Good morning Lord Jesus, with all I am, and all I have I seek to start this day giving glory to you.
I read through the same passages in Mark's Gospel this morning and my reflections center around the same two verses as my last two blog posts.
“Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.” Mark 5:19-20
Just like in the world when Jesus walked it, we also live in a world of great needs: physical, spiritual, emotional, and the like. People all around us are crying out in search of a source of hope. As believers, we know exactly what they need: Jesus. He is the only one capable of bandaging their wounds, healing their hearts, and, most importantly, forgiving their sins. Given this, telling people about the good news of Jesus Christ is all the more urgent. Here are some lessons I’ve learned and thoughts I’ve had on how to be more effective at sharing the gospel.
First, we must find our ‘sailboat’.
Bill Hybels, who founded Willow Creek Community Church, often references his passion for sailing and his excitement about his boat in speaking. He has made a habit of using his sailboat as a means to tell people about Jesus. Hybels uses his sailboat and his love for sailing to evangelize to others who love sailing. Everyone needs to have a similar example.
So the question is: What’s your sailboat? Not all of us have our own boat, but most of us have a house or apartment. Maybe some of us have a really neat backyard, a pool, of and a whole community of people around us to invite. We may belong to a gym, club, professional network or other social group. If you do not, you need to join something.
My sailboat happens to be my neighborhood. I go to my neighborhood Waffle House almost every morning and spend time talking and listening to my neighbors who meet there. I became a member of our homeowners association board to invest in our community and hear of needs of my neighbors. At one meeting a resident came and complained about the state of her neighbors yard. The grass had not been mowed in a month and its shrubs and landscaping were over run with weeds. Before the board gave them a notice I told them I would talk with the homeowner. I found out the owner had to have heart replacement surgery. So to avoid them getting a fine, I walked back over with my lawn mower, edger, weed eater, and chain saw and spent a afternoon getting their lawn and yard in shape.
Second, it helps to make a list.
Given the hectic, fast-paced nature of most of our lives, it’s easy to place things—people, even—on the backburner. In the heat of the moment, we think to ourselves, I really want to connect with that new neighbor across the street or I need to dedicate myself to praying for that struggling parent in my church small group. But sometimes we let hours, days, and even weeks go by before suddenly remembering all the people we forgot to reach out to and pray for.
I tell everyone at ODC to write down a list of 100 names of people they have influence and a connection with them: family members, friends, co-workers, classmates, all the way down to the mailman. Then write after their name if they are Christian, non-Christian, or unknown. Then pray over the list daily and begin to intentionally reach out to people on your list who don’t know Christ. If we are serious about the gospel, our natural response shouldn’t be to bottle up the gift we’ve been given in our hearts and keep it to ourselves. The message of Christ’s love and redemptive work on the cross was meant to be shared and it’s our job—not someone else’s—to testify to its power.
Third, Those who are in leadership areas of your church: we need to dedicate ourselves to leadership in this area.
It’s not enough for us to talk about evangelism from the pulpit, in a class or a meeting,. We need to make sharing the gospel a priority in our individual spheres and circles if we want to inspire our congregations and our familes to do the same. We need our churches to be places of accountability where churchgoers, staff, and leaders come together with one common desire: reaching people. This is because, at the end of the day, sharing the gospel isn’t just a side job—it is, arguably, one of the most important of our Christian responsibilities. The command to love God and neighbor is most fully expressed when we bring the message of his love directly to those who need it most.
My family, when it comes to evangelism, you can’t lead what you won’t live. I pray today and over this weekend you will set aside time and intentionally pray over your “sailboat, make your list of 100, and dedicate evangelism to be part of your life starting next week. In Jesus’ name, amen. Please pray the same for me. God bless you my friends!
Please share your reflections and prayers in the comment box below.
Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower
One Direction Community
Facebook: One Direction Community-ODC
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