Marketplace Evangelism 1/8/10
Evangelism in the marketplace is a familiar idea, but is all too often limited to relational evangelism between co-workers or business associates who already know each other. However there are so many more opportunities to take the evangelistic initiative in the marketplace. It doesn't have to be while on the job with a captive audience - what about the hundreds of fellow shoppers we come in contact with on a typical visit to the marketplace as shoppers ourselves? The Apostle Paul set the example for us in Athens where he "reasoned in the synagogue...as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there." (Acts 17:17) Later Paul spoke to the crowd he gathered, but I believe it began when he "reasoned" with people - he had a two-way conversation and appealed to reason and logic. In the rest of chapter 17 it tells how he used reason to establish the existence of the Creator God as opposed to the various idols worshipped in Athens, and he spoke of the need for repentance, of God's judgment and justice, and of the good news of Jesus and the resurrection. I spoke of these things to Tommy, a fellow shopper at the grocery store recently while Luke watched the reactions of other shoppers. (12/28/09) To them Tommy and I were two shoppers in the grocery store having a nice conversation and they just continued with their shopping. It might be illegal to create a public disturbance by preaching loudly in a place of business, and more and more the unwritten rules of etiquette also tell us that "it's okay to talk to store employees, but don't talk to or even acknowledge other customers". However, management didn't call the police or rush to stop our conversation. Luke remarked "It's probably good for business, especially in the city, to have a friendly shopping atmosphere where people feel free to chat with one another." This doesn't have to be limited to the lobby of a mall either - Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Starbucks, grocery stores, Dunkin Donuts - they all offer a warm place to have a friendly conversation that has eternal significance in these cold winter months.