Director of the BGCE Evangelism Initiative offers a guide on where we begin.
We do not take Jesus to anyone. He is already present, at some level, in everyone’s life.
How could it not be so given the omnipresence of God? Furthermore, because He is a God of love, He is near every person you meet, loving and wooing him or her.
We do not go to bring Jesus to anyone; instead, we go to make explicit what He is already doing implicitly.
Jesus Himself said, “The fields are white unto harvest.” The problem is not that people will not respond to Christ, but rather that Christians seem unwilling to go. How can we enter into the work that God is doing already?
I think we can begin by asking more ‘public’ questions: What is your name? Are you from here? Listen to the answers, and in those answers come permission to ask new questions based on the information that is given. Let me share a few examples.
Not long ago, circumstances put me alongside a man in Chicago. I asked him, “What’s your name?” He answered, “Peter.” I asked, “Peter, are you from Chicago?”
These were public questions, unthreatening and neighborly.
Under my breath, I whispered a prayer for Peter that I might enter into God’s love for him and that I might listen well. Peter said, “No, I was born and raised in Albuquerque, but when I was 12, my parents divorced and I moved to Chicago with my mother.”
Peter did not have to confide all of that to me. He could have said, “I grew up in Albuquerque and moved to Chicago when I was 12.” That would have given me plenty of information and with it, permission to inquire further along the lines he disclosed.
If he would have said nothing about the divorce, I would have had enough to ask, “Wow, how was that to …