I am privileged to have Ed Waken, an evangelist, write this outstanding post on evangelism. What could happen if we didn’t view spreading the good news as a chore, a somewhat socially embarrassing spiritual duty to be performed, but instead an adventure with Jesus. You can read part 1 of this post here. Ed is a leader in a network of organic churches in Phoenix, AZ, and works closely with Neil Cole in CMA.
The church needs to rediscover what has been stolen from them. We need to give back the cold, distanced and dutiful methodologies of evangelism for the more adventurous, risky and romantic renditions that only Jesus can create and place in our souls. The church needs some fresh adventures in understanding how serious Jesus is at getting the message into the souls of people. When we think about engaging people with the truth we should capture the understanding that Jesus is a customizer of methods, not a cookie cutter.
Jesus will take a believer with all their experiences and fears and have them cross the paths of not-yet-believing people who are a perfect fit for the customized approach Jesus gives the believer, at the perfect time. This requires trust and obedience but it is exactly what Jesus promised. Jesus said He will give us the right words at the right time, every time (Luke 21:13-15). This takes the level of our faith and evangelism to a whole new meaning of adventure.
I can count fifteen people who shared Jesus with me in some form or fashion before Ralph shared the same truth with me and my life was transformed radically. Who was more important in my choosing to follow Jesus, the fifteen or Ralph? Was Ralph more gifted or skilled or persuasive than the others? Did Ralph ‘close the deal‘ because he has an anointing? I believe that all sixteen of those who told me about Jesus are equally vital to my process of turning to Jesus. All salvation experiences are mysterious. Some are dramatic, some are mundane, others cannot be marked by an event. Salvation is always a supernatural event where the God of the universe enters the life of a human being permanently. When the rich young ruler heard what was required by Jesus to gain eternal life, he became very sad. Jesus’ disciples asked him if a rich man can’t be saved “…then who can be saved?”. Jesus answered, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” (Luke 18:18-27).
Enjoy the freedom of not knowing what God is doing in a soul – enjoy the mystery. Be assured, however, that God is doing something in the souls of those with whom you share His truth. Trust in His God perfect and powerful ability to draw people to repentance in the way they need. Obediently follow His lead, even when it doesn’t make sense because most mysteries do not make sense.
The bottom line regarding evangelism is to enjoy it (weird huh?). Jesus is an artist of the soul. He created you specifically to engage the people He brings in your life with His truth. Enjoy His adjusting the delivery of the message to fit the current need of the one listening to your words.
If we learn to enjoy sharing the life of Jesus with others as He leads us, we will most assuredly share that life more often and with more passion. The Scriptures teach that the more we sow, the more we will reap. The power behind people coming to Jesus is not in any delivery, method or medium. The power behind people coming to Jesus is always in message (Rom. 1:16) so give away the message often and with joy and enjoy watching God at work.
 God can, has and will continue to use a more formal, methodological approach to giving out the Gospel. It is not wrong to do so; however, it has robbed the fun of spiritual reproduction from the ordinary believer. The giving out of the Word will never return without an effect on the one hearing the truth.
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One reply on “Guest post by Ed Waken (part 2) The truth, adventure and mystery of evangelism”
I like what you have written here, Ed. Both parts 1 and 2. We so quickly formalise everything, make lists, develop methods, and measure the results.
But you are saying that spontaneity, fun, and taking risks is more fundamental and effective and is for everyone. You are right! And not only in terms of sharing the good news about Jesus but in every aspect of church life.
Jesus says that he came to give us life, more abundant life. All we have to do is live that life he gave us! So everyone – just go for it 🙂
Just as I wrote that last sentence I was given a picture of a little child waiting to get on a roller coaster, there were two seats left but he was afraid to climb in. And then his Dad took him by the hand and said, ‘Don’t worry, I’m coming on the ride too.’
So whether you are six or ninety-six it’s time to go. Don’t waste another minute through anxiety. Step into your seat and let the adventure begin. Dad’s coming with you.