University chaplain and evangelism trainer Rev Dr Ian Robinson reminds us that evangelism is about demonstrating a real faith in a real God in the real world.
Jesus was loved by the people for the way he evangelised. In faith-sharing, we offer seven beautiful gifts to another person.
The single most precious gift we can give is the time to be with another. It can never be made up or paid back. Do you make yourself accessible to the people who need you? Have you gone out of your way to meet people and spend time building understanding and trust?
There is hearing what someone says, and there is listening for what it really means. Do you know that feeling when someone else is really listening to you, meeting you at heart? Do you seek to understand others, to walk in their shoes?
In a world full of people experiencing unworthiness or rejection, find what you can bless and bless it. Almost everyone appreciates being prayed for, even atheists accept it as our best and deepest goodwill. Just ask first—hardly anyone says no.
Of those who come to faith in Jesus, over 80 per cent report that it was due to the life and witness of an ordinary, everyday, garden-variety, don’t-know-all-the-answers Christian. How powerful is the love story of an authentic Christian!
If it takes a whole village to raise one child, then your church is that village. The credible church has a diversity of approaches to their community. Every single preferred approach that I have ever seen has reached someone and offended someone else. Get used to that diversity. It was God’s idea.
1 Peter 3:15 is clear and simple: “singleness of heart, readiness, gentleness and respect”. Everyone deserves respect. Everyone is a sacred site. You may not like their smell, their religion, their sexuality, their politics, but the New Testament is clear that you must communicate your respect for them. Everyone is a gift from God to the planet. It is up to you to uncover that gift.
In Jesus’ life, so much takes place around sharing food. The idea of a “welcome”’ is a description of salvation in John 1:12. Don’t work at being too impressive—it creates distance. Let’s not pretend that we are doing better than we are. Our slender hold on hope is really appreciated by others in their struggles.
Adapted from Burning Hope, available at Trinity Theological Library. In November–December Ian will lead a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Find out more at youngadultspilgrimage2015.yolasite.com