Finding your way to the post office
Published 6:42 pm Thursday, August 29, 2019
By AL EARLEY
There is a story of Billy Graham about when he was visiting a city for one of his crusades. He had finished writing a letter, and began to look for a place to mail it. Walking around the city for a while, he came across a young boy. He asked the boy if he knew how to get to the post office. The boy gave Billy Graham the directions and before leaving, Billy said to the boy, “Come on over to the arena tonight and I’ll tell you how to get to heaven.” The boy looked at him and replied, “How can you know how to get to heaven? You don’t even know the way to the post office.”
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Evangelism is sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and the salvation to eternal life Christ offers. Contrary to popular belief, evangelism is not just the job of the pastor. All Christians are called to be evangelists (Matthew 28:16-20, Acts 1:8). The word “Evangel” means to proclaim. Those of us who proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ are called evangelists. We are doing evangelism.
Our most effective method of evangelism is “Friendship Evangelism.” We reach out to the people in our lives and take an interest in them. For example, one family decided to invite their neighbors to dinner. When it came to the meal, the believers tried to impress their neighbors by asking their 5-year-old son to say grace. Little Johnny was a bit shy and said, “I don’t know what to say.” There was an awkward pause, followed by a reassuring smile from the boy’s mother. “Well darling,” she said, “Just say what Daddy said at breakfast this morning.” Obediently, the boy repeated, “Oh God, why did we invite all these people over for dinner tonight. Amen.”
Things don’t always go perfect when we do evangelism, but that should not stop us. You can begin by thinking about the people God has put in your life that have no faith, or no church home. The following list may help you think of people: Family with a baby, neighbors (nearby or distant), hobby, hunting or fishing friends, relatives, people you work with, a newcomer to the community, close personal friends, or someone in a community club and group. Write their names down and take advantage of your next opportunity to invite them to church.
Did you know that seven out of 10 people join a church because they were invited to the church? This has New Testament precedent. Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman, famous evangelist, said that the New Testament records tell of 40 people, each suffering from the same disease, who were healed by Jesus. Of this number, 34 were either brought to Jesus by friends, or He was taken to them. In only six cases out of 40 did the sufferers find the way to Jesus without assistance. Of the vast number of people who find their way to Jesus today, most of them reach him because the friends of Jesus are concerned about the welfare of their souls. (Source: Tan, P. L. Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations, 1996, c1979. Bible Communications: Garland TX).
Have you ever invited someone to attend church with you, and then become discouraged when you were turned down? If so, don’t stop inviting. A study shows that persons who become active Christians have been invited, or had the good news shared with them an average of eight times before they have made a commitment. Don’t stop inviting. Start praying for them. In the weeks to come I will share some thoughts on what we might say and how we can pray.
Have you ever invited someone to church? What is the biggest barrier to being an evangelist? Can you start easy with kids or grandkids and try sharing your faith with them? Ask what they think about God as well. Children always have terrific insights into God, that are also entertaining as well. What is coming up on your church’s calendar that might be a good thing to invite people too?
To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles go to www.lagrangepres.com.