March 12, 2012
We’ve already covered Round One that asks, “Why Are You A Christian?” and Round Two: “Community… and Why It’s Important!” Today we sum up the three-part series with the topic of evangelism. As Christians, we’ve always been told that an important part of our faith involves spreading the Gospel to the unchurched.
“It’s important to know the time and place to talk about Christianity. It’s almost necessary to first form some sort of relationship with the person before you jump into a conversation about why you believe and why they should, too,” said my small group leader. He was addressing the issue of evangelism and how you explain your Christian beliefs to someone.
He talked about traveling a few years ago to the rougher areas of New York City to do missions work. While he was on the subway, a young guy hopped on and started telling everyone about the Bible. He then hopped on another car and did the same thing. One car after another, after another. Our leader said that even he felt a little awkward. This guy was doing exactly what he was supposed to, but it made everyone a little uncomfortable. His credibility probably wasn’t as strong as it would have been if he were sitting in a more intimate environment where people would be more open to the idea.
Then again, maybe it wasn’t the guy proclaiming his love for Christ that was awkward… maybe it was the guarded mindset of everyone on board. Society changes all the time, and unfortunately, it seems like the idea of evangelizing to a public crowd is no longer “socially acceptable”. It’s likely that you could be booed or yelled at, which is a terrifying thought to a lot of people. However, whether the impression was good or awkward, it was memorable. It’s possible that this guy’s evangelistic subway hopping made a difference to some of those people days, months or even years later.
2 Timothy 4:5 tells us, “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”
We aren’t fond of being taken out of our comfort zone. Most of us don’t like to be in situations that are unusual to us. God doesn’t provide us a life of constant comfort and ease, though. He pushes us and makes us uncomfortable so we can learn and grow. In Matthew 10: 5-8, Jesus pushes His disciples,
These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.”
Reaching out to people isn’t always easy. The work of the Lord is the most important work that we will do in our lives, and leading by example is the best way to show someone else your heart. When the time comes when someone looks to you for reassurance in God, know what to say and be patient with him/her.
Matthew 28:19-20 – “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Have you ever helped someone come to Christ? What did you say to them?