I am close to finishing my second 30-day round of The Hope Initiative. It is a simple process of praying, studying Scripture, and going in one form or another. It is simple obedience to the Great Commission.
May I share with you three lessons I have learned about myself in each of these 30-day periods? The lessons have been basic but profound for me.
Lesson 1: I have a long way to go in being consistently obedient in sharing the gospel.
I often hear from people who get the impression that I share the gospel with daily and consistent zeal. Sadly, it’s not true. I might write about it and talk about it, but I have a long way to go. There are many days when I do not share the gospel at all. The Hope Initiative has been the discipline I need, but I still have much room to grow.
In His power, I must do better.
Lesson 2: Prayer and evangelism are a potent combination.
Yeah. I get it. This second lesson might elicit a “duh” response from you. That would be fair.
In the Great Commission passages of Scripture, we are reminded, “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20, NLT). Again, we are reminded in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” It is so clear. Evangelism without God’s power through prayer is powerless.
I have been amazed in each of these 30-day periods how the doors to evangelism have opened widely. It’s basic. God is answering my prayers.
Lesson 3: Sometimes evangelism can take place in an Uber ride.
I use the rideshare Uber frequently in my travels. Before the driver picks me up, the app tells me how long we will have in the car together. Most of the time I have little time to waste. Can I really introduce myself, establish a relationship, and tell the driver about Jesus in 17 minutes?
The answer is “yes,” because I watch it happen again and again.
It is amazing to see how God opens the door each time I open the Uber door.
Today, there is a trend back to lifestyle and relationship evangelism. Actually that is a trend among those who do evangelism. Most Christians do not share their faith at all. So, I rejoice about those who are intentional about getting to know non-Christians and earning a right to be heard. I have a few such relationships right now.
But there can be a danger in waiting too long to share the gospel explicitly. We can be so busy developing the relationship personally that we delay telling the unbeliever about Jesus explicitly.
This popular quote is often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” But there is no evidence that he actually said it or wrote it. To the contrary, his writings and teachings emphasize the vital role of verbal proclamation in sharing the gospel.
Develop relationships. Get to know unbelievers. Show Christ in your life and lifestyle. But don’t forget that the gospel message has words. Tell them about Jesus.
Then you will be ready on an airplane or in an Uber car.
Such is the reason Acts 4:20 is one of my favorite verses: “We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard” (NLT).
Keep living for Christ. Keep showing Christ in your actions.
But also never, never stop talking about Him.
Posted on October 16, 2023
With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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