You can teach an old dog new tricks.
For years I’ve hidden behind the excuse that “I’m the world’s worst evangelist.” I was right. But that’s not the point.
1. It’s not about me.
Mission is not about us. It’s about God and what he has done through Christ. It’s about what Jesus continues to do today through us by the power of the Spirit.
No more excuses. God is already at work.
For years I’ve been telling people, “I’m the world’s worst evangelist.” It was an excuse. It was about me, not about what God was doing.
One Sunday afternoon Michelle and I started walking around looking for “persons of peace.” It took half an hour to find our first one. Now we have a thriving ministry to people from all over the globe living on our doorstep. Monday night we’ll baptize three new believers.
I’m still the world’s worst evangelist, but that no longer stops me stepping out in faith to see what God is going to do.
2. Share the gospel—leave the results to God
The gospel of our good deeds is a shadow. The gospel of our church cannot save. The gospel of our political agendas is a distraction. The gospel of our silence is unloving.
The only hope for this lost world is the death and resurrection of Jesus—Christ in us, the hope of glory.
In Organic Outreach, we outline three truths that cast down three myths around evangelism, which are similar to what Steve is saying. We say:
Truth #1 – As the Lord of the Harvest, Jesus Christ is in charge of reaching people not us. (Above – it is not about me.)
Truth #2 – As the Lord of the Harvest, Jesus Christ reaches people through a process not an event. (Above – share the gospel and leave the results to God.) A principle flowing from this truth is “Get involved in the process and leave the results to God.” This is different from what Steve says. Sharing the gospel only focuses on the second stage of the process – Sowing/Sharing Truth. Steve obviously engages in the first stage – Cultivation/Building Relationships – but doesn’t mention this. In my experience, when we don’t talk about this first phase, it devalues the importance of relationships and love as the context for sharing the gospel. These lead to the third truth.
Truth #3 – As the Lord of the Harvest, Jesus Christ uses and values everyone in the process not just the last person in the process. Steve doesn’t mention this one in particular. In my mind, it is critical. Jesus emphasized this truth in John 4:34-38 when talking with his disciples about the process of reaching people. Paul reiterates this in 1Co 3:5-9 when reminding the Corinthians that “What after all is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants through whom you came to believe-as the Lord assigned to each his task.” Servants but also “God’s fellow workers” and rewarded workers at that as “each will be rewarded according to his own labor.”
We live in a culture here in the US that values instantaneous results and those who can deliver them. We don’t value process. We value “deal-closers” not “relationship-builders” or “spiritual-engagers.”
In the face of this pressure, these truths remind me of what God values – people who acknowledge him as the Lord of the Harvest, who engage in the process he has ordained and the role he has assigned, while leaving the results to him.
The fabric of people who are living out these truths is multidimensional – including such incredible guys like Steve.