5/28/14 Hector, David both in 30's
Once we have shared the Gospel, should we follow up with everyone we have talked to? After all, Jesus didn’t command us to “Go and make converts” – but to “Go and make disciples”. So where does evangelism end and discipleship begin? Maybe a better question is, who are we to decide? I’ve felt led to re-consider these questions over the last week or so as I’ve continued my daily witnessing goal. The last few people I’ve talked to, Hector at the park and David out doing yard work, have been middle-aged fathers with strong family roots in their Catholic church. In their view one is saved by their good works in being faithful church attenders and going along with church teachings, which they passively accept without reading the Bible for themselves or considering its implications upon their lives. I tactfully challenged them both to reexamine their own relationships to God, which they both dutifully but noncommittally agreed with. Both were friendly enough but neither showed additional interest by asking questions or commenting on what I was talking about. Because of their solid roots in their family church tradition and their general lack of spiritual interest, I felt that asking either of them if I could call back in a few days would have distracted from the basic Gospel message I had just explained. Instead of my just being a faithful Christian focusing on their relationship with God, I think it would have just made them think I was only trying to recruit them to come to my church. Which raises another question: Should we first try to help people into relationships with a local church, with the hope that they will eventually enter into a right relationship with God, or should it be a right relationship with God first leading to local church involvement? For both Hector and Michael, I think their church involvement has given them a false sense of eternal security, and it may just be a no-strings-attached outsider like me helping them focus on their relationship with God that can shake them out of their comfort zone.