The Bridge-New Shoes
Posted on April 30, 2010 by under Outreach and Missions,

Last Wednesday at the evangelism seminar, I made a bold statement.  Not necessarily bold for the church, but bold for my own life.  I said that the problem with spiritual gift tests is that it gives us an excuse not to do what we are not gifted in.  Evangelism is not one of my top 3 spiritual gifts.  For years I have said I would leave evangelism to those who are gifted and I would teach the basics (remember, those who can’t, teach)!  The true understanding of Spiritual Gifts is that those are the places where things come naturally for an individual.   They are not the places we get a “get out of jail free card.”

For example, we talk about the spiritual gift of faith.  Does that mean those of us who do not score high in faith have none.  Of course not!  Does not having the spiritual gift of hospitality mean that we should not be hospitable servants to our church, family or neighbors?  Of course not!  Why do I think that just because evangelism doesn’t come easy to me it means that I don’t have to do it?

The truth is, the last thing Jesus charged us with (Matthew 28) was to go into the world and make disciples of all nations and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  This is a charge to us all.  The question is, “Are we going to accept that charge?”

Evangelism is scary.  Will I know what to say?  Will I have the answers?  Won’t I make a fool of myself?  What if people don’t like me?  Well, the answer is you will NOT always know what to say, you will NOT have all the answers, you WILL make a fool of yourself and some people may NOT like you.  But here is the challenge I received on Wednesday.  “Mark, when you don’t share the gift of grace I have given you with people who need it, you are wasting my grace.” 

If I want to run a marathon, I need to train.  I buy a new pair of running shoes and I start small and build up.  I practice.  I study.  I try.  I fail.  But I need to learn how to run a marathon and then I need to start working on it.  So it is with evangelism.  If it does not come natural, then I need to train myself and then do it.  Like running, the more miles you put in the easier the run.

From now until next Easter we are going to offer an evangelism “events” for the congregation to live into (if you want to help lead these, let me know!).  This quarter we have a seminar which we will joyfully offer again if people feel the push and ask.  In the fall we are looking to offer another Alpha program where you can bring your friends.  We are also talking about social events, mission experiences and discipling opportunities to provide you with a safe place to bring those with whom you are trying to share the grace of Christ.  The Spirit is leading this one, so bring your ideas!

The Bottom Line:   You need to decide if you are going to waste God’s grace and then you need to go out and put at least a mile walk on your new marathon shoes.