Initiative Evangelism

Hey guys and gals, Just wanted to share an encouraging message. Because many of us so often fall into the trap of doing nothing because “we don’t feel led” or because we think “God will make it happen”, I took the liberty of copying the following message so that you may be encouraged by it too.

Jeff Reiman is a member of an online fellowship of evangelists called the Ambassador’s Alliance. This is a message he posted last week.

First day of the New Year and I’ve already failed. I’ve fallen short of my goal to have at least one witnessing conversation every day. The good thing about it is I won’t have any temptation to be proud that “;I haven’t missed a day all year!”; I’m also glad that I haven’t made any promises that I can’t keep – after all, this is a goal, not a vow or a sacred commitment. It’s simply a goal that I ask God and others to help me with.

So why did I miss yesterday? It’s simple. I didn’t take the initiative. I used to pray that God would send opportunities my way to share my faith. I sort of expected some obvious “;Divine Appointment”; to happen, whatever that’s supposed to look like. I hear that phrase a lot in Christian circles, and whatever it is it somehow means that one way or another God himself will take the initiative to put a person in my path, or cause a conversation to naturally start, where there is no risk of failure on my part because I didn’t stick my neck out to make it happen. Oh I might do all sorts of subtle, goofy things to drop hints to people that I’m a Christian and would love to tell them about it – but for years I expected them to get the hints and take the initiative themselves. What about all the hints from a lost world that they are looking for someone to care, someone to reach out to them? What about the escapism or slow suicide of drugs and alcohol, or the arrogant boasting of beautiful people trying to convince others that they are “;living the dream”;, or the loneliness of the guy reading a book in public when he could just as well read it at home? In our non-confrontational culture people simply aren’t going to admit they are lost, and most don’t even know they are. But Jesus tells me otherwise, and He says “;Go”;.

Of all the terms for it – street witnessing, personal evangelism, outreach, whatever – I think the phrase “;Initiative Evangelism”; best describes our role. Jesus commands us to go take advantage of the opportunities He gives that are all around us, not to passively sit back and wait for the opportunities to come to us – ; “;divine appointment”; or otherwise. Wherever there are people who have a little time to talk there are opportunities, and for us as people of faith it will always mean that we must step out of our comfort zone. For me, I’m not going to consistently step out of my comfort zone without deciding on purpose to do so in advance, and so at this point in my Christian journey I need to set some sort of unnatural goal to get myself to do something that I guess should come naturally. Maybe one day it will; God isn’t finished with me yet.

Jeff is right. Jesus did not call us to passivity or apathy. He has called us to be his witnesses. He has told us to be the light of the world. He has commanded us to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. All over the New Testament, we are continually reminded of the urgency of getting the gospel out to a lost and dying world.

Let us also take the challenge Jeff has, to make it our business to purposefully share the gospel with someone every day. Let us be sure that as we live out our lives, we are also about our Fathers’ business.

Until the nets are full….

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