Thursday, March 15, 2007

When was the last time you shared Christ?

Seriously, when was it? Yesterday? Last week? Last month? Last year? Last decade? Never? Maybe you're scared to death to share your faith and don't have any idea how to do it.

Enter Alan Peek. . . http://gospelofjesuschrist.mypodcast.com/

(Click on the play arrow at the top of each post!)

Allen Peek is a guy with a super long goatee (Allen, you didn't shave it, did you?) who's been attending Grace for 6 months or so. Last week he sent me this podcast of his evangelism encounters. You gotta listen to the way he engages Mark in front of Starbucks in Grover Beach and Nick in Pismo Beach.

He's warm, engaging, conversational and yet oh so Biblical. He's relaxed. He connects. He knows his Bible. He gently presents the Law of God which reveals sin and then moves toward the Cross. Allen has got some skills and probably some giftedness in the area of evangelism, but I'm convinced any Christian can do this with a bit of training.

Let me say it again. . . YOU CAN DO THIS!

I'm motivated and challenged by Allen, aren't you?

We're working on an evangelism training seminar. Get ready. Stay tuned.

7 comments:

Jeannett Gibson said...

I only got a chance to listen to the first one, but it was AWESOME! Great job Allen! It's amazing how the guy just ate it up and kept talking and talking...

I stink at evangalism. I'm always afraid that I don't know the Bible enough and couldn't answer the tough questions. So, I hardly do it.

royjmcc said...

Allens style reminds me of actor Chris Cameron and his street evangelism, very good! I too have trouble of starting things off evangelizing but I try to take advantage of any opportunity the Lord lays in my lap. When was the last time you witnessed to a total stranger on the street Tim?

Pastor Tim Theule said...

Great question, Roy. Its been awhile. That last time I shared Christ with a perfect stranger was on a plane to Oregon this last Summer. Even that wasn't completely "off the street" since we had time to develop a bit of a relationship.

I used to do a fair amount of "cold turkey" evangelism back in college with Campus Crusade. I saw great fruit from going door to door and street evangelism. I think there is a definite place for this, as Allen clearly demonstrates. But it can also be rough. I'm dying to know how many people Allen approached before he got a guy to talk with him and allow him to record!

I think most of us are naturally more comfortable with "relational evangelism," but I think that Allen's approach is equally if not even more applicable with people we know. Relational evangelism is, in some ways, much harder (and slower) because your whole life is on display and you must try and preserve a relationship with the person that hopefully will lead to future conversations.

I have the privilege of sharing the Gospel every Sunday, through email and with folks who come to my office. Its been an exciting year in seeing many people come to Christ through these encounters. There is nothing more exhilarating! I also am trying to slowly evangelize my 80 year old neighbor, my barber and others in my circle of influence.

As a pastor, I find that things are prety "front loaded" with people. Its out there. People are often defensive and guarded before I say anything else. They expect me to try and convert them. So I try to relate with folks from a different angle and try and demonstrate I'm really a normal person who happens to have Jesus at the center of my life. I try and show them love and care.

Because I believe that God is sovereign in salvation it gives me great hope in evangelism, but also causes me to relax a bit.

In some ways, evangelism was easier when I was parking cars at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Newport Beach. I was just a beach bum in shorts, so I had the element of surprise.

Like I said, Allen has challenged me to go for it more.

Thanks for asking, Roy. BTW, do you attend Grace or are you an interested reader? Either way, welcome to Grace!

Allen Peek said...

Be encouraged Jeannette! Get yourself equip to share the Gospel. It isn’t that difficult – just purpose yourself to be trained. I used to have the same fears (they still nag me) but God has provided us with great tools to aid us in this awesome work.

Gospel tracts (like the million dollar bill) provide a great, light-hearted way to break into the spiritual conversation. You’ll have people ask you for more. Keep tracts with you all the time.

God’s Law – the Ten Commandments, when communicated with compassion and understanding, speaks to the conscience of the person, bringing about the knowledge of sin and guilt before a Holy, Righteous, and Just God. Very seldom will you be engaged in the intellect (Evolution, deep theology, etc.) because God has provided this great tool to circumvent the intellect and speak to the conscience.

Death – share your concern with them that death will cease each of us. And it’s appointed for man to die once and then the judgment. Speak of future punishment – Hell.

The Gospel – I heard once: “the Law breaks the hard heart and the Gospel heals the broken heart.” By the time you share the Good News – you may see a smile break across the face of the individual that is feeling the weight of the Law, God’s Judgment, and future punishment. Grace becomes amazing! It makes sense to them for the first time. ‘Oh! That’s why Jesus died!’ There are so many that have never heard this glorious message - let’s not keep it to ourselves (Mark 16:15)

You can do it Jeannette! Get equipped, face your fears and trust the Lord God who desires that all men be saved.

Attend the evangelism seminar that Pastor Tim spoke of…

Every Sunday afternoon at 3PM a group of us (3-5 people) meet at Pismo Pier to share the Gospel. We do open-air, one-2-one conversations and pray much. If you’re not ready to speak, you can tag along and be a “fly on the wall” and learn. Your welcome to come…

GoWoCo said...

Great blog entry and comments!

I think it's a great idea, and it's never as scary or as intimidating as you think. I never got injured sharing the gospel. :O)

At one point sharing the gospel on the beach and city - the biggest lesson I've learned from eight years of street evangelism is: let God lead. It's always needed to have verses and an outline of what you share, but you will be thrown off once in awhile.

One time I was sharing with this girl, and she fired back, "I was molested at eight years old, you still have something to share?" Boy, do you need the Lord's help!

I always ask what does the Lord wanted, and ended up listening and tailoring the entire gospel to where that girl was. We ended up praying, but what an opportunity! Instead of worrying how you sound, or what to say - you have to have God's spirit and the heart of Jesus to see past your own weakness and realize the opportunity you have.

***

The easiest and best experience of sharing Christ was right after the Passion of Christ came out. I brought John Piper's "Passion of Christ" to Starbucks and sat down with a stack of books and started to read my copy. The response was overwhelming! I had a girl leave her boyfriend at the counter to talk to me and take a book, a man and I chatted for two hours about life and death and on a business trip (doing the same thing) I had a professional gambler ask me about the book (he ended up taking a book for himself and mom).

Take the class, and you'll find some awesome experiences sharing Christ!!

Anonymous said...

HELP 4 fearful ones ~
from AMY*~*LYNNE

I have a word of encouragement for Jeannett and others (myself included) who are fearful about witnessing.

When I came to CHRIST, the visible process started with a friend who made a remarkable change in her life. I was grateful and curious all at the same time. I was grateful as the change enhanced her life. I was curious becaus I could not understand how she was able to make such a dramatic change.

In answer to what helped her make the change, she had only two words. I mean this literally. She couldn't explain the Gospel, quote even one Scripture or answer ANY of my "important" questions. But those two words started me on a search to understand those two words. Wonder what those two words were? I'll tell you the truth, in hopes that these words will help take away the fear of witnessing! They were "JESUS CHRIST" and that was the sum total of her remarkable testimony.

I thought I understood "JESUS CHRIST" better than my friend. After all I'd been raised in a church and she had not. Nevertheless there was remarkable evidence that my friend knew something I did NOT understand about JESUS. I had to find out what about her "JESUS CHRIST" could totally transform my dear friend's life. I had to know what she knew about JESUS CHRIST that obviously I did not know (even though I could quote a few verses)!

In short, the quest to understand her transformed life, I came to full faith in the power of the Risen LORD and Savior, JESUS CHRIST!

We do not need to answer tricky questions in order to be an effective witness! As I look back on the testimony of my friend, I observe two important things. Her LIFE and her confession that Who makes a difference is JESUS. That's it! She did it in only two words "JESUS CHRIST" and it was backed up with her life!

And her testimony continues on today. I'll ask her permission to say more. Until then, take courage those of us who wish to witness but are fearful (I include myself in this camp!). Two words and a life that has been changed in some way by HIM are all it takes. Two words! Of course, some of may need only one word, JESUS.

When are we having the seminar on evangelism? I want to learn. One who practices evangelism is MARK Case. Let's include him in the seminar, if he's willing. Are you ready, MARK? Let's include him in the seminar, if he's willing. Are you ready, MARK?

I also suggest sharing our own witnessing experiences – the good, bad and ugly. I have one ugly one. But it encourages me to be a better witness today than I was on my "ugly" day.

Let us “encourage one another to love and good works and all the more as we see The Day approaching.”

Amy*~*Lynne
3-19-07
*

Tim Weaver said...

OK, confession time. I have not done street evangelism for about 5 years. I think it has been about a year since I shared the Gospel with a total stranger and I have only shared the Gospel with 2 or 3 others in the last year.

Allen, thanks for inspiring me. I need it.

Here are my thoughts from my experiences doing street evangelism:

You'll never have all of the answers, so don't try to. Know-it-alls aren't fun to be around anyway. If you are like me, you'll be scared to death. My worst scenario was getting cussed out. Oh well, life goes on.
Be kind
Be humble
Most people hear the Gospel more than once before they act on it.
It's the Lord's job to save them and He is VERY capable.
Let the joy of the Lord find your face.