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Are You an Evangelist?

The words evangelism, evangelist and evangelical, all come from Greek word for “good message.” The word Gospel means good news.

In ancient times, people wanted to be an evangelist because these were the people

who brought good news/messages to the rulers and were rewarded, whereas those

who did not bring good news often suffered an ill fate.

But, today, the words have been abused by mean-spirited preachers and manipulative politicians to make our current culture sceptical of those who use these words. These people twist the good message of Jesus Christ, as the one who conquered sin and death, into their own agenda of something else of much lesser consequence, leaving people without a lasting life-changing experience.

As Christians, we know that we are to share the good news of Jesus Christ, the whole news that includes Jesus’ resurrection, not just his death on the cross. God has given us eternal life, a loving, grace-filled life that people can experience today and every day because of Jesus. God’s love, fully revealed in Jesus Christ, brings us into the right relationship with God and others.

Jesus came to heal the world, deliver us from sin and lead us to new life with God and each other. The ultimate purpose of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is not only the reconciliation of individuals to God but also the reconciliation of “all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Ephesians 1:10). God’s love in Christ connects Christians to a common mission to redeem the world and restore all of humanity to the loving, saving, life-giving purpose of God that Jesus called the kingdom of God.

The invitation to each of us is to recognize our deep need for realignment and healing, receive the grace that only God can give, and join with the church in participating in God’s transformation of the world.

Jesus told us to make disciples and transform the world (Matthew 28:19), but he did not tell us how to specifically do that. We do not have to share religious cliches and condemnations

from bygone eras to tell the greatest story ever told. The good news of Jesus

can be shared through our own stories as well as the Gospel stories.

In previous months I have written about spiritual disciplines to help us grow in

our faith: gift-giving (financial and spiritual), prayer, and presence. The spiritual

discipline I am sharing today is about being a ‘witness.’

There are many ways to bear witness through our actions and words. The Holy Spirit continues to work in and through us to help us experience the wholeness of life and to share the good news if we pay attention to it.

Some are comfortable sharing their story of God’s love for them, but others may believe that their story isn’t dramatic enough to share it with others. Wherever you are, God doesn’t intend for you to stay there. God can and will use your story if you are ready to share it.

For many people, just your willingness to be vulnerable and share your life with them (good and bad) will be impactful.

In the Gospel of John, the first time we hear Jesus speak, he isn’t preaching or

praying - but simply asks a question of his would-be disciples, “what are you

looking for?”

What is the deep longing of your heart, the hunger of your soul, in the darkness of the night?

It could be something you didn’t know you were looking for. John’s Gospel then helps us realise the answer to that question, it is “life.” Eternal life is defined as loving God and others with all we are and have, the way we are loved by God.

This is not something we wait for, but something we get to experience every day here on earth. It is a life of caring and healing (forgiving) others. What a testimony! What a witness! If only we could share this witness of the good news all the time.

In John’s Gospel, the first example of evangelism is Andrew bringing Peter to Jesus and Philip telling Nathaniel to “Come and see” (John 1:35-51).

Often, our faithful witness is to tell others, to “come and see,” see or experience for themselves, as Jesus has touched me, he will touch you too. Come and see Christ at work serving the poor or worshipping the Lord, through his body, the Church, through us.

Witnessing is about building relationships and sharing our stories of what God has done for us in a genuine and natural way.

It’s often been said that sharing Christ is like one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.

Yours may not seem very dramatic, compelling, or special. Maybe you don’t feel that religion is something that ought to be brought up in conversation. It’s too private, too personal, and too individual. But we have a story to tell, we have many stories to tell, and they are powerful, even if we don’t think they are dramatic.

Evangelism is sharing your story in whatever way God has uniquely wired you to do so. It’s about doing the work of Christ and being his witness in the way you live your life. Regardless of how you do it, the important thing is that you do it.

In the end, that’s all Jesus calls each of us to do.

Practise the spiritual discipline of “witnessing.” Tell the story of Christ this year, build relationships and tell your story, dramatic or not; perhaps it will touch someone, just one person, and change them forever!

Grace and peace,

Rev’d Kevin Highfield


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