PASTOR BOB CAVE
For many years, I remember sitting on the street watching the Rose Parade as each float passed by. For many years, after the floats finished, there was a group of well meaning people with bullhorns and signs telling people that they needed to repent, that hell is real, and I don’t remember if they ever said that Jesus loved them, but I hoped they did. This is how many view the word, “evangelism.”
As I have studied scripture and the life of Jesus, I really never encountered that style of sharing our faith. Here are a couple of thoughts as we focus on the “I Love This Place!” theme moving forward.
Here’s what I see as the key to great evangelism: it’s all about intentional relationships.
Jesus demonstrated this throughout his earthly ministry-- it wasn’t about just proclaiming good news to passersby or handing them a Bible, but instead about walking alongside people, spending time in their homes, even touching the ones who were outcasts in society. It was all about relationship.
Jesus, our example, chose to enter into people’s lives and minister to them intentionally. Think about Jesus and Zacchaeus; consider Jesus and Matthew; He hangs with them. He gets comfortable with them. We read that Jesus was “reclining at the table” and reclining with him were his disciples and “many tax collectors and sinners.” God came to be with people.”
What can we learn from Jesus? Jesus came to spend time with people, not just to be a good teacher. It wasn’t enough for Him to share parables and then leave town-He chose to stay in people’s homes, meet their families, break bread with them, get to know them, ask them questions, and be present in their worlds. It’s so easy for us to be distracted by technology and the demands of our culture today, but this is a convicting reminder that we need to work to be fully present and engaged with the people around us. Doesn’t that feel so much more authentic? Doesn't that seem like the kind of evangelism you can do and want to do?
It makes sense that a close, personal friendship would lead to a more meaningful life change than a pamphlet handed out on the street. Ask any Christian to share their testimony, and you're guaranteed to hear the names of influential people who helped introduce them to Jesus or grow their faith. Relationships change our lives.
Our ability to make significant changes in people’s lives, begins with the relationships we have now and new ones we help to create in the future.
Loving Up and Reaching Out have been a couple of thoughts that incorporates both of those thoughts.
I am excited about what God will do these next few months.