Why is personal evangelism so rare?
It seems in our post-Christian culture that the courage (or perhaps even willingness) to share our faith is becoming rare. Why is that? Why is sharing our faith so challenging for most people? I suspect the answer is “sharing your faith” or “evangelizing people” are such nebulous phrases. What does it mean? When do you do it? What do you say? How do we teach people how to do it? How do we normalize it?
In December of 2008, I was headed home after being a drummer in my church Christmas production and decided to stop for milk. On my way to the dairy section (in the back of the store, of course) I briefly made eye contact with someone walking past but kept heading for the milk. A few minutes later I was back up to the checkout, and that person was in front of me. The cashier started removing groceries from the bag and it was obvious he didn’t have enough money to pay for everything. I had some cash on me so I pitched in $20 to help pay for the order. The person looked at me and said: “Are you one of those Christians?” I nervously said yes and he replied: “I could tell something was different about you when you walked past me.” The whole situation caught me completely off guard and I wasn’t ready with the Roman’s Road of Salvation. I was, however, able to cobble together something about how much God deeply loves him, and invited him to church. I never saw him after that.
Evangelism that night was so incredibly simple. I only had to walk through a store (and not look frumpy), then pitch in $20 for some groceries. Most of the time, it’s not quite that effortless. It usually takes some action, intentionality, and a little courage to shift the conversation towards God.
Dave Ferguson from Community Christian Church has developed a fantastically simple way to engage in evangelism in a way that is easy to teach and easy to execute. Are you ready? Here it is:
Begin with prayer. Pray for the people around you and ask God to open up opportunities to speak into their lives
Listen. Listen to your neighbors, co-workers, family and friends and discover what their needs are, or where God may be working in their lives.
Eat. More than calorie consumption, eating together allows you to slow down and spend time with the people in your life who need you. (Food always makes everything better though!)
Serve. Those needs you heard about or recognized? Do something about it. Fix something, pay for something or help with something. Meet a need in a practical way.
Story. Meeting those needs often earns you an opportunity to share what God is doing in your life. You don’t have to tell them the story of Jesus from birth to resurrection, but telling them about your own life can open up conversations that lead back to Jesus.
Sounds great! What does that look like in real life? Here’s how this has looked for me in my neighborhood. In July of 2017 one of my neighbors (after having a few too many) asked me “What the F___ is a Mega Church?” I explained it to him and told him I’d be happy to take him some time. We still haven’t gone, and that’s okay. In June of 2018 another neighbor told me when his brother died last November, he wanted to talk to me about faith and eternity but never did and that he regretted it. Other neighbors apologize when they cuss in front of me. I have never quoted scripture to my neighbors, nor have I asked if they have been saved. I’m not the speech police either. I have, however, cooked for them and served each in some small way. I occasionally wear a t-shirt from my church, and have had a yard sign with the church name and logo on it. They know I have faith from the things I do.
B.L.E.S.S.ing my neighbors and then having them come to me with faith questions energizes my own faith and encourages me to keep being a good neighbor. It is taking time, but I know this will yield fruit. How might teaching your church members to B.L.E.S.S. their neighbors strengthen their faith and affect the overall spiritual temperature in your church?
Have your own story of personal evangelism? Share it in the comments and encourage others!
Get the word out to your congregation!
Order Reminder Magnets to give to everyone in your church so they can start B.L.E.S.S.ing others too