Benefits of Evangelism
Pastor Steve Ellison
I just returned from a week of sharing the gospel at the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. I saw a lot of indecency and profanity but I was pleasantly surprised at the general lack of animosity. I cannot say that the response was generally positive because disdain was the most common response. However, only a few people were downright antagonistic. I was impressed by the lack of belligerent drunks. I did speak with many who were impaired to some degree by alcohol and/or illegal drugs. However, I never felt physically threatened. I must tell you that I was strictly downtown, just outside the bars, not in them. Also, I did not go out to the more crude locations, such as the notorious campgrounds.
Our gospel presentations were purposefully brief. We first secured the prospect’s permission to share a three minute personal story. The story was not exactly memorized but it was rehearsed. The plan was to mention man’s sinful state, Christ’s sinless life, death, burial, and resurrection at least two times during the three minute story. Obviously, that is not the best of circumstances but it does plant seeds. It was far more successful than I had ever dreamed. As I look back over my life, I now see that I have overlooked many opportunities to share the gospel because I assessed the situation and decided there was not enough time. I must note that many of my conversations went much longer than three minutes. However, none did so without the permission of the other person. The three minute personal story emphasizes our sinfulness and God’s provision. At this point, the Holy Spirit will be convicting of sin, righteousness, and judgment. The listener will either accept or reject the message. Upon rejection, we simply asked permission to pray briefly for the listener and sent them on their way. If the listener indicated a willingness to hear more, we were free to share at length about how to enter into a personal relationship with Christ. What a blessing and a privilege it was to be able to share the love and forgiveness available in the person of Jesus Christ. I expected this part of the ministry but prior to arriving I did not take time to consider some additional benefits.
Many, many people responded to the presentation of the gospel, by claiming that they were in fact already Christians. Certainly many were and many were not. There is no way for us to determine that. However, even a cursory glance at their current condition gives reason for doubt. Thus, it was not possible (nor will it ever be) for one person to accurately evaluate another person’s relationship to Christ. Obedience to Christ and fruit bearing will clearly indicate their state of fellowship with Christ but not the existence of a relationship with Christ. I am firmly convinced that we shared the gospel with many unconverted people who were truly converted on the spot. I am firmly convinced that we shared the gospel with many people who at that point truly believed they were converted, but because of the planted seeds will later become convicted about their lack of relationship with Christ. I believe that we shared Christ with many who are Christians but they long ago left their first love and are walking in open rebellion. It is our hope and prayer that hearing the gospel presentation will prompt them to begin walking with Christ again. I believe that we shared with Christians who are not in open rebellion but are not sharing the gospel. We hope and pray that hearing our presentation will cause them to examine their own failure to share the hope that is found only in Christ. ..……..…..firstname.lastname@example.org