Fear of engaging. Maybe it goes back to some fear in our childhood? Or to the Silent Generation, who could barely say anything after witnessing the horrors of the Second World War.
One of the reasons our evangelical world first developed four-point gospel outlines (1949) was literally to put words into the mouths of those who could barely speak, or just simply didn’t want to talk anymore. It was truly a silent time in our land. [Coincidentally, the phrase daily quiet time also emerged at this time.] Or our silence could have been a result of the McCarthy investigations into possible Communist sympathizers. This laid the groundwork for the Cold War of the 50s–60s.
Today, in 2020, Christians in the West still have difficulty, if not blatant fear, of engaging the world around us. We might not know what to say. We might not know the answers to their questions. We don’t know how to lead them to Christ. Worse yet, we may not know even one normal person (read non-Christian) to engage. We just have no point of contact with normal people in a religious way.
So we unconsciously huddle within our Christian cultures fearing any significant contact with the World. We are afraid of being tainted, tempted, or taunted. But we do not find any of this in the New Testament.
Instead, we find Jesus’ disciples transformed by the renewing of the Holy Spirit, bold to declare His deity and saving grace in the face of severe opposition, even unto death.
What’s happened to us? Too many of the Christians I know are clueless when is comes to engaging anyone with the gospel of Christ. We steer clear of those conversations at all costs. Allow me to offer five ideas on how you can follow our Lord into people’s lives.
- Relax. Let the Spirit open doors for His witness. No need to tense up.
- Remember God is in control. You do not have to be. Nor do you have to get thru some pre-scribed gospel outline. Respond naturally using your heart and your mind.
- Place yourself in the midst where normal people gather. This may take some creativity while we’re in this COVID19 self-isolation period.
- Fall in love with people. The command to love hasn’t seemed to sink in. I find more meaning if we connect with people as if we’re in love with them, looking forward to our next meeting.
- Give God some room to work. Our job is to show up, be there, and love creatively.
Our God is so full of surprises. Enjoy yourself and watch Him work.
Honor God, honor people…, make a difference.
Dr. Gary Davis, President