As I looked over the class syllabus for Evangelism, I was surprised by one of the assignments: submit a weekly reflection on how you attempted to share the gospel. It was worth 20% of our final grade.
Something in me chaffed at this assignment. Should sharing the gospel really be worth 20% of my grade? But then I stopped. Was my irritation really at being graded for sharing my faith, or was it that I was frustrated I was being pushed to do something that I perceived to be a major weakness of mine? Sharing the gospel wasn’t my normal practice. But here I was looking at my class assignment thinking, “I’ve got to do this for 13 weeks?”
At first, the assignment was intimidating. I started with my children – that would be an easy first step. Three kids (at the time) meant that I had three weeks planned, and this would be an easy start. But what about the other 10 weeks? Could I “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim. 4:5)?
When I went to Russia in 2013, the believers regularly asked two questions of one another: “What are you reading in God’s Word today?” and “With whom are you sharing your faith?” These two questions were part of the culture of the Russian church. Wherever I went, I was asked about my time in the Bible and the person to whom I was sharing the gospel.
We will not share our faith unless we are intentional. One of our elders recently commented that we need to continually remind ourselves to do the work of an evangelist. Without intentionality, the church will become a social club, meeting personal needs rather than glorifying Christ in the world. The apostle Paul had made it his aim to make one thing known: “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). There was an intentionality about Paul. No matter where he went, he was looking for an opportunity to testify to the gospel.
That 13 week assignment pushed me out of my comfort zone. Every week I had to be intentional about sharing my faith. It didn’t matter if I was stumbling, only able to present part of my testimony or the gospel, or if I failed miserably. I had made the attempt. The grade was for effort, not effectiveness.
Today, I can’t help but be thankful for that assignment and how it taught me to be on the watch for and plan opportunities. Whether talking with my neighbours, asking someone who has a heavy burden how I might pray for them, or serving people around me sacrificially, these times give me intentional opportunities to speak of Christ.
What about you? Who are you sharing your faith with? The fields are white unto harvest, and God is already at work around us! So let’s go!
Seeking to be intentional,
As we gather for Sunday worship, we want you to meet with God and be transformed by the Word. Prepare your heart by reading the passage and listening to the songs for Sunday.