So, let’s get started. We are continuing our series “Unscripted”. This week we are in week 4 “It is about People not places”.
One of the most commonly misunderstood insights from Paul’s testimony relates to the objective of his evangelistic activities. Believers often equate sharing the gospel with going somewhere to connect with strangers. Whether it’s door-to-door cold-calling or a mission’s trip to another country, we often think the “out there” people are those we should prioritize reaching with the gospel. Strangers you haven’t met and people in distant lands do need the gospel. But for most believers, their best personal evangelism is with people they already know, and they are uniquely suited to reach. Your conversations about Jesus are most likely to happen as life happens right around you.
Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
For most believers, their best personal evangelism is with people they already know and they are uniquely suited to reach. Your conversations about Jesus are most likely to happen as life happens right around you.
He further underscored Gentiles as his evangelistic objective when he wrote,
Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
Paul identified the Gentiles as the people he was uniquely suited for and responsible to reach.
When you share the gospel, you choose a group of people as the object of your outreach and strategically invest yourself in communicating the gospel to them. Paul was committed to reaching Gentiles. Admittedly, that’s a large people group.
Yours will most likely be much smaller—like the teenagers at your high school, the mothers in your child’s play group, the men who work the night shift with you, or the guys you play basketball with twice a week.
Identify several places you go during a typical day or week. Whom do you already know in those places? Identify one person and strategize a way to invest in communicating the gospel to that person.
Each week we work with the unhoused and less fortunate. We hand out bibles, pray as a group, pray individually, provide a weekly message and available when they are ready to talk about God.
Your evangelism assignment, and you have one if you are a follower of Jesus, is to reach people with the gospel. So, the question becomes, which people? To put it in Pauline terms, who are your Gentiles? Who are the people God has uniquely equipped you to reach? What people group is your responsibility? You are called to reach people in your community— people you live and work among on a regular basis. And, if you sense a call
to go outside your community (like going on a missions trip or becoming a missionary), before you travel around the world to work with Sudanese refugees, for example, why not work with those already relocated in your area? Test your call to a people outside your cultural (and perhaps linguistic or geographic boundaries) by first finding similar people in your area and investing yourself in them. Remember, if you won’t drive across town to witness to Russians, why should a church or mission board fund your deployment to Moscow?
No matter the people group you desire to serve—orphans, immigrants, prisoners, or outcasts—you can find them in your community. No matter the nationality you long to connect with, you can find people from almost every country in every major city. If God is leading you to reach a specific people outside your immediate experience, get busy!
Don’t assume prior cultural adaptation, linguistic preparation, or geographic relocation must precede obedience. It usually works in the reverse order. Obey God now, doing what you can where you are, and trust Him to call you across the nation or around the world as a result of your passionate outreach, not to validate it.
In the meantime, focus on sharing the gospel where you are, with the people you know, or with those in your community you are intentionally trying to reach. While some are called to go out of their way to share the gospel with new people in new places, the focus of this book is sharing the gospel with the people you already know—the missions’ field all around you.
Sharing the gospel in your community can be as significant as going around the world. Select one of the following examples and identify how it can factor into your gospel witness.
- Doing the right thing even when the boss isn’t watching.
- Treating a difficult person with respect.
- Seeing how Jesus helps you behave honorably.
- Ministering and receiving ministry.
As stated above, I am a chaplain and executive director of Crossing Barriers Ministry working with the unhoused and less fortunate. We approach each person offering help, supplying hope, and treating them with dignity. When the time is right, the gospel gets shared individually but in the meantime, they receive prayer, mid-week bible study as well as a weekly message.
Obeying God where you are is not small. Not a precursor but is thoroughly significant and important. Why?
Although obeying God is a big task but when it comes to sharing the gospel, it’s a simple unscripted conversation. The hardest part is waiting, knowing when, and being ready when the door opens. It is important because God commands us to do so.