January 14, 2008
I am still a big time sookielala (wimp) when it comes to the one on one, street evangelicalism so I am sticking with the tract depositing by stealth.
However even depositing tracts by stealth still comes with its pit falls, challenges, fears, worries and problems!!!
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October 3, 2007
Just sharing an article that could be of use for those who are new to personal evangelism or who read stories about evangelism encounters and think ‘I could never do that’. The article encourages Christians to ‘be a witness through their lives’ and to invite people to Church. It also encourages timid Christians to speak – or at the very least have tracts or gospel messages to give away:
“…We must speak. There must not be a shameful silence, but our words must speak of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now we have different gifts. Some of us believe that our gifts are very meagre. But the point is, we must use the gifts that we have. We must secure good pamphlets and tapes which speak of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must have a knowledge of the Bible. That does not mean that we simply take some statement of the gospel and memorize it as a little thing that we throw out. No. The gospel and the knowledge of the Bible must simply flow out of our lives.”
Rev. Carl Haak, Personal Evangelism: How?
September 30, 2007
Every evangelism encounter is different. Yesterday I walked up to an elderly man and woman sitting in their car waiting for the bowling centre to open. I talked with them in as natural a way as possible through the car window. The lady did something I have never encountered before – she bawled her eyes out as she recounted how unfair God has been to wards her. Her lament over all her injustices lasted for about 10 minutes. I did my best to empathise but also kindly show her, between sobs, that both she and I were not good people either.
She was a Church attendee but had a very poor understanding of the Gospel in answer to some basic questions. Her tears were not tears of repentance but tears of rage against God in that He had not fixed her problems in answer to her long prayers. It was sort of pastoral/evangelism – I don’t envy the job of a pastor who has Christians with all sorts of ideas and they have to somehow guide them to the truth. Any suggestions from pastoral folk about this sort of thing are welcome!
August 26, 2007
Arrived at the park today to find Daniel already in conversation with a lady Agalaia? sitting at a park bench. As I walked into the action, Daniel had opportunity to explain why we were meeting together in the park and what we were doing. This led to questions about her experience and knowledge of God, the Bible and Christianity and some lengthy discussion about whether she knew and cared about her sinful condition in relation to the Law of God.
She admitted she was sinful but thought it didn’t really matter that much because she wasn’t as bad as everybody else at which point we took the time to explain that Jesus said it did matter and that according to God’s standard a lustful look and a hateful thought are as bad before God as the acts of adultery and murder that can follow them.
She was sure that her asking for forgiveness each night would make her right with God and I asked her why she thought God would cancel her debt … if He’s a just God He can’t just ignore her sin and offence … just because she wanted Him too … she had no bargaining power with the God she had offended. I then explained that when a Christian prays, they have to acknowledge that they can only come to God “through Jesus” as their representative, acknowledging by faith that they need His righteousness and His payment for sins to be theirs. This seemed to sink in a little. I also explained that the fact that she prayed to God each night was of no use unless she came to the Father through faith in the Son … she might think she was praying to a God that would forgive her because “she wasn’t that bad” and they “were only little sins” but that to pray to a God in that way was only to pray to a God of her imagination. To pray to the holy, just and living God she needed to come through the person and work of Jesus. She accepted tracts and a Bible and seemed genuinely interested in hearing the gospel.
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August 5, 2007
What a range of responses today. Walk up evangelism has subtle but definate rules of engagement and I think we experienced and practiced some of these more or less effectively today. Our first couple were mildly interested. We tried to lead them into knowledge of God and His law but they were very “each to his own” “true for you but not for me” type characters, willing to talk as long as things didn’t get too heavy. We had to leave them with a personal appeal – we want you to know what we believe is true – because you really need to know it – we would feel irresponsible if we didn’t tell you this. They appreciated that I think and so they took a tract and a Bible.
Atheists who don’t want to talk are pretty easy to deal with. Sadly you can only walk on. Perhaps we need a special tract for atheists that appeals to their pride in logic and reason. A joke maybe?
I was keenly aware of a bit of power imbalance talking to the young skaters. In my mind there is a little alarm bell that says make sure you don’t freak them out, pressure them with your age or make them feel like they should listen because you are older. These two guys were highschoolers hanging out on their own with the big boys who unlike us smoke and swear and wear lots of body peircing. That observation let me put aside the difference in our ages and just have a chat. I still felt a bit uneasy by the end of it but the boys were holding their own pretty well and didn’t seem intimidated. I don’t think I would chat to kids below college age again as there is just too much room for risky connotations being read into the simplest and most innocent of actions. If you read this blog and are a college/uni age commited Christian, your help in talking to the pre college would be ideal. We are getting old Daniel!
The dads with their boys were pretty quick to give us the boot – the unbeliever politely told us he didn’t want to talk and the professing Christian (his friend) was kind of stuck in an awkward silence because of his unbelieving mate. It was a strange situation but hopefully one that could lead to some frank discussion between these two friends about their spiritual state and position before God. Sometimes we need a little prod to get active in talking to our friends about God.
Our best experience was with the rollerblading pair at the end of our excursion. These guys were amiable, pleasant and happy to talk at length and listen to what we had to say. We had a really good time chatting with these guys and were able to give a good account of who God is, what God’s law really demands of us, where that leaves us and them and what it is that Jesus has done and how we can receive that. Lynden and Warrick were great guys and I really hope that God uses the Word that they received today to give them and/or renew their spiritual life and hope. Had some Gideons Bibles and some little FSC tracts which they were happy to take. This was a real encouragement to me.
August 5, 2007
First met Jess and K. We chatted for a while about councils, work, etc. It was cold but nice overlooking the river. After chatting for a while I enquired about their Christian background and what they think happens when people die. K. said that he was open to anything but taking him through the ten commandments he quickly asked us to stop our discussion and move on to other people. They accepted some tracts which was nice.
Josh came and we walked along the flood barrier and met some a man and woman hugging and watching the scene before them. After introducing ourselves and explaining that we were Christians out evangelising the lady said that they were both committed atheists and she refused to talk to us.
We went into the skate park and met Tim and Ryan. They listened carefully to our presentation of God, the law, judgement and the gospel. Please pray for these guys.
On the way out of the skate park there were two dads watching their kids ride their bikes. We talked for a bit about football. When I asked it they had a Christian background one guy said that he was a Christian and the other guy said, “If I wanted to be a Christian I would go to Church to find out and I wouldn’t listen to guys coming up to me like you two.” This didn’t really make sense. The guy was very anti-Christian and would not even take a tract.
On the way back to the car we met two rollerbladers, Lynden and Warwick. Lynden had a Church background in the Seventh Day Adventists but was not very active in it and Warwick had no Christian background. We had a real good chat with them both and they listened carefully to our explanation.
If you are a Christian and able to pray for God to continue his work in the lives of the people we met today, please do so.
July 29, 2007
Josh and I went out witnessing for about an hour and we shared the gospel with 5 people and handed out a couple of tracts to others.
I arrived late and Josh was already witnessing to Valentino. He was a mature man with a black polo shirt and red braces. He had a large chunky silver necklace and spoke with a strong European accent. I am not exactly sure if he claimed to be an extra-terrestrial or if he claimed to be somehow in contact with aliens, but he was not ready to listen to the gospel. He had all sorts of clunky ideas that he countered with in response to the presentation of the gospel and he was very secretive and said that he was not permitted to tell us stuff. Strangely enough he did encourage at the end to continue to preach the gospel.
After a quick prayer we headed to wards the skate park. 3 girls lay on a picnic rug stroking their white dog. The all had trendy sunglasses on and one of them was busy receiving calls on her mobile while we chatted to them. They had a Catholic school background and were quite blasé about anything to do with Christianity. They all listened well as I explained the good test. Josh confirmed at the end how the commandments show us what God’s character is like – holy, just and good.
We left the girls and headed under the flood barrier and talked to Dave in the skate park. For the entirety of our conversation Dave swore heavily and blasphemed intensely. We met Dave resting on a mountain bike as he watched his two boys doing tricks on their BMXs. I had a good natural conversation with Dave about his background and what he does for a living. I have worked doing the same job as he does so we shared about that. At one point he made a joke about suicide and that was when I asked, ‘what do you think happens when you die?’ He believed that he would just go into nothingness. Josh and I then spent some time overcoming his ignorant objections to the authority of the bible. I took Dave through he good test – he really thought he was good but then he started to make a joke about everything. It was weird – Dave was constantly changing between caring and not caring about his eternal destiny. Dave was very proud and I thought it wise to not go on to share the gospel. Josh did give a small mention of the gospel in answer to one of Dave’s questions. I am concerned for Dave.
We left the afternoon joyful and thankful that we had an opportunity to glorify God. I took a camera but didn’t get any footage of the witness encounters to share and spruce up this post. I will try to do something like that in the future.