This past week, we had a guest missionary come and do a workshop on evangelism at our church. You think sharing the Gospel would be a natural part of the day to day activities of the Church, but this is not always the case. Look back in your own life and you may likely see periods where you were excited to share the good news of Jesus with anyone who would listen, and other stretches where you were reluctant, with a mixed bag in between. At least that seems apparent in my own life. How many evangelism trainings, or books on the subject have you gone through? Each one probably has a few new tricks and techniques, or new ways of presenting the gospel to different people, but in the end, the message is fairly similar…we all need a Savior, and Jesus is his name. You can break it down with some bible verses, picture illustrations, and other tools, but ultimately we all come to a point where we accept or reject this message. Can you remember when that happened in your life?
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. Romans 1:16
One thing that I always consider, was that someone took the time to share this message with me, and something about it rang true in my heart. We all likely had someone like this in our faith journey, whether a parent, pastor, friend, Sunday School teacher, or a recorded voice, who both shared this message clearly, and then they or someone else took the time to help us grow and train us as disciples. Over the years, that has come from a variety of people in my life, and I am thankful for each one, and the part they played in my faith journey. Who were the most influential people in your life? Have you been that same influence in the lives of others?
Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:10
If you have shared the gospel with others, you realize that it is not always accepted with open arms in every case, and in fact, very few encounters end this way. Some quickly reject the message, some show interest but won’t commit, and others pay lip service in hopes we go away. We may become discouraged, as the harvest of our efforts is not always evident, but if we persist, we do see some fruit, and that is encouraging. I remember years ago going door to door, working in Louisiana, when I had an encounter with an old woman living in a run down trailer. She didn’t want to buy anything, but did offer to pray for me, and laid her hands on me as she said a 30 second prayer and sent me on my way. That may not have meant much to her, but she answered God’s call to do something that would be an encouragement in my life. I’ve walked others through the sinner’s prayer during some meetings, and have never seen that person again, but still trust God to use me in whatever way He chooses in those times. Are you regularly praying for others you know to come to Christ? Often, after extended times of prayer, God is calling us to do something. It may be to change something in our lives, or moving us to take some other action that will make a difference for His Kingdom, whether we know exactly what that is, or not. It often does not turn out how we expect, but it can still make a difference all the same. So, as we go and share the good news of Jesus with others, the outcome is often uncertain, but the way God changes us and others as He uses us to be his voice, or hands, or feet, should encourage us to do it more. May you be blessed as you go!
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
Yours in Christ,