A couple weeks ago I had the awesome privilege of participating in one of the largest evangelistic events I have been part of in a long time. The week before the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Baltimore, Southern Baptist seminaries partnered with the North American Mission Board to reach as much of Baltimore as we could in a week. Working with, worshiping with, and even weeping with hundreds of students is a moving experience!
For even more insights into the trip, be sure and check out Megan Lawrence’s article on the Women’s Life blog here.
It is true that I have regular opportunities to do mission work in many different settings. However, the size, scope, partnership, and vision of this trip was different. I wanted to take a few minutes to list several lessons I learned.
I do not share my faith enough– I do share my faith. I teach evangelism. I teach students to address obstacles, questions, and rejection. But with a week completely focused on evangelism, I was convicted about all of the opportunities the Lord provided. Planned and Unplanned – everywhere we looked, the Lord opened a door.
A fear of so-called ‘false conversion’ is unnecessarily paralyzing – We are rightly concerned with giving false hope to those outside of Christ. BUT far too many would be evangelists are hypersensitive about asking people to make decisions for Christ. We don’t want to push. We don’t want to presume on God.
BUT – We need men and women who will, with Paul (2 Cor 5:20) PLEAD on Christ’s behalf, ‘Be reconciled to God.’ I am praying that we will overcome this barrier without losing solid theology.
The more people I share the gospel with, the more comfortable I become and the more people will trust Christ. To quote Forrest Gump: “That’s all I want to say ‘bout that.”
Most of the things we fear will happen when we share our faith, never really do – The lie of the enemy begins with “What if – “ It is time for Christians to say: “What if I don’t –“ and let the answer to this last question drive us.
I have been blessed with some really GREAT partners – As I write these words, I am fighting back tears thinking of the men, women, students, and colleagues who participated in this event. As Southern Baptists we have our share of problems – but, quoting Si Robertson, “Hey Jack!” We have a good thing going and a bunch of good people going with us. There are several hundred people who are better off today (and eternally) because of this fact.
Serving the Lord is just plain fun – Seriously, we had a blast! We sang, wept, shared, served, washed cars, passed out “things,” painted faces, wiped tears, fed the hungry, gave hope to the hopeless, and touched the untouchable. . .
If you haven’t tried it lately quityerbellyachin’ and go do something for Jesus. Don’t over think it. Walk outside and do something. Go ahead, we will wait on you to get back.
STILL HERE?!!? — one last lesson, Coming Home is a sure fire way to forget everything you learned. It is far too easy to slide into life as usual, the normal routine, and not apply all of these lessons.
What about you? Have you learned any lessons about evangelism lately?
Scott Hildreth is the director of the Lewis A. Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies. He frequently speaks on issues of missions, spiritual formation, missiology, and theology. Scott also contributes to SEBTS faculty blog www.betweenthetimes.com