My grandma tells me of her mom, who had a lovely voice and sang for church services. Because she was so small, the preacher had her stand on a wooden box in front of the congregation.
I love that story.
When I hear the word “Evangelism” I think of standing on a box in front of a lot of people, and I get anxious. Pastor Bob spoke about it in his Sunday sermon, but I don’t think he used the “E” word once. He talked about “sharing Christ”, and I like that much better.
I also liked Pastor’s analogies of the T-Ball player up at bat in the last inning of the World Series, and of the salt sitting in the shaker on the shelf. When I look around my neighborhood and that “E” word comes to mind, feelings of inadequacy can render me useless.
I like what Pastor Daniel has to say about “building bridges”. Relationships aren’t as scary as soapboxes, but we’re not all naturals at relationships either. It’s easier to see myself welcoming people here as they come to us at church, than it is to see myself going out…there.
Where is there, anyway?
We’ve been intentionally going out into our Hispanic community in Bernardsville, and the town square and YMCA in Plainfield. I’ve been out there, and have been richly blessed in the going out. Together as a church we’re building bridges in these places. But when I’m going “out there” on my own it doesn’t feel so…safe.
Am I telling anyone about Jesus?
The Lord brings quite alot of people into my life every day – my “out there”. He isn’t calling me to drag a soapbox around. He’s asking me to make His love and my hope in Jesus real for the people around me to see. He wants me to share with them what I have found in Him.
How do I do that?
I think that this is where it will get creative. The God of the Universe, who created me and those people around me and everything else I see, and did it with genius and with passion, is there beside me to lead and instruct me. His hand is on the bat with mine. He holds the shaker and pours me out. If I can just trust that! His Holy Spirit goes ahead of me to prepare the way, opening hearts and presenting opportunities for me to help, to care, to pray, to witness. I’m curious to see what they will be.
I’ll need to have some idea about what I’m going to say when the time comes. (Thankfully it sounds like the Pastors and church leaders have plans to help us with that.) The Holy Spirit is the One who does the convincing but what I say will have the most effect if it’s from the heart, if it’s real. So I’ll need to practice living what I say. Am I? The question points things back to me.
Is my relationship with Jesus real?
Sometimes not! I can get caught up in the worries and distractions of the world, and lose touch with The Lord. So evangelism doesn’t just lead me out, but back in again to The Church, to The Lord, where it all began, so that I can return to Him in my heart, grow in faith and be strengthened to go back out again. Lent is one of those “back in” times, don’t you think? Not that we’re excused from evangelism, but that we are intentionally preparing for it.
Someone once said that we teach best what we need to learn most (who was that?) I’m game. Are you?