By Asst Ps Gift Daniel
Last Sunday afternoon, some of our church members had the opportunity to connect with hawkers in the West Coast hawker centre. By and large, most of us had a positive experience with this outreach initiative. One person even managed to strike a conversation and pray with a hawker quickly. This experience helped me realise that we all have the ability to connect with people, sometimes even with strangers, to share our love and the good news.
Personal Evangelism is basically a person sharing their faith one-to-one with another. It is similar to communicating with a friend about the amazing food one had the previous night, although talking about food or a fantastic deal in a restaurant seems much easier and typically far less liable to resistance on the part of the hearer than conversing about religion, particularly in a multi-religious society like Singapore.
Motivation for evangelism is undoubtedly the precursor for outreach. Personal outreach is motivated by God's great compassion and love for us while we were sinners. In John 1:39, Jesus responded to a question from Andrew regarding where Jesus was staying by saying, "come and see". Each time we do personal outreach, we are essentially doing the same thing - inviting our friends to come and see what God has done in our lives. Someone once said that we are evangelising all the time through our lives. The truth of the matter is that if we are zealous about something, we would not refrain from speaking about it. We would invite others to experience that said thing, and the joy which compels us to share with others to be unrelenting.
One does not require a theological degree, hyper spirituality, nor eloquence to do personal outreach. Little things can pave the way for gospel conversations, for instance, sharing our faith over coffee or food. Below are some pointers that could help us be more intentional in our journey of sharing Jesus with others.
1. Pray for pre-believers
Prayer prepares our hearts and minds to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. When I continually pray for a person's salvation and subsequently meet them for a meal, I automatically see our conversation being led in a spiritual direction. There is an awakened sense of guidance from God and an eagerness to steer the conversation towards spiritual things when interacting with a pre-believer, if one has first done so prayerfully. D.L. Moody rightly said, "We must talk to God about people before we talk to people about God."
Suggestion: List down 2 or 3 friends you want to share the Gospel with this year. Share this list with another member of our church and pray regularly for them.
2. Keep a regular devotional time
A regular personal devotional life enhances our evangelistic pulse. Why is it that in a faith community, there are varying degrees of enthusiasm towards evangelism? Some of us may have been hot (always ready to share), others, cold (not ready to share at all) and still others, somewhere in the middle. Our spiritual pulse impacts how we live and interact with those far from God. It is my personal conviction that if one fails to continually dwell in the truth of God's love, one will seldom witness the work of God in their life. And when one is not aware of the work of God in their own life, it is harder to share the work of God with others, especially in a changing world which wants to know how the gospel is personally relevant to them.
Suggestion: Cultivate a regular devotional life.
3. Discern the spiritual needs in others
One of the challenges of sharing God's story with others is that we often do not have the patience to listen to the stories of our non-Christian friends and identify their spiritual hungers. When we are inattentive to the spiritual needs of those around us, we cannot engage in evangelistic conversations with them. There are spiritually thirsty people all around us whom we pass by each day. Let us pray that the Lord will bring these spiritually thirsty people to our attention and that we may lead them to the water of life.
Suggestion: Pray for increased sensitivity to people's spiritual needs in our offices, schools, and marketplaces.
4. Make space in your life for spiritual conversations
Last but not least, one of the significant challenges for many busy Singaporeans is the lack of space to hold any spiritual conversation in our day-to-day lives. Personally, I must admit I have not been intentional in making space for evangelistic discussions most days. Often, I get so busy accomplishing a task that I have less time to engage anyone in spiritual conversations. Even when travelling in a taxi, I check my phone most of the time and hardly engage the taxi driver in conversation. In the New Testament, Philip made space in his life and was led to a spontaneous spiritual conversation with a eunuch (Acts 8:26-40).
Suggestion: Create some space and leave some margins in your day-to-day schedule for a spiritual conversation if it pops up randomly but know that God appointed it.
Personal outreach is a journey— a long term endeavour. As a church, we want to help you in this journey. First, we have included a Bible Study on outreach (study 10 in the church’s Bible Study guide) to help you. Second, we are organising an Outreach Equipping course on May 14, 21, 28 and June 4 (more details will be available nearer the date). Third, we will make some personal outreach resources available on our church website for your reference. We also recommend the apps “Share Your Faith” and “GodTools” to help you share your faith with others.
I pray that this year, wherever we are in our personal outreach journey, we will take baby steps in following Jesus to share His love with others. Each time we share the Good News, we share our eternal hope and God’s love with others – this is worth sharing at any cost.