Saturday, February 9, 2019

"Evangelism by Way of Recurring Conversation Relationships" - 2019.02.07 Hopewell Herald Pastoral Letter


Dear Congregation,

With great sadness, I read a report this week that a Barna study concluded that approximately half (47%) of “practicing Christian Millennials” agree at least somewhat that “it is wrong to share one’s personal beliefs with someone of a different faith in hopes that they will one day share the same faith.” (quoted from the Barna website)

Horrors. We certainly have differing definitions of “practicing Christian”!

If you don’t believe that those who are outside of Christ are going to Hell; or, if you don’t care that people are going to Hell; then, you are not at all a practicing Christian.

Closer (I hope?!) to home, I’m afraid that many of us practicing Christians are yet Christians who are out of practice. When was the last time you told the simple truth that you, like all other humans on earth, are a Hell-deserving sinner who is yet sure of God’s everlasting blessing and favor unto you because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and righteousness for you?

One way that you can prepare to tell the gospel is by establishing “recurring conversation relationships.” Same place. Same time. Maybe every day. Maybe every week. Two or three sentences at a time.

We interact so little now, in our culture, that the briefest of encounters make up a large amount of our social contact. The grocery line (if you don’t self-checkout!). The gas station. The drive-thru. The mailman.

What regular interactions do you have? What more could you have, if you were intentionally cultivating them? You have an opportunity, one encounter at a time, to find out one or two sentences about their life. To think about them and pray for them during the intervening time. To ask them about it next time you see them. To let them know that you are praying for them. To learn when something out of the ordinary occurs. To pray for that. To share your joy over the gospel of Christ, when you have opportunity to say something.

Of course, for this last idea—the sharing of your joy over the gospel—you need to meditate upon that joy and foster it. If you just plan on saying something about the joy of the gospel, that’s not the same as sharing actual joy, is it? In order to share your joy, you need to be rejoicing!

And aren’t we silly that it may take something like being prepared for evangelism to get us to spend time at the beginning of each day cultivating joy in Christ over what He has done for us, and who He is to us? After all, it is this joy, that drives loving Him because He first loved us, which drives serving and obeying Him and not finding it burdensome

We just might find that the development of these habits will be used of God to improve every area of our Christian practice!

Looking forward to our weekly gathering in which we rejoice in Christ by His living Word,

Pastor

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