Summary: One of the keys to participating in evangelism is to figure out how God can use your personality and gifts to make an impact in the lives of others. While Peter was quite confrontational in his approach, Paul utilized a more intellectual line of reasonin
Discovering Your Style, Part 1
Rev. Brian Bill
Sometimes pastors take some heat for speaking too long. One long-winded minister was preaching away when a woman remembered that she had left the Sunday dinner in the oven. She hastily wrote a note and slipped it to her husband, who was an usher. Thinking the note was for the pastor, he calmly walked up and laid it on the pulpit. The minister paused, took the note with a smile, which quickly turned into a frown, as he read: “Please hurry home and shut off the gas!”
PPT Slide of Painting
Before I’m asked to shut off the gas, I want to begin by asking you to study this painting. I am no art expert, which is no surprise to any of you who know me, but I want you to take a close look at this picture. A few weeks before he took his own life, former preacher Vincent van Gogh used his paintbrush to depict his view of the church.
What do you notice? Do you see the two paths on either side of the church? It’s right in the middle of life and yet the person on the road looks content to just walk by. Actually, we can’t tell if he is walking toward the church, or away from it. What else do you see? While it seems to emanate a dim light from the inside, the church has no doors! There is no way in.
To me this is a very haunting image. Many people in our culture today are on the road of life, content to walk right past Christianity. And, those who may want to come in and take a closer look often can’t find the door. As a result, the Christian faith is frequently considered irrelevant and only for insiders.
What is it going to take for the life-changing message of the gospel to penetrate our post-modern and post-Christian society? While this picture is more descriptive of our situation than we’d like to admit, the fact of the matter is that we are a “sent” people. The church must go into the world because the world won’t come into the church – at least until they’ve been invited by some believers to do so.
We need to do whatever we can to make sure there are many “doors” into our church, but the most important thing we can do is to use these doors to “go” out into our mission field. When Jesus gave us our final marching orders, He challenged us to “go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19).
As we’ve already established, we must first own the mission that we’ve been given by being involved in redemptive relationships with lost people. Then, we must be ready by making sure that we’ve set apart Christ as Lord of our lives so that we can give a clear answer for the hope that we have in Jesus. We’re to treat pre-Christian people with grace and respect.
Two weeks ago, we learned through two biblical metaphors that we are salt and light. As salt, we’re to give taste to a bland world, we’re to work as a moral antiseptic, and we’re to make people thirsty for Jesus. As light, God chooses to use us to dispel darkness, to give guidance, and to reveal Jesus to others. Every Christian occupies some kind of a pulpit and preaches some kind of a sermon every day.
Last week we were reminded that God wants us to participate in the process of evangelism by practicing some C-P-R on our friends. We’re to appeal to emotions by cultivating relationships. We satisfy their intellect by planting the seed of the gospel as we tell our story and His story. We who know the need must be willing to sow the seed. And, we reap the harvest when we call for a decision of the will.
As a church today we’re reaping over 3 decades of faithful cultivating and planting. By the way, I inadvertently left Pastor Keith Mosebrook off the list last week. I’m sorry about that.
Not only must we have a good handle on the different stages of evangelism, it’s also helpful to understand the different evangelistic styles that God has given to each of us. It takes all kinds of Christians to reach all kinds of non-Christians. All people cannot witness the same way, but all people can witness some way.
Just as its freeing to understand that God wants us involved in some phase of the evangelism process with our pre-Christian friends, so too, it is very liberating to understand how God has wired you evangelistically. Once you figure out your evangelistic style, you’ll have greeter freedom to make an eternal impact in the lives of those around you.