When I was in college getting my music ministry degree, one of the required courses was Evangelism 101. In this class, we were required to share the gospel with one person (not another student) every week. For this introverted, shy and quiet person, it was like asking me to get up on a stage in front of millions of people all staring me. My first thought was, “How am I going to get out of this?” followed by “I need this class to graduate!” As a Christian, I believe God when He says we are to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:16-20) and this class was forcing me out of my comfort zone, approach total strangers, and tell them about Jesus!! (It also improved my prayer life.) Thanks, Dr. Jumper!
I’ll admit, the first week I seriously considered writing a work of fiction to turn in as my assignment. Pushing that thought aside, I asked myself what I was really afraid of; embarrassment, harassment, verbal abuse or worse? Okay, so I was afraid of getting tongue tied and embarrassing myself. What if I said something really stupid? So, I armed myself with a little script to help me stay on track while trying to keep my cool. Then I made a plan of attack.
Faith in Action
I would pretend to shop at the local Family Dollar while scoping out unsuspecting female shoppers who I could strike up a conversation. It went something like this.
“Oh, hi!” <big smile> “Are you finding any good sales today?” <still smiling> They would usually politely smile back and then give me a look as if I worked there and was annoying them. Not giving up, I would continue with something like, “Do you go to church anywhere around here?” to which I would get a “yeah” for a response. Still smiling I would respond with, “That’s great! Where?” By this point, I would get the annoyed sigh and some mumbled response while she turned to escape. But sometimes, I would actually engage with her and we would start talking about church, faith, and Jesus. After 16 weeks of this, I got pretty good.
I passed the class and continued with my studies. Do you want to know what changed? Me. I now had a new lifestyle. Wherever I went, I looked for opportunities to talk to someone about church, faith, and Jesus – always inviting them to church. This is a practice I continue to this day. Just last week we hired a plumber to fix our toilet. I chatted with him about the details of the job we hired him to do and some questions we had. As he was finishing up, I asked him if he went to church anywhere. He said he did but not very often. I invited him to church and he said he probably would. The rest is up to the Holy Spirit – not me.
Bob and I went out to dinner this weekend to celebrate our 25thanniversary and our server went above and beyond to make it special for us. As we were leaving I handed her a church business card and asked her if she went to church anywhere. She said yes with a big smile. I told her about our church and invited her to join us sometime.
Invite Your One
The point is, preparation, practice, and prayer will help you overcome any fear or insecurities you may have sharing your faith or even just inviting someone to church. If you are not in the practice of inviting people to church, try it and you may be surprised how not scary it is and how often people say yes. They’re just waiting for the invitation.
#SharetheLove this week and invite someone to church with you. It doesn’t have to be a total stranger – maybe your neighbor, a family member or a friend to make it easy the first time. If we are to make disciples of all nations, it has to start in our own backyards.