Where do you think evangelism happens best? Over the weekend, at my church, there was a baptism for a member of our youth program, and the story that led him to the baptismal waters was one that I am extremely proud to know the participants.
I won’t drop any names, but I will tell you how this teenager nearing the end of his high school years came to know the Lord as his personal savior and invited Him into his heart.
This particular story of evangelism started at work. One of the students in our college ministry works at Target. All good things happen at Target right? Just kidding, back to the story. So the college student has a coworker with whom he is friends. I will call the college student John and his coworker Adam.
At some point, John simply extends an invitation to play basketball to his coworker. Adam says yes and joins John at the church gym for some Sunday afternoon basketball, which a lot of people attend.
That was the first step John took toward personal evangelism. Had that step not been taken, there would be no story to tell. I can admit that throughout my college career I worked with many people who were not believers in Christ.
Often I would be cordial at work but not dare invite any co-workers into any aspect of my personal life, often running in the opposite direction should anyone suggest getting together outside of work. This was never because I thought I was too good for anyone, or even that I didn’t like them. I was simply keeping to the old “keep business and play” separate adage.
However, this should never be the case for Christ followers. There are no breaks in our walk with Christ where it is okay to just keep your faith separated from the rest of your life, whether that is to not bother someone else, make them uncomfortable or whether it is to avoid rejection—it simply shouldn’t be an option. I am so glad that, in John’s case, he didn’t keep it separate.
After Adam played basketball at the church for a few Sundays and developed friendships. These friendships led him to decide to come to the youth group at church. Adam then decided to come to the DNOW weekend that our church hosted, where he made a profession of faith in Christ.
You see how easy that seems? Don’t get me wrong, I’m talking to myself here too…Often when I talk to the personal evangelism specialist here at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma and ask him the most effective way to share the Gospel, his answer is the same. He says that people think there needs to be a complicated process, or that it’s a large, scary ordeal, but it is, in fact, the opposite.
There is a time and place to have a Gospel conversation, and for that I pray the Lord gives me the discernment to know when and where it is appropriate. I fully believe that if the Lord were to tell me to have a Gospel conversation with a stranger, it is my duty to fulfill his calling.
However, personal evangelism, a type of evangelism with which Millennials relate so well, doesn’t happen all at once. This type of evangelism happens over time, through the development of a relationship and once a level of trust and friendship has been built.
This is what John did. He had a relationship with Adam, invited him to play some pickup basketball and the Lord moved in Adam’s life from there. How incredible was that? And how simple, right?
As Christians, we should be to the point in our relationship with the Lord that it is seamless to share the Good News of our Savior with the lost and dying world around us. That is why we are here, to go into all of the world and make disciples! (Matt. 28:19)
Where is it that you could begin to cultivate a relationship with someone that could ultimately lead to their eternity being secured with Jesus Christ? Is it in your neighborhood? At school? Maybe it’s at work or even in your home.
Time is ticking and there’s a lost world out there desperate for the love of our Lord and Savior, let’s tell them all about it. Be bold, pray for boldness from the Lord and as Nike says, Just Do It!