So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:24

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Philemon 1:6

FRONT PAGE - here you will find the last 20 postings about recent conversations. Please pray for these people!

A Joy We Can All Share

3/21/13       Cynthia            about 25

In preparation for Easter, our church has printed invitations to our Easter Sunday service to be handed out all around the neighborhood.  I felt reluctant and skeptical but agreed to give it a try.  Outside our train station during rush hour, a young lady named Cynthia helped me understand why I felt this way.  My purpose was just to hand out the invitations to the crowds getting off the trains, but between trains the crowd had dispersed and she was left waiting for her ride, so I struck up a conversation, asking about her beliefs.  She had grown up as a Mormon in Kentucky but now has given up on organized religion, saying she is comfortable with her own private beliefs.  As we talked it was clear she still holds to her Mormon beliefs, though she isn’t currently following them.  Of course, with this frame of reference, my efforts were seen as mere proselytizing – trying to win converts to join my church – rather than truly caring for her as a person.  The fact that I had first given her a church invitation didn’t help me to convince her otherwise.  By contrast, in my normal witnessing efforts I usually begin with questions about where the person is at spiritually and then I try to help them take the next step of faith needed in their relationship with God.  I might try to help an atheist understand the foolishness of claiming there is no Creator, or an agnostic to understand that although we can’t know God by our own efforts, He can and does reveal Himself to us.  The disillusioned; the false converts; followers of works-based religions; the sensual and worldly minded; those who imagine or cobble together various ideas about God; the young believer in need of encouragement and/or a church home; the more mature believer needing to be challenged to share their faith – like Cynthia they all need a listening ear followed by words of truth tailored to where they are at spiritually.  We need to be ministers of the Gospel, in the spirit of Paul’s admonition to “become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1 Cor. 9:22)   Cynthia didn’t respond as I might like – at best I think I might have helped her question some of her unbiblical presuppositions – and while we talked I probably could have handed out 50 church invitations instead.  God may very well use our invitations to reach some people.  I pray He does.  But Jesus didn’t command us just to go out and invite people to church to hear the pastor share the Gospel – we need to share it ourselves!  In fact, the job of both pastors and evangelists is to “equip his people for works of service”. (Eph.4) Let’s not leave the task of ministering the Gospel just to the “gifted” evangelists on the street or the “professional” pastors at the church building – it’s a joy we can all be a part of!

No comments: