I’ve been reading Reimagining Evangelism: Inviting Friends on a Spiritual Journey which I found on Out of Url.
Look for the Divine Appointments
The basic premise of the book is that God is at work already in the lives of pre-Christians, and our job in evangelism is to participate in that work.
The author describes (not defines) evangelism as being part of a “detective agency.”
While the image may be a little cheesy, I find that my evangelism efforts are most effective when I sense God’s nudge to talk with someone.
I feel the prompting of the Spirit to engage in a conversation, and when I obey that nudge, I often discover that God has been at work already and I’m just a character in God’s story being written for the other person.
It’s noticing, as Phillip did, “Go stand next to that chariot.”
Examples of Divine Appointments
[Update: See Divine Appointments Post]
If I’ve not totally confused you, let me try to explain.
There have been times when I have gone about my ordinary day, doing my ordinary errands, tasks, etc.
Sometimes, I feel prompted to pray for a stranger that I see, or for a friend who is far away.
For example, I was prompted to be praying for a friend who lives in another part of the state.
After a few days of this, I called the person up and asked, “The Lord’s been prompting me to pray for you these last few days. Why am I praying for you?”
She was in the midst of a life crisis (to protect her privacy, no details).
For me to call out of the blue and say I was praying for her was an evidence that God was looking out for her. It was evidence of God at work.
The seed is sown
We talked, we prayed, and she’s still on the journey of discovering God’s grace.
I don’t think she’d describe herself yet as a Christian, but when she cried out to God for evidence of his presence, and I call saying I’ve been praying, she’s got a piece of evidence that shows God’s mercy.
“I was in distress and you heard my cry, O Lord.”
As she journeys to faith, this conversation is one piece that God will use to bring her to a point of greater faith in Him thru Jesus Christ.
Evangelism is sharing the good news of the sovereign love of God. (See our definition of evangelism)
My phone call was “good news” to my friend.
In life’s journey, she’ll come to a fuller faith and trust in the Lord.
God’s at work.
This encounter began with a nudge to pray and then to call.
God was at work revealing himself to my friend, and at work in calling me to participate in what He was doing.
Pray to Notice God’s Activity
In obedience, I had the joy in sharing some of God’s love in a tangible way.
God is at work — part of what we are to do in evangelism to seek out that activity.
“God where are you at work and how can I participate?”
When I make this a routine part of my prayer life, I’m amazed at how much easier evangelism is to do as a discipline.
I don’ t have to muster up courage, I’m not propelled by guilt, nor driven a task list to talk with 5 people each day. I don’t have to have a tract in hand, answers to every question, nor a Ravi Zacharias sermon in my head.
I’m amazed at how much less rejection there is. I’m amazed that I’m not interrupting anybody’s day — it is a Divine Appointment.
I don’t hate Evangelism anymore
Yesterday, on a blog i read, Emerging Evangelism (blog expired), the author writes “Why I hate evangelism.”
He cites 5 caricatures:
- It violates the golden rule – most Christians would not want to be approached by a member of another religion the way Christians approach others in evangelistic attempts
- It calls the authenticity of relationships into question – are you my friend because you’re really my friend, or so you can convert me?
- The moment of truth – we think we must identify a “no turning back” point where you pressure someone to make a decision, and if they don’t respond well, that jeopardizes the relationship
- Asking someone about the Gospel feels like making a pass at them
- If I like my friends, and want them to continue to be my friends, I have a major incentive not to try to evangelize them
Watching to see where God is at work eliminates most of these feelings. It avoids some of the awkwardness of these characterizations. Most of us who work as evangelists know these caricatures well.
Most of us hate evangelism for these reasons.
But participating or cooperating in the work of God makes it much easier, more fulfilling, and the like.
Do you need help in Personal Evangelism?
Start here with this MP3 Download on Evangelism Training from the store ($10) to help you see where you need to grow.
In this 80 minute MP3 AUDIO recording on personal evangelism you will learn:
- How church invitations are part of evangelism
- How to discover and share your own journey to faith
- What you can say about the gospel message.
- How to personally lead someone to faith in Christ.
It’s a 80 minute audio file that takes just a few minutes to download, but it may help you answer the question:
What can you do in the next 90 days to grow in your evangelism skills?