Today is the final portion on the series, Evangelism Substitutes. See the links below to catch the other parts.
Here is a fourth substitute for personal evangelism: community service projects.
- Let’s go out and feed the homeless.
- Let’s go out and build houses for Habitat for Humanity.
- Let’s go out and give away water at the bike race or something.
These are all good mission projects for the church, but the evangelistic challenge is this:
Do we actually talk about our faith with others while doing it?
Or just showing our faith and hoping others guess at our intentions?
While community service projects may
- Build the reputation for the church,
- Enhance the church’s image in the community,
- Give volunteers community service hours,
- Demonstrate the kingdom of God in acts of compassion and justice
do your church members actually talk with people about their relationship with Christ?
Maybe we’re just hoping that somebody might ask a question about our faith.
But deep down inside, we are secretly hoping that nobody will ask, because we likely won’t what to say.
Looking for the divine appointments
While we are doing community service, we may not be looking for those conversational opportunities that the Lord would bring to us.
The Lord might just give us divine appointments to help a person move one step forward in their journey towards Christ.
The Color of Shoes
Do the recipients of your community service projects understand that you are doing this out of love for Jesus, or do they think you are just another version of the Rotary Club, or another version of the Kiwanis Club, a good corporate citizen, or a foundation that likes to give money away and service to the poor?
For a perfect illustration read Is Neighborhood Outreach Evangelism? where you can see how a pair of shoes on an olympic jumper gives us great insight into this.
The essential point: Meaning is given where none is provided.
When you are doing your community service projects, are your recipients giving meaning that is very different than you what you are intending?
If we don’t look for opportunities to talk our faith while we are serving, are the recipients missing the point?
What is it about our work in the minds of the recipient that sets our work apart as being done in the love of the Jesus?
With our community service projects and with our outreaches, do we communicate that we are doing this because of the love of Jesus? What motivates us to give ourselves away? What is it that motivates us to engage our community?
Does our community know that we are doing these things because Jesus loves them, and Jesus has called us to serve them?
Or are we just changing the color of our shoes and hoping somebody gets it right?
Steps to grow on:
The key to increasing the personal evangelism during these awesome community projects is to
- Remind people to look for divine appointments.
- Help people to look for spiritual thirst in conversations.
- Setup prayer stations at community events.
This four part series is touched on briefly in my soon to be released CD series on Fear Free Evangelism. In that series, I help you learn to grow in your conversation skills and help you overcome those natural fears.
Released June 15
Click on the image to access