“We need to reach out into our community.”
Ok…lets get a big group together and do a service project. After all, we could volunteer for a couple of hours then go home…get back to our regular routines.
There is no doubt a service project can do good for your community and the people you serve. Yet, when Jesus said “go and make disciples”, He wasn’t talking about an occasional group project, but a personal lifestyle of sharing the gospel and helping people to grow in their faith. Think about “the Samaritan woman who ran back to the city and told people about Jesus (John 4) or when Jesus sent the twelve out in pairs to proclaim the kingdom of God (Mark 6).
Reaching my community means going out on my own and sharing the gospel…scary thought!
Jeff Iorg, in his book, Unscripted, explains it this way,
“evangelism is about connecting people to Jesus and connecting Jesus with your community—spontaneously, joyfully and honestly.”
How do I connect people to Jesus? Do I need to memorize a “gospel presentation” and knock on doors or stand on the street corner and talk to anyone who will listen…not sure I want to do that!
You might find memorizing a gospel presentation helpful, although this is not about making “cold-calls” to strangers. Instead, there is a way to connect people to Jesus, while doing something you really enjoy. Iorg suggests we “share the gospel in the most natural setting possible—among people who share your interests, passions, or activities.”
Five Step Infiltration Strategy
Iorg recommends implementing a strategy of getting involved in the community that leads to opportunities to the share the gospel.
1. What hobby or volunteer activity you enjoy doing or would like to do if you had the time? Is it…reading, quilting, painting, running, or helping children, youth, seniors, or something entirely different?
2. Do it…join a community group, like a book club, quilt guild, running group or volunteer in a community program at a school, hospital, senior care home or shelter.
3. Lets say you are out there in the community. Look around and start to notice who is there. As you notice the people, pray specifically for God to work in their lives. Also, pray that God would provide opportunities for you to share the gospel.
4. Next, begin to engage one person or a few people in conversations that move beyond what is needed for the activity. Ask personal questions about their family, pets, or job. Or ask goal questions like…what do you dream of doing or where would you like to visit. Then listen and respond with genuine interest and concern. Be alert for opportunities to share the gospel and tell how your faith has impacted your life. Iorg goes on to point out that, “Witnessing is an unscripted dialogue, sometimes an ongoing dialogue with bits and parts of the gospel shared over time.”
5. Finally, continue to be involved and work on building relationships. Keep praying and ask if you can pray with them. Be available to help out with a need they have; invite them over for a meal. Live out your faith before them, as authentically as possible. It could just be that your friendship is what God uses to bring them to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ and help them grow in their faith.