What has God been teaching you? (June 2019)

Hi @Interested_in_Evangelism,

It is easy to slip away from doing evangelism and into learning about evangelism. Inspired by an idea from @Brittany_Bowman1, I wanted to ask us to each share something we have learned from doing evangelism.

If you’re coming up blank, then take that as a prompt to ask a question or invite a friend to spend some time together…

To get us going, one thing I’ve noticed in my friendships with some guys I see a couple of times a week is the importance of patience and consistency. I want the best for them no matter what their response to me or the gospel is.

Before I see them, the thought I have (or want to have) is: how can I show them my love for them and how much I value them?

I’m not saying I’m doing that perfectly, but intentionally setting my mind on that relational goal, and asking for God to be involved, before we spend some time together makes a difference.

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That is very good advice to follow. Thanks for sharing. God is Good to All. Fred

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I have always been my own stumbling block when it comes to starting conversations in general, kind of an introvert. I used to doubt my ability to represent Jesus with the honor he deserves. I’ve gone through times where I felt unworthy, I’ve judged myself harshly. I focused too much on myself and nowhere near enough on my Lord and Savior.

Then one day after self had lost everything, and I knew with all my heart that self couldn’t be depended on anymore, change started to happen. Focus started to shift. I always just wanted to love and be loved. In my lowest of lows God took me to 1st Corinthians 13. The exact same scripture I highlighted in a study bible I gave my now wife of eleven years. I had interpreted wrong the entire time. That love is not the love that I’m to expect, it’s the love I’m called to give with no expectations of it being reciprocated except from Jesus.

My family and I started to attend a local church where we now reside about four months ago. They have a descipleship program that they have started. It has been such a blessing. The men in my group are amazing, the bonds of trust are growing so deep and the accountability has been well recieved. They have created a place where we can lay our burdens down and help carry each other’s load, offer guidance, support, prayer, to say the least it has been a profound contributor to who and who’s I am now.

We have been studying through Muliply by Francis Chan. The journey has been amazing. I drive an older Toyota 4x4 that is flat black. Looks like a chalkboard. I was having a really hard time memorizing scripture, like the Mathew 28:18-20. I was struggling and knew I would be called out on it. I took a paint stick and wrote it on the side of my truck, so everyone could call me out on it, a little self inflicted accountability I guess. Not long after, as I found myself even more hungry for the Word more of it ended up written on my truck. What started to happen was people would make comments, good and bad, but conversation would occur. Then another one of those moments of revelation. I’m no different than that ugly ole pickup that smells like oil burning. I too can carry that Message, no matter what people think about me. I am a vessel, my job is to carry that Message to all that will here me, plenty have made fun of me but Jesus never did, and those that didnt care to hear the Gospel, well they got a seed too, which leaves the opportunity for someone else to come by with a different approach which may be more effective. We must all be fingers in a helping hand. God bless us all.

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Carson, the idea was birthed from your inspiration, haha. I was just thinking the other day, “I wish I could figure out how others bring Jesus into everyday conversations.” Now, here we go! :slight_smile: Really hope others jump in because this is a topic heavy on my heart.

I have learned to be more deliberate about opening up to people. I get pretty focused on the task at hand, and I am learning to be more deliberate in curating moments where I can’t hide behind a task. It’s a lot easier to talk about work than to talk about what I’m up to in my personal life… not sure why.

Sometimes, I need to leave work at 5 to go hang out with officemates. Sometimes, I may need to invite a stranger for a follow-up conversation where I can’t hide behind the conventional “meet and greet/small talk” protocol. My goal is to curate moments where we can open up about our lives.

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Hi everyone,

Thanks for doing this, let me dive in immediately.

In terms of evangelizing, I moved with God’s leading and prompting. But mostly, I prefer building a deep and meaningful relationship, and then moving into discipleship, as they warmed up to me.

Right now, Im mentoring unbelievers from different walks of life, a young TV show host with an abusive and unfaithful father, a former student growing up with a single mom, one of my employees whose family is recovering from bankruptcy, an old friend struggling with same-sex attraction due to past abuses, an ex-colleague who has trouble with his partners due to a bitter relationship with his mom, and my wife’s friend’s brother who have since received Christ, not long after helping him manage his finances to get out of a huge credit card debt.

Usually through all these mentorships, I find that I learned more from God than they did, and learning to live by example, as I believe my own walk with Christ becomes my greatest testament of God, more than anything I can ever say or preach to them. It has held me accountable to the highest standard, more than I can do on my own.

Through mentorship, the greatest privilege for me is God giving me His heart of a Father, representing Him in their lives as a spiritual father. I learn to see things as He would from His perspective.

I believe even though some of my mentees have not received Christ, but they are pre-believers. Even though I don’t always have to open the bible with them, but I can confidently say, they wouldn’t find the bible unfamiliar when they are a Christian one day.

Apologetics has been my tool to peel off the layers to get to the core of their deepest personal struggles. Ravi’s “answering the questioner not the question” is something I can identify with right away.

I know my evangelism may be lacking quantitative-wise, but I’m more comfortable with this approach, as I can monitor their progress and move at their pace.

Btw, this is along with my ministry in the church too, as I was a cell group leader, and now I’m entrusted with leading the cell group leaders. Discipleship is something I’ve always been doing, and some mentees even date back to way before I even attend my current church. I was also a product of mentorship. There are many things my mentor has taught and demonstrated to me when I was in Canada that I can still apply til today.

That’s it for me. Always looking to learn from others and how they evangelize too. I welcome any feedbacks if there’s something I can do better. Thanks for the time reading this.

Blessings in Christ,
Roy

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I’m part of a weekly bus stop outreach. Some of the riders
are regulars and some are not. Last Saturday I saw a guy
that I had missed for a couple weeks. I was happy to see
hm and he was happy to see me. It’s challenging to respond
to people’s comments at times. Today I have been praying about
how I responded to a comment yesterday.

Bob

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I draw so much encouragement from everyone’s responses!

I moved to a new city and job recently. I tried to bring up repeatedly in the initial weeks that I attend church and that I was praying through a few major life decisions. I’ve had several fellow interns mention (seemingly out of the blue, woefully I’d slipped and kind of forgotten I’d mentioned it) that I’m, “not like those other ‘evangelicals’”. My heart breaks for whatever their past negative experience has been, or what their perceived idea of what Christians are like. It’s been incredibly humbling and convicting to remind myself that I’m not only called to behave morally, but that in times of office stress others are watching with desperate curiosity to see what type of anchor my faith offers.

I’m with @Brittany_Bowman1, I’m really interested in learning from y’all what fostering those conversations further looks like!! I really dropped the baton at the office as of late

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Lots of good pointers here and very helpful to me.

I think it depends on the setting and who is present when and if I initiate a conversation about Jesus.

Man years ago, I was really nervous about attending a First Communion celebration with some extended family. I was Nervous because we had not followed their particular practice of this sacrament with a big party afterwards and I was certain someone would question our decision not to follow those particular practices with our children.

The only thing I knew to do before we went was to pray and ask God to help me respond with honesty but not offend anyone.

Sure enough, someone questioned me. And before I had time to think of what to say — the Words of the Holy Spirit came out of my mouth with a very simple and genuine response:
“We celebrate every time we take communion, not just once.”
It really surprised me more than them.

This has happened on other occasions also. Once we were doing door to door ministry in a very rough neighborhood. We had all prayed before beginning our regular routine of delivering bread.

This particular day one of the residents came out and wanted to talk…He shared how he believed in Jesus and in Reincarnation.
Gently I asked him what he thought he would be reincarnated as if this were true. I think he said a bird of some sort. honestly don’t remember that part… But, I do remember the Holy Spirit kindly saying to this man — Since you believe Jesus existed and may even be God — then let’s see what He came back as after He died. A Resurrected Man that was recognized by His followers.

Another time I had an experience where I sensed God’s leading to share copies of a little book called:
“I’ll hold you in Heaven” by Jack Hayford. So I carried copies of it in the car just in case I got that prompting. One day it came when I pulled into a parking lot of WalMart.

And I knew it was God but I didn’t want to do it. I was like, “REally, God?! In Walmart?!”
Shopping through the aisles, I kept asking the Spirit to show me Who - but I never got the prompt. So I finished up my weekly shopping and headed for the checkout lane.
I got in line behind someone and thought - “Him??” No, it wasn’t him. My heart started pounding because I knew I was getting that prompting from God. I looked behind me and hoped no one was there… I was relieved! Phew!

But then the cashier started checking out my groceries and it hit me! “Seriously, God? The Cashier?”
“Yes, the Cashier.”
I finished paying for my food and looked to see if anyone was behind me No one was there. I looked at the Cashier and just knew it…

I asked her if she would like this little book I had - showing it to her. And if she knew anyone that would be interested in reading it. (it is about losing children, miscarriage, stillborn and aborted)

She looked at me with her eyes in tears and said – " have lost three children by miscarriages".
I wish I could have hugged her too. But just quietly left the book with her and told her that God loves her and her children.

So, I am open to any and all suggestions because I need them. But also,
I think it’s just easier to depend on the Holy Spirit. It takes a lot of pressure off of myself - because I know I would mess the conversation up if I started talking on my own apart from Him.

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This is so endearing and uplifting, thank you for your heart :heart:
And thank you for sharing :pray:t3:

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I finally was able to have a “conversation” with a friend about Jesus. I use quotation marks because it was through texting not in person. Through this experience, God taught me the importance of just doing evangelism. I have been waiting a long time for the perfect time or the perfect opportunity but after attending ReFresh conference, I realized there is no such thing as perfect time to share the gospel unless it is NOW. I was able to turn a normal conversation into one where I could share the hope of Jesus Christ and I hope to continue to do this so my friend will one day turn from atheism to belief in Jesus.

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Thank you for sharing this. It is such an encouragement in my heart.

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Carson that’s it! Practical ways to show those we meet with that they are valued! That will soften the gap between us a ton. :+1:t2: Hmmmm? It’s very personal to our friendships. But any specifics you have to do so without their knowing we are doing just that, please share ??

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Years ago I lived in a multicultural neighborhood and shared close friendships with many of the women. During that time I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

On the day I found out I went home and was crying in the bedroom. While sobbing, I felt like I heard the Lord say, “I want you to have a party.” “What?!” was all I could muster. “Surely not. Do You not know what has happened?” As the minutes passed and the peace came, the list of who He wanted to be invited and the individual gifts to be given, specific to each lady, also came.

It was made very clear that these individual gifts were to represent a Christ-like attribute and character trait that I had witnessed in each lady, irregardless of whether or not they knew Jesus because at least half on that list did not. A Bible verse highlighting that particular attribute in Christ was also to be read aloud, the symbolism of each gift to be explained to the listeners as it related to the Person of Christ and then the prewritten verse given to the intended recipient.

T., a Hindu, received a hammer because she displayed perseverance in the face of many set backs. Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore I have set My face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. Isaiah 50.7 Jesus persevered in doing the will of His Father. And you also reflect Christ with your perseverance.

C., a Muslim, received a gift wrapped box because she loved to give gifts to me upon her return from Bangladesh. For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. John 3.16 God gave us the greatest gift of all when He gave us the gift of Christ. You remind me of my Father because you also love to give.

JW., a Buddhist/atheist, received a towel because she was a humble, obedient servant to her husband and children. For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life as a ransom for many. When I see you joyfully serve your family, you remind me of my Savior.

These are just a few examples as there were many more at the table that day. As you can see, the gifts were small and inexpensive. Knowing the neighbors, their kids and families was a key factor.

I have thought about doing a similar thing in my current neighborhood, but the spiritual landscape is drastically different and calls for a different approach. What that approach is, I’m not exactly certain. Trying to build relationships from an arms out and palms forward stance has been difficult.

Does anyone have any pointers on how to engage post post Christian neighbors?

Mary Beth

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Hi @MaryBeth1,

As I read your post today, I was so touched by how you listen to the Lord and how that fellowship with him leads you to serve others! In the midst of a time of intense personal struggle, you reached out to throw a party and serve your neighbors. I think that is so beautiful and is a great example for us all to aspire to imitate, in our own way.

You asked:

I have thought about doing a similar thing in my current neighborhood, but the spiritual landscape is drastically different and calls for a different approach. What that approach is, I’m not exactly certain. Trying to build relationships from an arms out and palms forward stance has been difficult.

Does anyone have any pointers on how to engage post post Christian neighbors?

From my distant vantage point, I am curious what has changed? I still think people love parties and gifts - and this seems to be your “love language”. Perhaps if the relationships are not as strong or as close, then it might take time to build the trust to be as direct about your faith in Christ. But at the same time, I think people will cherish and appreciate your kind and generous heart, and will understand that you are expressing your Christian identity in a wonderful way.

My encouragement would be to pray, be bold, and keep taking risks to love your neighbors.

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Hi Carson,

Thank you for drilling down and asking this direct question.

I currently live in an area with a very high Jewish population. Knowing how to approach the subject of Yeshua has been tricky at best.

With a few neighbors that I know well, one in particular, I am pretty much able to say what I believe and ask questions about Judaism. We have a great relationship, but she has told me repeatedly that a good Jew will never believe in Jesus, and, if you do, you are automatically no longer a Jew. That comment has led to many more conversations.

With others, even mentioning the name of Jesus you can sometimes see the wall come up and hear the door slam.

I have wondered if I am copping out by not being bolder. The other side to that is being too bold and shutting down the lines of communication for good, but even in that I know on the gut level that their eternity is way more important than our friendship.

My stance has been to try and go to everything I am invited to and engage in conversation about the things that I know are individually important to them.

Thank you, again, for asking this question. It bears reexamination and prayer on my part. I am open to any feedback.

Grace and peace,
Mary Beth

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