I love my friend Nolan. Over the past twelve months, he’s been grappling with the calling to be an evangelist. And he’s been asking me questions. To be honest, I have little clear idea about how to be an evangelist, in this culture, in a winsome way. There’s been such a turning away from Christ, and such a distaste (often justified) for how outreach has been pursued, and so few solid practitioners training a young generation, that it makes the whole venture a great big risky unknown.
My commitment is that the whole church is called to the work of evangelism (Matt 28:19-20) and that there are some who are specifically gifted to the Church as evangelists who should be helping equip the body of Christ (Eph. 4:11-12). My inkling is that my friend is experiencing a call to the latter.
So what’s the best way to learn, when there’s no clear teacher around? Immersion, of course! In at the deep end. I volunteered to head out with Nolan, and we’ve been out three times now.
No sandwich boards. No tracts. No megaphones. Instead, we’ve been armed with what were dubbed on our last venture as “coffee grenades.” We prayed before our first trip and felt like Jesus wanted us to take coffee from The Flying M and deliver it to students at NNU, and offer prayer to any who wanted it. The first time out we were anxious, awkward, but still managed to engage with some people. Jesus is good.
The second trip, we did not have coffee. It was even more awkward, and we learned a lesson.
But this third time, again armed with coffee, we experienced so many sweet encounters. Bringing a blessing ahead of the blessing really opens the door to love people and serve them. We’d offer coffee, and when people wanted coffee and stopped to chat, they’d open up about life, and their needs. With guards down, and truth out there, we were able to speak the love of God in Christ over them. Coffee grenades blowing up left and right.
My exhortation to you is this – who has God laid on your heart to reach in your community? The students at NNU are in my thoughts and prayers and I consider them a people I am sent to in this season. Once you know who God wants you to reach with His love, then what are their needs? Now go and meet those needs, and minister the love of God in prayer. It’s evangelism for the rest of us. It’s simple (painfully so) and beautiful when we see Jesus move (profoundly so). And take a friend along. It’s friendlier with two, as a wise bear once said.