Missional Training # 19 – Sharing the Gospel…with a little help from your friends
Sharing the Gospel or inviting someone to a church service, missional community, or a small group can often feel intimidating. Christians all know that we’re called to make disciples of all nations, to be witnesses of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. We know we’re called to be the light of the world, the salt of the earth. We even want to be effective at this mission. We want to see or family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers know the life and love they can have in Jesus. Yet, at times we don’t know where to begin.
We have all seen or heard about a lot of high-pressure evangelist encounters that seemed more like an argument than a sharing of the hope we have in Jesus. Maybe you’ve actually been the one pressuring someone else to come to become a Christian. Or maybe you’ve sat there and heard a friend or coworker vent about someone who was “trying to push their faith” on them. Perhaps, you were just minding your own business and some well-meaning Christians kept pushing tracts in your face, forcing conversation, and if you, a fellow Christian, felt uncomfortable. We know we don’t want to reach out that way, but we are left unsure of how to go about it.
For most of us we have one big problem with evangelism. We fear others. We’re afraid of what people might think of us after we mention the name of Jesus or the word, Church. We are afraid of what might happen when we step on a stranger’s door step. We’re even a bit afraid that they might view us as that angry judgmental person. Perhaps we have all these fears and negative emotions because we view evangelism in the wrong way.
Tim Chester and Steve Timmis suggest that evangelism is actually meant to be a team activity, that we’re meant to share and show the faith together, over time, through relationships. We recognize here that not everyone shares the same gifts. Chester and Timmis suggest that there are a few ways that everyone can be involved in witnessing: Building relationships, Sharing the Gospel, and Introducing to Community
In their book, Total Church, they share this diagram to show how multiple Christians can be involved in witnessing to one person:
As Christians we should always be interested in knowing new people and getting to know the unchurch people around us. Especially in a church plant, it is essential that all of our member are regularly starting new relationships with people on the fringes of their life, and depening relationships with the unchurched people they know. There are people who are extremely gifted at meeting new people and starting relationships with them.
Sharing the Gospel
When we live the Christian life in front of an unbeleiving world, people will take notive of the way we love, sacrafice, and serve and will ask us of our faith. All Christians all called to be ready to answer when someone asks the reason of our hope. When we have opportunity, and the Spirit moves us, we’re called to speak. Yet, for some this come much easier. Some people can turn everyday conversation into a exhortation to beleive in Jesus.
Introducing to Community
Most of us have people in our lives that are unchurched or dechurched. The difficult thing is trying to figure out how to get them to church or to sit down and talk about Jesus in a productive way. Yet, often times all we have to do is to introduce them to the wider community. It’s hard to just start up a religious conversation and it seem natural. Its even difficult to simply get someone to agree to go to church, yet its pretty easy to ask them to a barbeque or a movie. Somepeople are naturals at connecting people. Someone great in this area might host great parties or plan some great events or they might be simply good at inviting a unchurched friend and beleiving friends to the same place. The more relationships built, the better, because the unchurched person sees the Gospel play out in the lives of Christians. There is also, then, a greater chance that the unchurched person might really connect with one of the Christians, which can open the door to greater Gospel converstaions.
When evangelism becomes a community project, it becomes easy and fun. Everyone has a part to play. No matter your gift. God can use you. He’s save you for this very purpose. Trust in his Spirit to lead you.
- Who do you know that is far from Jesus? How can you start to build relationships with them?
- If you’re not gifted at sharing the faith, who do you need to introduce them to?
- What kinds of events or settings can you imagine your unchurch and your church friends mingling at?
- What strand or strands of evangelism are you most comfortable and gifted with? What other types of Christians do you need to partner with to help reach your friends?
Read more about outreach in missional communities here
Images found here
Posted on August 31, 2012, in missional communities, Missional Living, Missional Training, Sharing the Gospel and tagged building relationships, Church, Evangelism, missional community, negative emotions, sharing the faith, Steve Timmis, Tim Chester, total church, witness. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.