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Practical Pastoring, Book Four: Evangelism

 

Last updated 3/24/2017 at 11:30am



The Lord does order the steps of a righteous man. The field of evangelism is another area where you and I have to trust the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. Speak the truth in love and allow the seeds we sow to eventually produce fruit.

The Bible teaches that all who win souls are wise. There are moments when I question the wisdom of those who attempt to win souls for Christ. Observing a street evangelist screaming at people or witnessing a long time church attendee living a soiled life while condemning others does give one pause.

We will all make mistakes in our Christian walk. Sometimes we will say too much and at other times we may lack the courage to sow seeds in others’ lives. God is patient and long-suffering with the lost and with those learning to be true spiritual believers. I am thankful for God’s patience with me. I recognize that but for His grace I could easily be running from God or acting as a carnal Christian.

Jesus was angered by some religious people. You and I should be so in tune with the Holy Spirit that we say what God wants us to say and we live how He shows us to live. We will encounter trouble along the way, because we are in the world. We are not of the world; our home is in heaven and we are simply foreigners who are passing through the world.

Focus on your relationship with God and allow the Holy Spirit to direct your day. You may have a burden for a particular loved one who is not a believer. Pray for the person; serve the person; love the person. But, understand you cannot save the person. Jesus is the One who can save a sinner. He gave His life for you and me while we were yet sinners. His Father is patient because His desire is that none should perish. If we are concerned about the return of Jesus, then perhaps we should be concerned about the kingdom of God now.

The Bible teaches that the kingdom is not about eating and drinking but about righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Lost people may appear to be having fun, but they do not possess the righteousness that is from God, the peace that passes all understanding, nor the joy of the Lord which is our strength as believers.

Rather than standing on a street corner and screaming that people are condemned to hell, I attempt to build relationships with those whom the Lord would have me spend my time. Relationships work well for discipleship and for evangelism. You have 24 hours each day. Rather than attempting to do and be everything, you should obtain your daily marching orders from the Holy Spirit. Allow God to spend your life as He sees fit.

The Bible has great stories about men and women of God. Many offered their lives in the service of others. Paul was a prisoner, because of the gospel he preached. Daniel was thrown into a lion’s den, because he prayed to God. Joseph was locked in prison, because he refused to sin against God. Anna was able to see Jesus, because she never left the temple but worshiped, fasted, and prayed.

Even though our names are not written in the Bible, as believers our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. When we became believers, our names were entered into this book.

Because of what Jesus has done for us, shouldn’t we desire to lead others into a saving relationship with Him? Shouldn’t we want others to grow up and become mature believers in Christ? We can help to see His kingdom come by allowing the King to order our steps.

In my time studying the New Testament, I have encountered only a few evangelists. If the church concentrated on discipleship, perhaps we would see a more mature group of believers making up the body of Christ.

One local salesman taught me to “undersell and over deliver.” I have attempted to teach the flock at the Ark Church the same thing. Do not make up wonderful stories about how great everything is once someone puts his or her faith in Jesus. The truth is that in this world, each of us will have problems. Jesus has overcome and so can we.

We overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. The New Testament teaches us to submit to God and resist the devil. Salvation is easy, because it cost God so much. God gave His last best gift, Jesus, to us while we were yet sinners. Now what are we going to do with God’s gift of salvation? Let us spend our lives obeying God and leaving the consequences to Him.

Pray and ask God how He wants you to live. The Bible teaches us that He determines the exact places where we should live. Ask God where He wants you to live. Ask Him what He wants you to do. Ask Him for direction and clarity. Ask Him to bring into your life those people He wants in your life. Ask Him to give you the exact words to speak when you are ministering to others.

As God is discipling you through mentors, do not become discouraged when you recognize the amount of work He needs to perform in you. When you are being used to disciple others, exercise patience and wisdom. I remember the conclusion of my sophomore basketball season. I had played half of a game and done well. I went to my coach and asked him what I needed to work on in the off-season. He replied, “Well, to tell you the truth, everything.”

God is interested in everything and in every detail of our lives. Do not wait until you think you are perfect to begin to witness or disciple others. Be on the playing field rather than in the stands. God may use you to produce lasting fruit that will bring Him glory. Do not become discouraged. Continue to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.

——

Kevin Barsotti, Ark Church

This article is part of Practical Pastoring: Mentoring Growth Letters from a Senior Pastor to a New Pastor, Book Four. The author responds to his pastor’s letters to him from twenty years ago when he began his pastoral journey.

 

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