by John Hailes/ August 11, 2015
One of the biggest challenges I believe church leaders face is being consumed by the Church and losing touch with the world. In following our calling, it’s easy to lose grasp of the primary commission to be a witness to the world. It’s important to remind ourselves that we are Christians before we are pastors.
When I began my first year of ministry I found myself working like crazy. I was young, single, living alone and at times I felt like my life was consumed by church and Christians. I relished the breaks I would get from the “Christian bubble” I had found myself in. These breaks usually came in the form of food.
Of course I often gravitated to one fast food place because of their speedy drive-through and heavenly fries! After a number of visits to their drive-through I began to get to know each of their servers. They would give me free upgrades and some of them opened up to me about their lives. One of the servers, Kardia, even invited me to a party—which I attended, but that’s another story! I’ve given them advice and I’ve been able to share who I am with them.
None have said a salvation prayer, but through my life and a bunch of three-minute conversations through a window I have shared Jesus with them. I honestly believe that the healthiest thing we can do to reach people is to listen more than we talk. We must quit trying to push people over a “finish line” by getting them to say a prayer; we must instead learn to journey with people at their pace.
Here are some simple tips for personal evangelism:
1. Take time away from church and home. You can’t reach people if you never meet people! Work a day in a coffee shop, eat lunch somewhere else, join a club, or get a hobby. In England, the Church is dying because so many Christians are so consumed with going to church that they don’t even know any non-Christians to invite to church!
2. Open your eyes, slow down, and meet people. Be aware that opportunities are around you even in your everyday life if you will take the time! You don’t have to awkwardly walk up to people and ask them if they know Jesus. Get to know people at the gas station, grocery store, school, and cinema. Choose to meet people; i.e. stand in the longest checkout line instead of the empty self-service machine.
3. Make yourself stick out from the crowd. I definitely don’t mean give people a “tract” instead of a tip. Have some personality about yourself, be cheerful, engaging, funny, and make conversation. Try to brighten up people’s gloomy day or you will never make a long-lasting impression!
4. Build routines. Try your best to visit places regularly and at similar times in the week … but don’t be a creep about it! You want to build relationships with people and begin to share Jesus through your lifestyle.
5. Be a credible witness. Ninety percent of being a credible witness is treating people well and showing love. It’s much less about being able to give a clear gospel message. Try taking time to become a credible witness to people with your attitudes and actions before you ever begin witnessing with words!