Something I have wondered about is why the Orthodox Church does not actively seek converts. On the streets I have mostly seen Evangelicals or Protestants but rarely do I see Catholics or Orthodox people. I know that the church does do missionary work but it seems to mostly be in non-Western countries. Why therefore do the Orthodox not seem so active in converting people?
I believe the Christian Orthodox "evangelical model" is much more connected to its ancient Christian -an even jewish roots. Have you ever seen jews proselytizing in the streets? I digress, if you read ancient accounts of the Early Church you will read that Christians simply were who they were, "The Church." They were all of one accord and they showed love towards one another. They "proselytized" indirectly, for example, when the pagans saw how they lived so well as a community. This attracted those looking from the outside. In the book of Acts it says: ""The congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own; but all things were common property to them. . . . For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales, and lay them at the apostles’ feet; and they would be distributed to each, as any had need" (4:32,34-35). They exposed themselves by simply being who they were. One of the most profound comments made regarding the early christians came from Aristides, a spy sent by the Emperor Hadrian to report on the christians who said: " Behold! How they love one another" AND NOT: "Behold how they want me to accept Jesus Christ as my only, sole, unique, reserved, exclusive, isolated, unaccompanied, solitary, individual, personal Lord and Savior."
So in early Christianity there was never a soliciting, go knocking on your door model to ask people if they have received Jesus Christ into their hearts -when the pagans/gentiles did not even know who Jesus Christ was!! How could they "accept" someone whom they do not even know?! A lot of this talk about why we Orthodox aren't "evangelizing" comes from the influence of living in an the aggressive street preacher proselytizing protestant christian culture. One of my friends who was a former baptist tells me that they were given some sort of call list to call people to ask them to come to their church -and they would be insistent. They would look at this as "bringing souls" to Christ. Having been in telemarketing, it follows that model. On a side note, though somewhat related. One of the things that really ticks me off that I hear so often related to "evangelizing" is when christians, in particular: protestants look at "fulfilling the great commission" as something necessary in christian life -though, of course, based on their way of interpreting that passage, not realizing that Our Lord Jesus Christ does not say that to the masses. He says that to the twelve!!!!!!!!!!!!! In other words, He did not intend for every John and Mary (what is done today) to go out and take the Gospel "to the nations."
I think the best method of "evangelizing" -at least for me- is simply, to be Orthodox. By this model, we should attract those who are hungry for the Christian Truth.