Part of our job as leaders is to mobilize God’s people as everyday missionaries. To be ambassadors for Jesus where they work, play, drink, grab a coffee in the morning. In short, where they live.
Many have been burned trying to repeat a sermon or even when inviting someone to church (which is deemed irrelevant by a growing population segment). Not knowing how to handle possible backlash impedes living as an everyday missionary.
Some have lost arguments about science and evolution or even politics. Some have faced another person’s fit of general anger against God. Good people who want to spread the gospel often suffer fear which cripples them.
If you’re trying to equip labor for the harvest, you might want to deconstruct the evangelism scenario into simple, quite ordinary conversations. Help your people understand that they don’t need to control conversations with not-yet-believers to be effective. They will see better results if they leave conversations open-ended.
Single conversations are essential to another person’s eternity, the way grains of sand are vital to a block of cement. A bunch of them produce weighty results, but any single one isn’t that big a deal. We don’t need to turn evangelistic conversations into contests to be won.
I teach people to anticipate tough conversations. The answer to a question about God or the Bible that they can’t answer goes something like, “I can’t answer that because I don’t know the answer. Let’s you and I Google that question or check Wikipedia and continue this conversation a week from today.”
Teach people to focus on loving others, building relationships and look for natural points to interject God into the conversation. Sentences like, “I prayed, and this great ‘coincidence’ just happened,” or “I pray a lot, could I have permission to pray for you before I hit the sack tonight?”
As soon as you remove the pressure people feel when they think they need to control conversations or sell something, they will begin to trust the Holy Spirit more than themselves. You’ll be surprised by the results of simple friendship evangelism where there is no need to close a deal or win an argument.
A bonus surprise I’ve discovered is kind of a “the bigger they are, the harder they fall” phenomenon where those who seem least likely to accept Jesus or more likely to rebuff Christian friends sometimes become the most rabid evangelists.
Lighten up on your people, teach them to lighten up on their friends and then trust the Holy Spirit to turn seeds into fruit. Good times are just around the bend!
Catch this in a two-minute video https://youtu.be/RTfE9Np34Ck
BTW, the comments box is begging for your attention…