What would people here say the goal of Orthodox Christian evangelism ought to be?
For myself; it's about putting people in a place where they can make the best possible decisions and ... live life. That often means simply giving them information and trying to help in whatever ways other than that that come up. Being of limited practical skills, spiritual gifts, and financial resources, info is usually what I can do the most with, if I am thinking along those lines. The problem is, I don't think that will work. I will never come into contact, let alone have an impact on, more than a drop out of the ocean of people. So I am increasingly not thinking along those lines I mentioned (there are other reasons for it, but that's another discussion).
I'm trying to get out of the mindset of talking to "people" generally and instead just having some worth, somehow, to an individual person. And then maybe another. And another. But I can't move on to another until I see the first. And it's not even evangelism. ialmisry could easily say to me: "evangelist, evangelize thyself" if I were trying to do that. If I see suffering or struggling, and I have a way to help, then I help. Sometimes that's overt. Sometimes it's only apparent to the one I am helping, and only for a few moments perhaps. At one point a few months ago I was quite depressed, and my therapist suggested that I keep a journal, and at the end of each day write down positive things I had done that day. For myself, or for others. I never did it, but interestingly my entire mindset has come around to that, despite not writing any of it down.
This is evangelism of the "feed the hungry, clothe the naked" kind. At least what I can do. Do I mention Orthodoxy? Yes. I had a girlfriend earlier this year who identified as pagan. She knew I posted on this forum, she knew I was interested in Orthodoxy, and we sometimes spoke briefly about such things. Did I convert her? I guess that depends. I really don't know. Did she become Orthodox? So far as I know she doesn't care one bit about Orthodoxy. Did I help her, though? Does conversion means turning from one way to another, or getting along better spiritually, or making a positive change when it comes to trust or love or whatever? Does conversion sometimes just mean not thinking that life is crap and everyone uses everyone else? Then maybe I did help, I don't know.
Is that the goal of Orthodox evangelism? I'd love to see people become Orthodox. Even when I've been outside Christianity completely I wanted that, or at least going towards traditional Christianity in general. But what I do is... well I don't go about things with that as the clear goal in mind any more. Perhaps it has to do with my experience with expectation generally. But that just doesn't work for me, in how I approach things. So... as I ramble... what do I say is the purpose of
my conduct? To help people if I can help. To give information if people want information. To not be such a jerk when my immediate (usually unthinking) reaction is to be a jerk.
Well, anyway, this has been a self-indulgent blast. I hope yuns guys support IOCC and OCMC and such if you can. Or do what you can. If that means cleaning the church then that's great. I would much rather clean toilets than greet people at the door and put a smile on. Each have their own strengths I guess.