J John: share your faith where you are
Evangelism starts in everyday conversations in ordinary places, says J John ...
Evangelism starts in everyday conversations in ordinary places, says J JOHN
How did you first hear about Jesus? Was it your parents telling you Bible stories? Was it a teacher at school? Was it a friend?
Many people become Christians at a meeting, but they first hear about Jesus from someone they know.
Evangelism starts in normal, ordinary, everyday conversations.
The evangelistic strategy given to us by Jesus is recorded in Acts 1:8 where he said: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The word ‘power’ here means energy. Jesus promises us that the Holy Spirit will give us energy; and it is one of the greatest assurances we have: that despite our tiredness, the Holy Spirit empowers us to witness.
‘Witnesses’ are people who tell what they have seen and experienced to others.
Why does Jesus instruct his disciples to start witnessing in Jerusalem? Because it was where they lived. We, too, need to share our faith where we are.
There are three natural access areas:
- Kinship – those with whom we share a common bond, our family and close friends
- Community – the people we meet regularly, for example, the window cleaner, the newsagent, our neighbours
- Common interest – those with whom we share the same meeting place like a gym or a club
Note Jesus’ instruction to one new believer was: “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you ...” (Mark 5:19).
Some of you might be thinking: “If I go to my family and friends and tell them I’m a Christian, I’m going to feel awkward and embarrassed. They know what I am like!”
Remember: we are a witness whether we want to be one or not. The key is to be you.
You could go to someone, or write or phone, saying: “It’s just occurred to me that we have known each other for a long time, but I have never told you about the most important thing in my life ...”
No farmer, nor Jesus, ever suggested we should put fully-grown plants into the ground in order to harvest their produce! We are only asked to sow seeds – a word, a kind action, a sensitive ear.
It is God who will produce the crop. We can’t make the seeds grow or mature or ripen the fruit. We are sowers and harvesters.
Some of the most natural evangelism we can do is to sow seeds of kindness and love to someone over a period of time.
The husband of a Christian couple I once met looked embarrassed when they were asked how they evangelised.
He explained that he and his wife were not great speakers, but they tried to serve God by visiting an old people’s home, to help people have their baths.
He had no need to be embarrassed. This is a wonderful example of seed-sowing, not plant-throwing!
To do such as this is to share the fruits of the Spirit, and if we do this generously then “God is able to make all grace abound” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
When the seeds begin to grow, people will begin to drop some tell-tale remark that they are interested in more. They might say: “I remember when I used to go to Sunday school” or “I was married in church”.
Prayerfully expect people to be intrigued and interested. Don’t be afraid to ask what someone believes and what involvement they have already had in the Christian faith.
I remember one girl’s baptism testimony. She said: “My Christian friend built a bridge from her heart to mine and Christ walked over it.”
Lead us by your Spirit to witness to our faith in Christ.
May how we live speak of his word to the world.
May what we say testify to our life in him. So that, as we know and love him more, others may come to know and love him too. Amen.