Friday, September 11, 2009

Show and Tell: Prayer

This "Show and Tell" series is all about evangelism and junior high ministry.

I recall attending an evangelism training week for high school students when I was a freshman in high school. Part of the training involved street evangelism, which meant asking people if they'd like to take a survey about church, then trying to foster a spiritual conversation based on their answer. We'd approach someone at the beach, ask them about what they thought about Jesus, then try to find ways to present the Gospel message. Looking back on it now, I'm not sure that the bait-and-switch was the best model of evangelism. We seemed to be approaching it the wrong way. I don't recall praying or seeking out local churches to connect new followers of Jesus; it was all about getting someone to accept Christ through the survey. It became less about what God was doing and more about trying to make converts in the most efficient way possible.

Go through the book of Acts and highlight every time the Holy Spirit is present and moving. The book title should be changed from The Acts of the Apostles to The Acts of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles. From Peter's sermon in Acts 2, to Stephen's martyrdom in Acts 7, to the Jerusalem council of Acts 15 to the final days of Paul in Rome in Acts 28, the early church was defined by reliance upon the Holy Spirit for guidance and strength. They weren't really focused on being efficient and simple; they were focused on being loving and living out the truth of the Gospel in all its messiness and beauty.

Maybe evangelism isn't supposed to start with creating a four-point plan of attack, but with a deep reliance on God through prayer. Maybe instead of starting with strategies, we start on our knees. Evangelism isn't doing God's work for Him, as if He needed our help. Evangelism is partnering with God with the work He's already doing in the people around us, asking God to work through us as we come along for the ride. That can only begin if we're seeking Him through pray and reflection.

Sharing the Gospel begins and ends with prayer--for ourselves to see what God is doing and for the people around us who need to hear the good news of the kingdom of God.

No comments:

Post a Comment