Over the past few years I have been especially interested in evangelism, church growth and spiritual life. (Who am I kidding? I have always been interested in these topics.) Here’s the thing that I am learning now: They are all the same. And the corollary to that truth is my belief that none of them is especially difficult. We should not get too stressed out or worked up about any of these things. Every believer in Jesus has it completely within their own ability to succeed- and probably excel- at this. To help us with that, let me suggest a few things.
- Love Matters. It is important to love all people, all the time. We cannot be selective in who we love, or how we love them. Jesus was not, after all. The Great Commandment is to love others as we love ourselves (Leviticus 19.19; Matthew 19.19). Keep on loving.
- Prayer Matters. Too many times we tend to think of prayer as a last resort. That should never be the case. We should be praying all the time (1 Thessalonians 5.17) and we should be praying especially for people who do not know Jesus.
- Proximity Matters. So often we think only about evangelizing the lost tribes of the Amazon, or the forgotten people of some remote Pacific island. But we need to be thinking about people who are close to us too. Consider sharing your faith with those people that you see every day, or with whom you live. Work on evangelizing the people you spend the most time with. Someone once suggested that we evangelize in a FRAN mode. Talk to you Friends, Relatives, Associates and Neighbors.
- Your Story Matters. Don’t sell yourself short. God has done a great thing in your life and other people will be moved by your testimony. It is not that complicated to develop, practice and tell your story to others. Simply relate what your life was like before you met Jesus, how you met Jesus, and what your life has been like since that time. It may not be dramatic, but it is true and it will be powerful.
- Invitation Matters. Pick out the people close to you and share your story with them, but be sure to ask them to change their lives. Invite them to accept Jesus. Ask them to follow the Lord. They may not, but you need to clearly give them the option.
- Faithfulness Matters. Don’t give up. You will likely make some mistakes, but that’s not the end of the world. Keep sharing your story. Next time your friend may say yes. But in addition to that, make sure that you continue to life a holy life, committed to Jesus. When you share your faith, you open yourself to increased scrutiny. Don’t blow it. Be an example.
There you go. You can do that. In fact, you should do that. Now, let’s go change the world.
- Pastor Dewey Miller