.

When you look in Scripture in the book of Acts, you don't see the Apostle Paul say, "Instead of preaching all over Macedonia, lets go to Kinkos, make 100,000 copies of my letter to the Romans and pass it out at the Coliseum." I believe mass-evangelism tools might have worked years ago, but now it can be more harm than good. Too many times we're so obsessed with the conversion that we aren't there for them through the discipleship process. The end result: they give up on their faith. So what have we accomplished? Each person has different problems and different needs and those can usually be best addressed in a one-on-one discipleship setting. Sure, it's tedious, but I feel it's expected of us.

Or maybe I'm just jealous that I never had the gumption to do what Eric did when I was in high school. I could just be jealous. I sure do appreciate his fervor, though. And he has brought up some deep spiritual questions that has classmates are now struggling with. I can't wait to see what this guy does in the future. But how far are you willing [and should you be willing] to go to share what you believe?