The Evangelism Board

I’m on the Evangelism Board at my church. Have been for a year. I was quite surprised when I was asked. And quite resistant. It’s not that I don’t believe in telling people about Jesus. It’s that, despite my years, I am still pretty good at being a wallflower, and evangelists, in my mind, are those people who find it easy to witness, those who go out and solicit people to talk to. And that’s not me.

I even asked my pastor why he asked me to be on the board. I told him what I just told you. And he told me that he had prayerfully considered me and knew that I had a heart for missions. Which I do. And because I trust him as a man of God, trust that the Holy Spirit did inform him of some ability I have of which I am TOTALLY unaware, I accepted the position.

The experience I have had on this board is not unlike what I have had when we belonged to a different church. Some people accept the position but never come to the meetings. Some people come to the meetings and give input. A very few do the work. And I suppose I feel guilty. I am somewhere between the input and the work. I do a little of both.

We are organizing another Friend Day for our church, and the pastor looked across the table at me and asked how I thought we could encourage our parishioners to ask their friends to church. My tongue would NOT move. I have asked people to church before, but it is hard to know when enough is enough. Sometimes they lose patience with you if you ask three or four times. Maybe the next time would be the one that would get them there. Or maybe it will be the one that makes them think that you are a pushy “Bible thumper” and turns them off forever. I never know.

The pastor said that we should think in terms of eternity for our friends. You know what I mean. If I don’t invite them to church, will anyone else? And if they don’t hear the plan of salvation, where will they be when they die? And what part will I have played in that? I do think in terms of that, mostly out of frustration for the things that I can’t say in school.

The best I can do is to enter the conversation when church or the Bible are brought up. Kids will ask me sometimes if I go to church. “Sure,” I reply. “Just about every Sunday.”

Or they will get angry because a piece of literature, say maybe HUCK FINN, brings up a Bible story. “I thought they weren’t supposed to teach that in school,” they will say.

“Well,” I say. “They are merely mentioning the stories in the Bible. For a long time, the Bible was the book that everyone had read, so everyone knew those stories.”

“Did they believe them?” they will ask. “We sure don’t. They’re stupid, anyway.”

“I believe them,” I answer. And that’s as far as it goes.

So. I feel guilty. I am not doing my part in bringing in the crops from those fields which are “ripe for harvest”(John 4:35). And hasn’t my Lord commissioned all of us, me included, to do just that? That’s the way I felt when I left the meeting this evening. That’s the way I often feel. I go because the pastor said he prayed about my being there. So did I.

And then I got to talking to the wife of the board chairman. Her husband is currently looking for a new job, and the opportunity which looks most promising will take them from Indiana to Iowa. Just a little jaunt. They ‘ve only been here two years. I asked how things were going, and then I asked if SHE felt comfortable witnessing. She’s a social worker; I figured maybe she had some insight into human nature that I didn’t have.

She has not always been Lutheran, and she thought that going out and “evangelizing” in the sense that most people think of it, the kind where you go knock on the doors of people that you don’t know or approach people at the grocery store, is something that probably comes hard to most Lutherans. I would tend to agree. I have often said that I am a Christian who goes to a Lutheran church, but maybe there is more in that background that works against me than I thought.

We continued talking, though, and she said she shared my frustration with how to share her faith at work. She said she clears it with her employers that she can bring up the Word of God, mention the name of Jesus, if anyone opens the door. But she had better make sure that door is open. Then she said, “But I try not to feel too guilty about that.”

Guilty? Really? Had she heard what I was thinking? Or was this particular conversation, like so many other things in my life, happening because God had heard me? I tend to think the latter.

She put her arm around me and said, “Our world is so closed off from human contact. And not everyone has the gift. Just pray that God will open your eyes when there is an open door. And maybe add a sentence or two to what you have said, something that will get the name of Jesus in there. That’s all any of us can do, I think. Pray to be open to the opportunity.”

Yeah. Now I know the Holy Spirit orchestrated that conversation. I do believe I have heard those words before. I Peter 3:15 says:

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…

Scripture says that I should be ready with an answer. I don’t have to feel guilty. I pray for myself and for those of you who may feel like I have about witnessing, that we will have the eyes to see and the ears to hear the people who are asking the question.


2 Responses to “The Evangelism Board”

  1. 1 Tena August 18, 2006 at 5:18 pm

    Becky, I admire your honesty, very much. I agree, telling people about Jesus is not easy. I feel ashamed when I think that because, He is the most important thing in my life. I think I’m afraid of rejection (which is ridiculous) or looking silly (which is pride).

    Three things I thought to tell you when I read your post:

    ONE-I’ve been praying and asking God to give me a burden for the lost. I’ve been asking Him to help me see people through HIS eyeswhen I look at them. To help me have compassion on them the way HE did when He walked the earth. To help me realize that *I* might be the only one who will tell them, and if I don’t they may not hear. God has been answering my prayers. I have been a lot more soul-conscience lately.

    TWO-The more you do it, the easier it becomes. The more you talk to people about Jesus, the more you’ll feel comfortable. Like anything else, when you do something over and over again, it gets easier (like a habit).

    THREE-The door can open when people start to tell you their problems. For example: “My son is doing bad in school…” or “I lost my job…” or “My mom went to the doctor and got bad news…” Then we can say to them, “Jesus cares and He wants to help you. Can I pray with you about it?” or something else that God brings to your mind at the moment. You can even offer to pray with them right then.

    Sorry this is so long-I got on a roll. 🙂 Hope it helps a little.
    God bless and have a great day!

  2. 2 Becky August 19, 2006 at 1:20 am

    It DOES help, Tena. Thank you.

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