Through our F1rst Series we have looked at the importance of daily/corporate worship and generosity. This week, we are focusing our attention on the importance of sharing our faith — or Evangelism as it’s known in Christianese 🙂 To help us unpack this important concept I have asked Derek Lynas, our Outreach Pastor, to lay out some practicals for sharing our faith. His approach is something we should all be incorporating in our daily lives of following Jesus – Tom Rich
Thoughts on Evangelism 101: You can’t save anyone. There- all the pressure is off! You can also throw out all the hidden agendas, people projects, and awkward conversations too! It’s our great God who does the saving! However, He has given us (you and me) both the privilege and responsibility of helping people discover a life changing relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. And that’s Good News! 🙂
So how do we do it? Where can we find an example? I don’t think we have to look any farther than the life and interactions of Jesus himself. He was the master of meeting people wherever they were at in life with a steady dose of truth and love. He noticed people like Zacchaeus who was literally up in a tree as hundreds of people pressed in around him as he walked through town. His heart broke for the rich young ruler as he rejected Jesus invitation toward a new life, but He loved him even still. He met the woman at the well right in the middle of her sinful life and told her the flat out truth that would set her free. Jesus could be found in places others wouldn’t have even thought about going and hanging out with people that others wouldn’t think of spending time with. He was a friend of sinners. And He still meets people right where they’re at in their lives with the power of His death, burial, & resurrection.
Ok, so Jesus was all that while on this earth, but what about someone other than the Son of God? How about Phillip, one of His followers? In Acts 8:25-36 there’s an amazing sequence of events that I believe can serve as a guide for us to walk with the people God puts in our path toward a life with Jesus. I call this approach FLATout evangelism because it’s not a “bait & switch” trick, it’s not a formula, and it’s not a step–by-step process. It’s more of a lifestyle that we have the opportunity to live. So here it is…
(F)OLLOW Jesus faithfully in your own life
If we’re not following Jesus faithfully in our own lives, we have no chance of helping someone else find Him in their life. Following Jesus everyday will also prepare us for the people He puts in our path, to notice them in the midst of all the busyness, and to sense the leading of the Holy Spirit in any moment.
(L)ISTEN to people’s hearts
Listening is possibly one of the most important things we can do when walking with someone toward Jesus. If we aren’t really listening, how can we ever expect to know where someone is in his or her life? We need to be actively listening to what’s going on in the lives of people God loves. It’s not thinking about what to say next and certainly not being judgmental merely because they’re not speaking our same language.
(A)SK relevant questions toward the relationship
If we’re listening well and following the leading of the Holy Spirit, we’ll know what questions to ask and our relationship will have a chance to go deeper. Asking relevant questions also shows the other person that you were actually listening to what they had to say.
(T)ELL people about life with Jesus
Simply showing Jesus to others isn’t enough if they’re going to begin a relationship with Him. We have to be able to tell them how to begin. Even the Ethiopian asked Philip “How can I know unless someone explains it to me?” (Acts 8:31)