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1 Timothy 3: 16
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At a recent prayer meeting we were praying about a number of church activities. These included a couple of what are new types of evangelistic endeavour for our fellowship. As I sat listening to some of the prayers that were being offered up, I felt that I needed to pray into this, especially as I am actively involved in the initiatives. When my opportunity came along I asked the Lord to open doors, to draw people and used many of the phrases that we probably hear uttered at these types of meetings. The last part of my petition to the Lord was asking Him to help the people in our fellowship to have evangelistic lifestyles.
On my drive home I asked myself, “What exactly is an evangelistic lifestyle”? Having thought about this and taken a good look at scripture, I will hopefully at the very least be able to give you the answer that I arrived at. We will cover this subject over a few blogs as there is just so much to say about this subject. The term is used very much in church circles of late, so I think it is important to have a clear understanding of what it actually is.
Being alert: First of all a lifestyle evangelist is always ready and prepared to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If a genuine opportunity comes along, they will always take it without hesitation. Paul in Athens is a very good example, when he came accross the statue of the unknown God.
“Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you”. Acts 17: 22-23
He simply was presented with an opportunity to share the good news and took it. After he had spoken we know from scripture that some people sneered, others said that they wanted to hear him speak again, while many believed and responded to the message. The great thing is that today people still react and respond in the same way whenever they hear the Good News.
I know some people who cannot help themselves when it comes to sharing their faith. Literally every person they speak to gets to hear the Gospel. I remember a few years ago being in a Chinese takeaway in Glasgow. I was with my cousin is one of those people that can’t help themselves. We went up to the counter; the young lady took her pad and held her pen at the ready expecting an order. She looked up to see my cousins beaming face. He introduced me and said, “Hello young lady, this is my cousin who is also my brother…….in Christ” as he pointed with his right hand towards heaven. The assistant who was Chinese and spoke broken English looked horrified. I have to admit that even I felt a little embarrassed.
Perhaps it’s a bit of an extreme example, but amazingly though, God often moves through people in this way and opens doors for the Gospel. We often don’t know what happens to the seed when we sow it. It can stay there until one day it germinates and starts to speak to a person’s heart. I have seen it happen many times before. It isn’t the way I operate though, but we must all be ready to take the initiative when a true opportunity comes along.
Initially, most opportunities will come through people you know, like friends, family or work colleagues. These are a very good people to start with. We must be ready and prayed up. I have said many times that when you step out for God in faith as a witness, the Holy Spirit will go with you.
Our own contacts are important as we make the decision reach out. Ask the Lord to give you opportunities, and He will do it. When they come along as the always do, you will need to be ready. Look at the figures below to see how most people have ended up coming to church. The figures are pretty much the same worldwide, and it was certainly true in my own case. I initially came to church through someone I knew.
· A friend or relative 78%
· Pastor 6%
· Sunday school 5%
· Church service or program 3%
· Walk-in off the street 3%
· Special need 2%
· Personal visitation 2%
· Evangelistic crusade or TV show 1/2%
Baptist church figures USA 1998
We don’t have to become a pest so that people avoid us; we just need to be prepared to share the truth of the Gospel. That means in season and out of season. In other words ….. anytime.
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” 1 Peter 3:15