I’m not positive but I imagine one of the kingdom works most discussed and less activated is in the realm of one-on-one evangelism. My heart is completely empathetic. There are some who have written off the work of teaching others about hope in Christ. They just can’t do it. Others, though, want to learn how but engaging in the process seems to conveniently evade them. Let’s talk about it.
There may be those gifted in this particular work, but I’m not sure I have ever met such a person. Even the most outgoing freeze when it comes to sharing the hope found in the new Life. The reason too many give up is this is one ministry which takes a lot of trial and error. Have you ever heard of an obstetrician who didn’t need extensive training to become a doctor? Even those with what we would regard as evangelistic hearts live in great fear. We find ourselves in need of being trained to get past the fear as much as learning what to say.
I felt sure I would die (and at times wished I could) of embarrassment due to faltering in my soul winning approach. Failure is prominent; even after feeling fairly established in such work. To get started one thing which needs to change among us is to relinquish the “saving of ourselves” mentality by not trying to study with another for fear of embarrassment. This is hard work; but is worthwhile work. Don’t fear failure.
Know that all people want to know God. It may not be on your timetable, but you can be assured plain people want to know about God. You need to know that most will draw more to spiritual interest the more their world crumbles. You want to have built a respectful connection during their successful seasons to be trusted in their breakdowns. Do it. Sow seed and wait.
Not everyone seeks God from the same base but all can be reached by the same Word. Therefore, don’t pre-package your presentation and drop it on your friends like little Bible bombs. Back off. Listen to their hearts; their stories. Let God’s Spirit work with your spirit by giving you recollection of stories and passages from scripture. Learn to say things quickly like, “I don’t know” or “I once believed a certain facet of faith and realized I was wrong because….” This lets the one with whom you are working realize you don’t know everything and you trust them enough to admit it. Showing you trust them is key.
I think this type of interaction is a combination of most threatening and most exhilarating. It scares me so badly I hope they forget the appointment and thrills me so much I can’t understand why I dreaded it. This moment is precisely where their flesh is often confronted by the Spirit and we are sitting there in the battle room with them. It’s another delivery room scene of screaming pain just before the glorious re-childbirth. Rugged and awesome all in the same movement, we help people do the most important thing in life, be born again! The delivery rooms are all messy. Afterward we are worn out happy!
I’ve changed my approach to studying with others 180 degrees. I don’t worry about what I’m going to say. I am concerned that I can discern what they are really saying. I no longer feel the need to close the deal….or to win. I’m not selling God and we are not in a contest. I’m sitting in a room with a most revered and important individual for which Jesus left heaven and died a treacherous death on the cross. My job is to minister with the Word; not insensitively manipulate through canned verse order. Helping a grown person through the birth canals of God into new life is surely a masterful occupation!
(Man, self, this is a good one!)