From Silouan's FAQ
page:Why don’t the Orthodox do more evangelism?
What you’re probably asking is, why don’t Orthodox people do the things that Evangelicals call evangelism?
Short answer: Evangelicals tend to define “evangelism” too narrowly.
Orthodox evangelism can’t be done effectively in the ways many Evangelicals do it: Often the method doesn’t produce the outcome we’re aiming for. You don’t become an Orthodox Christian by saying a prayer, by making a "decision for Christ", or by kneeling at the altar at a revival after hearing Four Spiritual Laws. Citywide rallies or streetcorner witnessing or surprise visits to your house by trained teams don’t make disciples.
The Message is no more credible than the messenger.
Before taking it upon ourselves to be teachers of righteousness, there’s a place for seeking purification and divine illumination. That doesn’t come in a moment or without struggle. We believe that the fruit of the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and the rest – if given a chance to grow in us, will make a greater impact in the lives we touch than a recitation of the "Romans Road" or the "Four Spiritual Laws." So our approach to evangelism begins by seeking purification from the passions and cultivating the virtues that make for our own sanctification and full salvation.
That certainly doesn’t mean never speaking about our relationship with Christ. But it does mean that our preaching is much more than verbal in nature.
What exactly are we inviting people to?
Orthodox Christianity is about "bringing forth fruit worthy of repentance" (Matthew 3:8 ). You confess your sins to God, and a spiritual father holds you accountable, counseling you so you can not only find forgiveness for sins but begin to overcome them. You participate in the Body and Blood of Christ. You pray not just for what you want, but for the will of God to be done, according to prayers said by men who died triumphant in the Faith, centuries before you were born. You live a lifestyle that increasingly incorporates self-denial, whether in the realm of food or drink (among the easy things to deny oneself), or of your own will (among the the hardest of things to deny oneself). Living the Orthodox Christian life is serious business – a full-time uphill journey toward Christlikeness (i.e. salvation) carrying the cross the whole way.
That journey, it seems to me, also forms the heart of Orthodox evangelism. The life lived in Christ is the life that impacts others. As Saint Seraphim of Sarov said, "Acquire the Spirit of Peace, and thousands around you will be saved." Each of us as individual Orthodox Christians will have an evangelistic life to the extent that our life is transformed by Christ. The inclusion of techniques or programs from the Evangelical world won’t make Orthodoxy evangelistic. Humble people, daily dying to self, daily being converted to Christ, and daily acquiring the Holy Spirit, bear a truthful witness to Christ.
Is there a place for verbally telling the Gospel?
Of course. It wouldn’t be called the "Good News" if it were not meant to be told. And that’s what an evangelist does: Not renting a stadium for a rally, but effectively preaching Christ. Orthodox Christians recognize that not everyone – not even all leaders – are called to be evangelists. “To some, He gave evangelists…” among other gifts. To continue quoting St Paul, “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? If all were one member, where would the body be?” Those of us neither called nor gifted as evangelists don’t try to fit that mould. So instead of passing tracts or asking strangers if they know Jesus, among Orthodox Christians it’s much more likely for a word to be privately shared in season, with much prayer, and in a relationship where we’ve earned trust.
Orthodox evangelism isn’t about filling pews (we don’t have pews anyway). Since we expect to spend the rest of our lives working out our own salvation, and since the message of the Cross is "Come and die," we aren’t very tempted toward slick marketing, persuasive streetcorner salesmanship, or stadium rallies. We’re more likely to be doing it this way:
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the Breaking of Bread, and in the prayers… So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42ff)Fixed automatic smiley ("8 )" turns into when space is removed) bug -PtA