A megachurch in California is encouraging congregants to be "hell raiders" and realize that evangelizing isn't as hard as it seems.
Though talk about hell isn't too usual at North Coast Church in Vista, Calif., Pastor Chris Brown wants Christians to start doing their job of pointing people to Christ and away from hell.
"Our job in this world, in a fallen, broken, messed up, jacked up world is to go into it ... and use our lives to redeem people, and really raid hell, to set captives free," he said as he launched the "Raiding Hell" sermon series last month.
The series continues this weekend with a sermon guiding people on who to approach and who not to approach when sharing the Gospel.
The four-week series, Brown said, is not meant to discourage Christians by making them feel guilty for the many people who are dying without knowing Christ, but rather to encourage them and to shatter the myth that evangelizing is difficult.
"We get so bizarre [about] it," said Brown, referring to evangelism.
It's not about winning arguments, he stressed. And it's not about being "armed" with all the answers.
Taking a cue from Philip, who comes out in the New Testament, Brown suggested that sharing one's faith is as simple as first asking the person how they are doing or what they are doing.
"Start with where they are, not with what you know," he said.
The North Coast pastor also recommended, "Show them what Jesus did, not what they must do."
"This is a pet peeve of mine. So many times as Christians we focus on the lifestyle of our unsaved friends. Knock that off!" he stated. "They don't know God. Why would they be following God's rules?
"My job's not to convict somebody of their lifestyle. My job is to show them Jesus. If they come to know Jesus and follow Jesus, then God will work on their life."
Stressing the importance of the "Raiding Hell" series and of evangelism, Brown affirmed that everyone is eternal, that heaven and hell really exist, and that Jesus is the only answer.
"I find it ironic there's ... much debate about this in Christianity – not that there's a heaven because we all love that but that there's a hell which causes me to think why the Bible talks so much about it," he said.
"The human spirit wrestles with this. I got to admit I do."
While some may struggle with the existence of hell and the exclusivity of Christ, Brown noted, "If hell isn't a real option, if he's not the only way, then the cross will be the most ridiculous act in all of history. He needlessly died for something that not everyone needs."
North Coast Church currently has three campuses and draws over 9,000 people every weekend.