Why do I still stink at sharing my faith after all these years of ministry? When I do reluctantly break out of my ministry huddle to talk about the ultimate love of my life, I always feel the presence of God, yet these evangelistic moments are too few and far between.
This humbling reminder came yesterday on my way out of a gym when I said “hello” to a couple of young guys who were talking by my Jeep in the parking lot. One guy I knew well and the other was a college student whom I had never met or had any intention of meeting. They are a dime a dozen at that gym.
Honestly, my only motive for engaging in their conversation was the fact that they were admiring the new winch and bully-bar on my front bumper. We might as well have been grade-schoolers comparing our bikes on the playground. It was fun.
My evangelism aha moment finally came when the student showed me pictures of a life-threatening wreck he had survived about a year ago. He (not me) mentioned that God must have saved him for a purpose. Yes, he used that word…and I turned the conversation slowly toward the gospel, which he received warmly.
I enjoyed this conversation immensely, and we exchanged contact information for follow-up. I was so excited about this spiritual lay-up! I would have skipped home had it not been for the massive number of man-points it would have cost me in doing so. Instead, I will write this blog as a hopeful encouragement to my pastor friends to more consistently share our faith outside of church.
Look For Divine Appointments
Although I have trained hundreds of Christians to share their faith over the years, I was not looking for a God-moment in this conversation initially. This guy all but asked me to share my faith, and he had no idea that I was a minister when he did so. The poor kid never saw it coming. God set him up, just like He did you and me when we first heard the gospel.
In John 4, Jesus saw and seized an opportunity to share the hope of the gospel with a hopeless harlot at a community well. Her likely ostracism was probably related to her five failed marriages and current live-in boyfriend.
Jesus saw her differently than the hapless disciples, who likely passed her on the way into town to get food.
- The disciples saw a woman. Jesus saw a person.
- The disciples saw a half-breed Samaritan. Jesus saw someone made in the image of God.
- The disciples saw a sinner to avoid. Jesus saw a sinner who needed a friend.
- The disciples saw an outcast from Sychar. Jesus saw an evangelist to Sychar.
Make Friends Outside Of Church
Scottish preacher George McDonald once wrote, “Hold fast to God with one hand, and open wide the other to your neighbor.”
A Jewish preacher said it even better,
“And if you speak only to your friends, have you done anything out of the ordinary? Even the pagans do that!” Matt 5:47 (GNT)
I sometimes realize in the very moment of sharing my faith that I don’t stink at it at all. In fact, it is not my delivery where I fall short, it is my initiative. Jesus was condemned for being “a friend of sinners,” which He likely considered a compliment. I hope that can be said of me one day: “Mark Dance is a friend of sinners.”
I hope I never completely forget what is was like to be a spiritual outsider.
But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah (Eph 2:13).
Most of my rare evangelistic opportunities happen where I play. Fitness, hunting, and volunteering as a police chaplain have put me in front of more than a few lost folks over the years.
Where do you connect with unchurched people the most? How do you best seize the divine appointments God sends your way? What ideas do you have to break the ministry huddle?