Evangelism is...04 Aug 2016
Evangelism is not always polished, efficient, and glamorous.
Often it’s wandering around a park for 2 hours longing and aching to get to talk to someone. Sometimes the conversations open up all over the place, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes one crucial contact happens after hours of persevering through nothing.
But this crazy act of us throwing ourselves out into a lost world, longing and aching to be able to make some contact and share some words of life, is a beautiful act of worship. When we spend hours doing this, aching for him to make himself known to the lost, we are saying he’s worthy to be known, and he’s worthy of our time.
I will often put myself out there in some place for 3, 6 or 9 hours at a time, often really doubting that anything worthwhile can happen. So often it feels impossible. But I pull away from the computer, from my home, and from whatever other things I’m involved with, and throw myself out the door. I get out in the park, in the market, near the people, and I long, ache, and pray for the gospel to somehow get to people who haven’t heard it before. Then, God gives me the desire of my heart, and it starts happening. Sometimes it starts happening right away in a flood, as one conversation after another unfolds. Sometimes it takes hours and hours before something worthwhile happens, and I only see a little trickle of opportunity. But it almost always happens somehow.
I remember some very good words that a much more experienced friend said. “If you go out once to share and nothing happens, go out again, and again, and again. Go out 9 times, and go out again, because on the 10th time you could get to share Jesus once.” That’s the attitude.
We have to decide that this is worthwhile.
The woman in Mark 14 could break an extremely expensive bottle of perfume over Jesus’ feet. And we can waste big chunks of our time, getting out among the lost, and aching for his word to go forward. Is it a waste? Isn’t there something better that could be done? No. Jesus is worth it.
Evangelism is also not about being super extroverted or a real people person. I rememeber seeing one of the most amazing evangelists, who was a real quiet, introverted guy, almost running after someone and trying really hard to talk to them, becasue he was driven by God’s love and concern for them. I was also told that I didn’t have what it takes, that I didn’t have the people skills necessary to connect with people and be an evangelist. But I had to try. I knew I couldn’t do anything else. And sure enough, the love for the lost God put in my heart pushed me over whatever personality barriers or deficiencies that I had.
Another one of the most powerfully used evangelists I’ve ever seen was a guy who had Asperger’s syndrome. He told me how when he was younger he literally had no meaningful interaction with anybody. It was just him and his computer. Then God worked him out of his shell and showed him how he could use him through and outreach. He still says that he is unable to read social situations because of his condition, but nevertheless, he somehow ends up meeting people and sharing the gospel all over the place. It’s beautiful. And as he says, “If I have any meaningful contact or conversation with anybody, that’s a miracle. So whatever happens through me (in terms of spreading the Gospel), I know it’s from God, and not from me.”
Exactly! And that’s the perspective that we really need. We’re not experts who’ve got the perfect evangelism techniques or methods figured out. We’re just servants fumbling around, really eager to somehow see him talked about (with people who’ve never heard) and honored. And God will use us, even us, to glorify his name.