You may well be like me – more committed to the IDEA of evangelism than to actually DOING evangelism. I want to see it happen, but feel most comfortable with others making it happen. Actually, Jesus, the master evangelist, gave his disciples – that includes us – a fairly pain-free strategy for evangelism. I think I can do this! Luke 10: 5-9 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’”
Jesus did not send the disciples to people who most ‘needed to be saved’ or who were the hardest cases they could find. To paraphrase He said, as you go out, bless folks. If you find someone, or a whole town, who responds positively, stick to them. Give them what you’ve got – the good news, healing, the whole works. He goes on to say that if they don’t want to listen to what you have to say, don’t sweat it, move on and keep on the lookout for that ‘Person of Peace’.
God, and only God, does the hard part of evangelism – opening someone’s heart to make it receptive. That really takes the pressure off of you and me to say it just right, to have all the answers, to be sufficiently persuasive. What we need to do is go through our days with our heads up on the lookout for a Person of Peace. Talking with them about the Lord is easy because by definition they are people whose heart the Lord has prepared and they want to hear what we have to say. They are favorably disposed toward us, even willing to buy us a meal!
There is a critical point though. We won’t spot a Person of Peace if we aren’t looking and they won’t receive anything from us if we don’t engage with them. This is way of walking through life as disciples that most of us need to grow in, I know I do. That is why this summer we are opening up the community schedule a bit to allow for time to mix with folks ‘outside the box’ of our normal round of activities. Hopefully we will discover some People of Peace and start on some new Kingdom relationships.
If you have a story to share about how you encountered a Person of Peace, please drop me a line at phil@thewordofGodcommunity.org so that we can encourage one another.