PRAY FIRST

Most of the prayer requests in prayer meetings is for sick people. We need to pray for physical needs. But should that be 90% of our requests? Is that really the most appropriate balance? Shouldn’t there be at least some prayer for non-Christians?

I don’t know how this all fits together, but Jesus did say “you have not because you ask not.” Paul instructed us to pray for lost people:

“I exhort, that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men… for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Savior, Who will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” I Tim 2:1

Before you launch new strategies and initiatiaves for evangelism in your church, why not first launch a prayer initiative?

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Most of evangelism includes these two things…

There are two key concepts to embrace and understand about personal evangelism. While there are exceptions, the majority of people who have turned to Christ have both of these elements invovled in their conversion. The words are: PROCESS & RELATIONSHIP

PROCESS: Turning to Christ often takes weeks, months or years. A person first thinks about God, then hears more of the message and at some time they then accept the gift of salvation. It is not too often that people accept the gospel the first time they hear it. Paul was witnessing to King Agrippa who pushed back by saying: “do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian (Acts 26:28-29)? He voiced what many think. This is the most important decision of a life-time. It is expecting a lot to think that someone will make this decision immediately and without thought.

RELATIONSHIP: Most people come to salvation because they crossed paths with another Christian. Again, there are exceptions but for the vast majority of new believers they first got to know a follower of Christ before they followed Christ. Some people turn to God by reading their Bible without any outside input… but they are the rare exception. Others become Christians because of media… but those numbers are still very small compared to those reached through personal evangelism. The most effective approach to evangelism is still one person talking with another.

Understanding these two principles helps a lot when it comes to evangelism. You shouldn’t be discouraged if someone doesn’t accept the message the first time you give it to them. Keep the process moving by building a relationship.

 

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You get what you honor

It is a common leadership quip:  “You get what you honor.”  The idea is that if you put something on a pedestal, people will get the idea that it is important.

This applies to evangelism.  It is common for churches to have evangelism training seminars.  People come.  They listen.  They take notes.  They stay awake the entire time.  Then they leave and go back to the normality of neglecting evangelism.

The key is to have an opportunity every week to talk about evangelism.  That can take place in a small group or Sunday School class.  But it must be part of the normal schedule.  There must be an opportunity for reporting and planning on a weekly basis.  For evangelism to take off, it is critical to have space in the schedule so people can report on their evangelistic activity that week.  Then there needs to be a time to share plans for the coming week.  Having a regular discussion time will help put feet to evangelism.

Of course, have the seminar.  But don’t stop there.  Follow through with a weekly checkup.

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The Myths of Evangelism #2:

 I Don’t Have the Time

Given the opportunity, most of us are able to rationalize virtually any of our decisions and behavior without a problem. When it comes to evangelism, many of us have convinced ourselves of truths in order to justify our lack of witnessing. Sometimes there is necessity and value in humbly examining our heart attitude in the mirror of God’s Word and considering, “Am I merely justifying my lack of obedience?”

Today, continuing with my series on myths of evangelism, I want to explore the mindset that many have established which is to say there simply is not enough time. Such an excuse indicates a high view of self and a low view of God because it suggests that a person’s own work is more important than God’s commands and thus deserve more time.

Furthermore,  it implies that God can only work under the conditions we desire, even if He has given us just a few minutes to share with someone. There are three principles that compel us to recognize that indeed we do have enough time. Therefore, let’s consider each one individually:

1. The Time Principle (Ephesians 5:15-16): In an exhortation to godliness, Paul writes with a conviction that says that we should walk as a wise person and make the most use of the time. The word for time in this verse is not quantitative, but qualitative meaning that it’s not merely about the amount of time you spend with others, but what is done in that time for the sake of furthering God’s purposes and glory.

2. The Opportunity Principle (Colossians 4:5): Secondly, Paul commends believers in Colossae to make the most of every opportunity. Each opportunity to share the gospel is an opportunity from God for God. It should be cultivated and sown with the greatest care and compassion out love for God and love for others.

3. The Fulfillment Principle (Philippians 4:19): Finally, Paul encourages the Philippians with the notion that God is able to meet all their needs. God has proven himself faithful to complete his word and so with those words, believers can have confidence that he will supply what is needed in our evangelism. Consider that he has already provided a Savior, a story, and a system to convey both, certainly he can and would also provide the time to do so as well.

With these principles in mind we can see that has equipped us with the necessities to exalt his name to those we come in contact with. In reality, not having time to share the gospel has nothing to do with the amount of time available and everything to do with your prioritization of that time. Sharing the message of salvation with people comes with a cost. Sometimes it costs money, sometimes it costs pride, and other times it costs popularity. Certainly, we should not be surprised then, when it costs us our time. However, your temporal cost can save someone else the eternal cost.

This article is part of a series on the various myths we believe about evangelism. You can read previous posts by clicking the links below:1. The Myths of Evangelism #1: People Aren’t Interested

 

Robert E. Zink, missionary to Argentina

https://solideogloria.me

 

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