In a recent post on the manner of presentation of the Gospel I said that it is important that we approach evangelism with humility, and getting the starting point right. I’d like to expand on both of those here today.
First, we ought to follow the example of Paul – who was simply living out the implications of the Gospel by having a humble approach, consecrated life and great carefulness:
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
In short, we have no bragging rights. We do have the greatest message in the universe, and the fact that God would use sinners such as us should greatly humble us. As ambassadors to Christ we must bring the message with a life that well represents it and with the greatest of care.
Second, we must also get the starting point right. Note the language Paul used above: “I came to you…proclaiming to you…among you…I was with you…”
In other words, Paul valued being among people, getting to know people, identifying with them and listening (1 Cor. 9:20-22).
This will help us to know if they require: a) a rudimentary knowledge of God to the ignorant; b) the Law and thunders of Sinai to the arrogant and proud; c) grace/forgiveness to seekers; or d) gentle persuasions to the young and tender hearted.
A canned approach never works!
Conclusion: In evangelism we all have a long ways to go. But we should be encouraged. We do not have to be experts, nor attend Bible School, nor be theologically trained. But we must be willing to be used of God and like Isaiah be willing to say: “Lord, here am I…. send me” (Is. 6:8). Ultimately it is all of God and all of grace that he saves sinners. But if we are willing and able and available to be used, we will be surprised how opportunities will show up on our door step.
Ben Stafford is the Director of Short-Term Ministries, overseeing the logistics and vision of all the short-term trips as well as representing TLI to students, teachers, and other organizations. Before joining TLI, Ben was the Director of Programs at the Foundation for Economic Education where he oversaw the educational events geared towards high school and college students. His work primarily involved strategic planning, managing, and measuring the department’s resources and results, bringing the programs department to a new level. Previously, he worked as a research intern for two summers at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. He still teaches students of all ages about business and economics on the side.
Ben graduated in 2008 from Hillsdale College with a degree with Economics. He enjoys real food, barefoot runs, playing classical guitar, climbing mountains, and international travel. More than all these, he echoes the sentiment of Jonathan Edwards in that God’s purpose for his life is that he have a passion for God’s glory and that he has a passion for his joy in that glory, and that these two are one passion.
He currently resides in Atlanta, GA where he is actively involved with the saints at Perimeter Church.
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