The Gospel is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). God does not want anyone to perish but instead wants everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9); He wants everyone to come to salvation (1 Tim. 2:4). I am sure you’re not the kind of person who is full of unbelief about evangelism (if you were, I doubt you would have made it this far). This post will equip you to recognize the lies that keep so many from sharing the Good News. Catch these in your own life and make others aware of them too.
Christ came to seek and to save the lost (Lk. 19:10) and He has put you and I here for that same reason (Acts 17:26-27). Scripture is clear, anyone who puts their trust in Christ will be saved (Jn. 3:16, Acts 2:21, Rom. 10:13). The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few (Matt. 9:37). We are the workers He has chosen to use and it is time for us to win this world for Him! Don’t ever let Satan’s lies stop you from that.
There are so many different lies that have kept Christians from sharing the Good News. There are ten that are particularly destructive (but these are by no means the only ones). I think it is important to get these lies out in the open right off the bat so they aren’t messing with you the rest of this book. Here they are in no particular order.
Lie #1 -You must have the gift of evangelism.
Many donʼt share because they donʼt feel like they have that gift. We would never say you must have the gift of hospitality in order to be hospitable, the gift of giving to give or the gift of encouragement to encourage. Some will have the gift of evangelism but we’re all called to share the Good News. Remember Matthew 4:19; if you follow Christ youʼre called to evangelism! Don’t ever believe the lie that you have to have the gift of evangelism in order to share.
Lie # 2 - Your personality, skill, knowledge, looks, style, and actions validate the Gospel and make it relevant.
Many Christians donʼt witness because they feel they arenʼt good enough Christians. The whole point of the Good News is that we are sinners that need a Savior! 1 Corinthians 1:27 says that God chooses the foolish and weak things of this world to glorify Him. He doesn’t need you to “validate” the Gospel (you should definitely do your best not to invalidate it through hypocrisy). Also, many people donʼt share because they donʼt think they have all the answers. You never will! Do your best to prepare and then trust Him. Don’t believe the lie that the power of the Gospel rests on your performance or abilities.
Lie #3 - You must earn the right to be heard.
Another version of this goes, “they donʼt care how much you know till they know how much you care.” That is definitely true for leadership and discipleship, but not for evangelism! Jesus earned the right to be heard two thousand years ago. He also earned the right to be obeyed by His followers; He claimed to have all the authority to command us to witness (Matt. 28:18-20, Acts 1:8). Many people incorrectly believe you must befriend people before witnessing to them. The number one reason people reject the Gospel is because of hypocritical Christians; the “friendship only” approach isn’t working. Jesus called us to reach the whole world. This would be practically impossible if everyone had to be befriended first. Imagine how long it would take to befriend the entire world before sharing with them. Be friendly but also be open to sharing with anyone God puts in your path. There are very few, if any, places in Scripture, where anyone befriended someone before sharing with them. Love people and share with them. Don’t believe the lie that you can’t share the Gospel with someone until some level of friendship has been attained.
Lie #4 - Booklets and pamphlets should be avoided.
Romans 1:16 tells us, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes...” The Gospel message is powerful, whatever its format. Gospel “tracts” and pamphlets can be great conversational tools and they can be transferable resources that make it easier for people you’re discipling to learn how to share their faith. It is important to personalize these tracts as much as possible. You should never believe the lie that God can’t use them.
Lie #5 - The poor, needy, and destitute are those we should focus evangelism on most.
We must remember that the rich are lost too (Matt. 19:23-24)! The poor are, without question, close to God’s heart and we should do everything we can to help them but they aren’t the only ones God wants to reach. The poor and the rich alike are lost without Jesus and we should strive to share the Good News with them all! Don’t believe the lie that rich people are fine the way they are and the destitute are the ones who really need spiritual help. Everyone needs Jesus!
Lie #6 - It is your responsibility to make sure no one gets offended.
Jesus promised men would hate you because of Him (Matt. 10:22)! Scripture also tells us we will be disgusting to some, but life to others (2 Cor. 2:16)! Share in a loving and truthful way and then trust the results to God. Gregory Koukl writes, in Tactics, “Jesus’ teaching made some people furious. Just make sure it’s your ideas that offend and not you, that your beliefs cause the dispute and not your behavior.”9 Be loving and truthful and remember, if people get offended, that is not your problem. Trust God with your insecurities. Don’t believe the lie that you can or should even try to make people like you all the time.
Lie #7 - Methods are what produce results.
Jesus said that it was the amount of seed sown that led to larger harvests (Matt. 13:1-9). We should always be looking for great new evangelism tools but must remember sharing the Good News is the key to reaching people for Christ. Never put off sharing your faith while you wait for better tools or ideas. Sow lots of seed in lots of places lots of different ways. Don’t believe the lie that you need to find some special evangelism “magic bullet.”
Lie #8 - “Preach always, use words if necessary.”
This is a popular misquote of St. Francis of Assisi. There are good Mormons, Buddhists, witches, and atheists; good works donʼt save people or show people the way to eternal life. We should live such godly lives that people will see Christ in us (1 Peter 2:12) but we must also remember that words are necessary (Rom. 10:13-14). We should both share the Gospel and live lives that show people Christ, not one or the other. Don’t believe the lie that good works alone are a sufficient evangelistic approach.
Lie #9 - Older people are stuck in their ways and wonʼt trust Christ.
On the contrary, dreams forgotten, relationships broken and the ends of their lives approaching, many have never been more desperate. Remember John 12:32-33; Jesus is drawing every person to Himself! That includes the old. Don’t believe the lie that you shouldn’t try to reach all ages of people for Christ.
Lie #10 - Most people arenʼt interested in spiritual issues and hearing the Gospel.
Jesus tells us, in Matthew 9:37, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few...” Workers are the limiting factor in the harvest. It is time to quit believing lies and start working in the harvest God has put us here for! Don’t believe the lie that people aren’t interested in Jesus.
Remember, James 1:22 tells us that disobedience leads to deception. The reason many of these evangelism lies are so prevalent today is because most Christians are not obeying the command to share their faith. Their disobedience is leading to deception. Don’t believe these ten lies or any others. Trust God will use you mightily if you’ll just obey Him by sharing your faith!
I think most of these lies are really just excuses. Ultimately, fear is the main reason most people fail to share their faith. People can come up with a million excuses, justifications and rationalizations for not witnessing but no matter how legitimate and spiritual they sound, they all boil down to fear. Learn to fearlessly trust God, obeying Him and sharing the Good News!
Here are five keys to crushing fear so it won’t keep you from evangelism. First, conquer fear by fearing God. A correct view of God will displace all other fear (He is bigger than anything you could possible fear). Fear God, respect Him for who He really is, instead of fearing whatever else is causing you fear (Mt. 10:28). Second, conquer fear by dying to yourself. Having been crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20), you are free to live by faith rather than fear. Third, conquer fear by knowing and applying God’s Word. Joshua 1:8-9 connects courage with a knowledge of God’s Word. If you’re letting fear stop you from evangelism, you’re definitely getting your eyes off of Jesus and His Word. Fourth, conquer fear through prayer. Philippians 4:6-7 promises God will replace the anxieties you bring to Him in prayer with a peace that surpasses understanding. Finally, fifth, conquer fear by taking a step of faith in the power of His Spirit. Faith is the antithesis of fear (Mk. 4:40). Walk by faith and you’ll be fearless. Apply these principles as you continue sharing your faith and you’ll undoubtedly grow into the fearless evangelist God has called you to be. Once, after taking then student and current MPM staff member Mark Hodges open air preaching, he told me, “this is the most free I have ever felt in my life!” Crushing your fear of evangelism will do the same for you. My mom is one of the most fearless evangelists I know and she is a testament to the reality that trusting God, rather than living in fear, will result in untold evangelism opportunities!
Rhonda Denison, Master Plan staff member, shares the following story of confronting her lies and crushing her fears: “I love taking college students out sharing our faith. On one such occasion, I was at a campus with two other girls who had never shared their faith before. We started walking around campus and prayed for God to show us who to talk to. And there she was. Wavy hair past her shoulders... a Coach purse... Gucci sunglasses... beautiful... I mean gorgeous. Frantically, my eyes darted around campus; surely there had to be someone else I could talk to! This girl exuded confidence. She would not ever see her need for Jesus, there was no way she would want to talk to us! Silly lie-believing me! There was no one else, so putting on my most confident facade, I uttered these five words, “let’s go talk to her!” So we approach this girl (I’ll call her Brittany) and one of us asks, “Do you have a few minutes to answer some spiritual interest questions?” And then the strangest thing happened, she said “yes!” Not only did she say yes, she actually went on to tell us how the day before she was talking with her boyfriend saying, “I wish someone would just come up to me and tell me about God.” WHAT!? Wow! We shared the gospel with Brittany and with tears streaming down her face, Brittany put her trust in Jesus that day. That day I was challenged in my heart to not decide for someone where their spiritual interest is. I could have walked past Brittany ruling her out, assuming she had it all together. But instead of letting my fear dictate my behavior, I stepped through the fear, and by faith and in the power of the Holy Spirit shared the greatest message on earth with Brittany. Praise God, I now have a new sister in Christ! Luke 19:10 says that Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. Brittany was lost, Jesus sought her out and He saved her!” What an incredible illustration of the importance of trusting Christ and obeying Him instead of being controlled by lies and fear!
Fear and unbelief are learned traits. Baby Christians are usually the boldest and most fearless evangelists; they can’t help but talk about their Savior (Matt. 12:34). Chris Bilotta is my favorite example of this. From the day he trusted Christ four years ago until now, he has been one of the most passionate evangelists I know. He loves Jesus and everyone who crosses paths with him hears about it. He is also passionate about encouraging other believers to share their faith. This is normal Christianity. Unfortunately, the fellowship with others that is supposed to strengthen their faith often kills their motivation for evangelism as they internalize the lies their brothers and sisters have come to believe. It is so important to expose the lies that limit evangelism so that they won’t multiply unbelief throughout the Body of Christ.
Learn to catch these ten lies, and the others Satan throws at you, before they stop you from sharing your faith. Expose these lies to others when you hear them. I once spoke on these ten lies at a church that was promoting a bunch of emergent garbage, full of these lies. I haven’t been invited back but am glad I was able to confront the lies that were keeping that church from all God had for them. Learn to courageously follow your Savior’s command to share your faith!
I am married to the sweetest woman alive, Erin Herbst, and am excited to be serving God, in ministry together with her! God has blessed us with three wonderful children. Our passion in ministry is multiplying Christ-like multipliers, fulfilling Christ's Great Commission through evangelism, discipleship, leadership development and spiritual multiplication. I hope and trust each of my books will help fulfill those goals.
Living in America especially, but all around the globe sports fans (and commercial fans) tune in to watch the Super Bowl. Even people, who don’t watch sports that often, watch this one event. How cool that we can be fairly confident that for the next few weeks we have something in common with the bank teller, the person checking you out at a store, and the neighbor you never really had a chance to talk to. Here are a few ways you can transition a conversation about the Super Bowl into the Gospel.
1. Strike Up A Conversation
Just like I said earlier! You can start a conversation fairly easily by asking questions like:
Were you happy with the Broncos winning?
What did you think of the commercials this year?
2. The Weirdness Of The Puppy Monkey Baby
This is like the blue/gold dress that appeared awhile ago on all of our news feeds—the puppy monkey baby divided people quickly. Some people thought the puppy monkey baby was hilarious and some thought it was very disturbing. But, good news! No one felt indifferent about it—everyone I’ve talked to so far has an opinion. What do people like to do with their opinions? Share them.
This one felt a little awkward when I tried it, but I have to trust that God is at work inside me! While in a conversation about the puppy monkey baby I simply said, “Aren’t you glad that God didn’t make things like that?” And, after listening to their response, I talked about how God doesn’t do anything by accident and that He is the creator of everything.
3. Cam Newton
I would hate to have one of the instances where I mess up in a big way be on a global stage. Yikes. For those of you that don’t know, after the game, Cam Newton (who’s team lost) was very short with the media. After answering a few questions, he got up and left. The media and the public freaked out. And, in a lot of ways, the public reacted in a very hateful way. He was later reported to say, “show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a looser.”
That is circular logic, but it could be cool to transition the conversation into what it means to loose as a Christian. The idea that “everyone falls short of the glory of God” comes to mind. Even though we loose (in a lot of ways if you’re like me), it’s okay because we are still holy, righteous, and redeemed in God’s eyes.
4. Money. Money. Money.
For this Super Bowl, a 30 second ad cost around 5 million dollars. A simple way to get an idea of what someone values is to bring up this fact. Say something like:
Did you know that a commercial for the Super Bowl cost 5 million dollars? What would you do with 5 million dollars?
Then use their answers to talk about what ever it seems like their struggling with/valuing. For example, if they say something like, “I would give most of it away.” Then you can ask the question, do you think that will make you more qualified for Heaven? I love that question because faith in Jesus is the only qualification we need.
My prayer is that these ideas will give you more ideas (and I would love to hear them). I'm praying for boldness for both of us to step out in faith and use this event to grow God's kingdom. Have a great week. And GO BRONCOS!!
Jacque is the Missional Women Intern and a college student in Denver, CO who balances her time between trying to go to class and learning about His saving grace and perfect love as much as she can. She is a twenty something, DIY attempting, Jesus loving, Denver living, small town rooted, Colorado sports fan. She loves black coffee, long conversations and watching people do what God created them for. You can find her Christian Twenty Somethings blog at Desperately Dependent.
What is the Christian Bubble? The idea that someone is enclosed in a Christian community, with very little interaction with the outside non-believing world. It is easy to find yourself in one. You say "yes" a few times to many (with very good intentions) and the next thing you know, every day of your week is filled with some sort of ministry event. In December I realized I was caught in the Christian bubble--every day of the week was surrounded by people who pulled their truth from the Bible. How can we live missionally if we don't have anyone to share with?
1. Take The Initiative
My boss is a funny guy, with a great job, but he has never been married. As many times as I tell him he's bound to meet a great girl at my church--he refuses to go. The other day he said something that made me laugh, "I've come to the conclusion that a really pretty girl who likes watching movies isn't going to show up at my door with a pizza." That idea sounds ridiculous. But the notion of someone walking up to us at a grocery store and asking about God because we have a cross necklace on seems so normal? Just like my boss needs to talk to a girl before he can have a girlfriend, we need to meet someone to share the Gospel with them. Take the initiative to start a conversation.
2. Add Availability To The Check List
One of the ways that God gifted me in is the ability to connect the dots. I do college ministry in Denver, CO and that gift tends to be a blessing everyday. A few months ago, I walked into the room where we have our weekly meeting: I saw the lights needed to be turned on, the projector needed to be focused, and chairs needed to be put away. So I went to work. After a few minutes, my sweet friend came up to me and asked what I had done since I got into the room. I explained the check list I had finished. Then she asked, how is anyone doing in this room? Yikes. I had no clue. Over the course of the year, many new non-christian students come to our weekly meeting. Yet, how could I meet any of them if I'm too busy to be available? Try to keep an eye out for ways to live missionally in your already occurring ministry events.
3. Remember The Sabbath
My friend said something that shifted my perspective the other day, "the truth is, your life is your ministry. And, if you don't have a good home and work balance... burn out sets in." The shift came from stating the obvious that the Christian life we are called to is a full time job. But, the Christian life and ministry events are not synonymous. Look at the last few weeks of your planner--do you have time off? Time off meaning time away from Christians to meet non-Christians. If not, can you talk to God and see where you could step back? Taking a break is not only healthy, but Biblical.
4. Ask God For Help
I babysit for a family and sometimes have dinner with them. One of the kids always volunteers to pray. And the majority of the time it is the same thing: "God, thank you for my brother, my other brother, my sister, my other sister and my mom and dad. Amen." I love how the mom will sometimes ask them to use different words--getting the kids to realize its less about words and more about heart condition. And the same holds true for us. Pray in different words. Ask God to overwhelm you with opportunities to partner in growing His kingdom.
5. Kiss The Comfort Zone Goodbye
I think bubbles form when we get comfortable. Spending time with people who think the same way we do can be comforting and feel safe. But, God can do amazing things when we trust him outside of where we feel comfortable. Can you take a painting class? Or meet someone new on social media? Or trust God with something even crazier?
Jacque is the Missional Women Intern and a college student in Denver, CO who balances her time between trying to go to class and learning about His saving grace and perfect love as much as she can. She is a twenty something, DIY attempting, Jesus loving, Denver living, small town rooted, Colorado sports fan. She loves black coffee, long conversations and watching people do what God created them for. You can find her blogging for Christian Twenty Somethings at Desperately Dependent.
I didn’t have the textbook childhood, nor what I thought was the typical family. Christmases were spent playing drinking games and sneaking off to bars, instead of family dinners and time spent in prayer.
Do real families do that? I just imagine lots of prayer around a big rectangular wood table… but I could be making that up. Maybe that’s not how it is at all. Maybe the centerpieces, apron-wearing-mothers, and soft classic Christmas music playing from the corner is the product of all the years I spent imagining the perfect family.
When I was little, we still did the whole extended family Christmas thing. Cousins running around everywhere, uncles arguing politics in-between drunken slurs, aunts and family friends claiming to need to “run errands” after whispering about meeting up at the local dive bar.
Even though I had no idea about Jesus back then, I remember thinking that there has to be more to life than this. THIS! Is really all we were living for?
Then, as I got older, and family feuds got larger, we stopped going back to Nebraska for a big family Christmas. Instead, it was just my dad and I. Often, surrounded by other people who had nowhere to go on Christmas. Those were fun Christmases—lots of traditions came out of those. But they were never focused on God or what I would call God glorifying. Still lots of drinking and focusing on what presents were under the tree.
But, even then I would have a faint tickle of imaging what it would be like to have brothers and sisters, and parents that weren’t divorced—a loud bustling Christmas instead of the quiet one with just us.
It was then that I started to negotiate in my own head.
Instead of prayer around a table, maybe people just had thankful hearts towards God. Maybe, the apron-wearing-mother would be overwhelmed and burn something. Maybe, the kids would be running around and screaming over the Christmas music. Maybe, tree ornaments would break and babies would be crying and messes would be made.
I could deal with all of that. I would love all of that.
Then, this year, my dad’s work schedule came out. He flew out Christmas day. My already quiet Christmas just got a whole lot quieter. It was going to be Hallmark movies, my Saint Bernard Yogi, and me.
It was then, that one of the couples that I babysit for invited me over to their house for Christmas. And, I’m not talking about a passing pity offer (believe me, I’ve gotten those enough in my lifetime). A genuine in person invite, followed up by a phone call and a Facebook message.
It was then that I realized that I was wanted—that I could maybe dip my toe into the “real” family Christmas. Knowing this family, there would be crying, and kicking and screaming, and messes and at times just a loud roar of Children, but they wanted me to experience that with them.
I had a place to go. A place that would be to celebrate the birth of Jesus, which is really all that truly matters.
So, I urge you to look around in your own life. Look for those back-alley-dog type people, who have nowhere to go. Offer them a sincere invite into your crazy, messy, slightly dysfunctional family, and it will mean more to them than you ever know.
Can't do it for Christmas? That's fine. Family dinners work to. Or coffee. Or lunch. Really a sincere invite is all that counts.
People yield their lives to Jesus for so many reasons. Forgiveness, His Constant-ness, His plan and so on. But, sometimes, it’s because for the first time in their lives they’re unconditionally wanted.
You can reflect that. You can make someone feel wanted. Invite them into your mess.
Jacque is a college student in Denver, CO who balances her time between trying to go to class and learning about His saving grace and perfect love as much as she can. She is a twenty something, DIY attempting, Jesus loving, Denver living, small town rooted, Colorado sports fan. She loves black coffee, long conversations and watching people do what God created them for. You can find her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
You know those weeks? The weeks where your world is shaken? The weeks where you have to cling to what God says is true about you or you will just shrivel up? I just had one of those weeks.
I don’t get the “call me NOW,” texts from my dad very often. So, I immediately walked down the steps of the auditorium class, and called my dad from the hallway.
“Are you in a place where it would be bad if you freak out?”
“No,” I questioned.
“Zack killed himself in our cabin. I just called the police. He was such a good guy.”
I didn’t have words and my eyes were instantly blurry.
“I talked to him today,” Dad said, “I just can’t believe he actually did it. I can’t believe I didn’t know.”
In that moment I became numb. I realized how small I am, how big God is, and how thankful I am that Jesus died to forgive me. You see, death is sad— and suicide is horrible and I had made a mistake. I couldn’t help but to feel incredibly guilty. I had made the Gospel’s credibility about me.
Zack was terminally ill. He came to us looking for help. We employed him, gave him a place to stay and genuinely tried to fill his life with light. Long conversations and big smiles every time we saw him.
Two years ago I thought, “what a great opportunity to reflect God’s character… then once he knows that I’m a good person, I’ll tell him about Jesus.”
As if the Gospel needed ME to add to its credibility. The very raw truth is, that Zack did not need good people in his life… Zack (just like me and you) desperately needed Jesus.
The fact of the matter is, I didn’t use my words to live on Mission, I tried to use only my actions. That somehow, Zack would see my actions and understand that God sent His son to die on a cross to pay our debt because we were dead in sin.
Have you ever done that? Thought that you needed to improve yourself? Clean up your mess? Or prove your worth before sharing the Gospel? I did.
What would it have looked like if Jesus did that? What if Jesus was just a seemingly very good guy? But never taught, never told us who He was or what He was on earth to do out loud? What if He never explained God’s character, or that we would be forgiven? Would we look at Him the same way we do today?… I don’t think so.
As time has passed, and I have clung to God’s truth, I am reminded that His grace is sufficient. That people don’t save people, God saves people.
The Gospel’s credibility and worthiness was around long before you and I were, and will be after we are gone. Actions do speak loudly, but not as loudly as our words.
If we do our best to live the Spirit Filled Life and let our actions point back to the Gospel, but don’t stop at just that... If we speak the Gospel, breathe the Gospel, live out the Gospel! How much easier would it be for God to use us in His mission? How many more people would realize their need to be desperately dependent on Him?
Pssst.... this post is apart of the 5th Annual Not About Me November Series. Check the rest of the posts out here.
Who was Jesus? What is the Bible actually about? Watch this short video to find out.
Jacque is a college student in Denver, CO who balances her time between trying to go to class and learning about His saving grace and perfect love as much as she can. She is a twenty something, DIY attempting, Jesus loving, Denver living, small town rooted, Colorado sports fan. She loves black coffee, long conversations and watching people do what God created them for. You can find her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Halloween, perhaps the most controversial holiday among Christians. But if we step back and think about it in terms of advancing God's kingdom, it very well could be one of the most strategic ones (right up there with Christmas). Lets look at it objectively for a second. What other holiday do you get to go to your neighbors house and meet (if you haven't yet) and talk to them, and neighbors come to your house and you get to give them stuff. Two incredible opportunities that don't exist in as a norm in our culture. What a great opportunity that we can make the most of for the expansion of God's kingdom.
Here's some ideas of how:
For the trick-or-treaters:
Spend time prepping kids to see the holiday as an opportunity to serve and love the neighbors. Spend some time praying for the neighbors and who they will meet. Help kids think through what they could give the person giving them candy. Perhaps a tract or a colored thank you note with a verse on it (photo copied a bunch of times) or an invitation to church. Together pray God would use their steps of faith to glorify Himself and draw the people to Himself.
This could also be used as an opportunity to meet the neighbors you don't know. Remember their names (write them down if you need to) and then make a map with neighbors names on it to start praying for them. Introduce yourself and have a little small talk. If the opportunity arises, you could ask them what you could pray for them for.
For the candy givers:
Before the kids start coming pray for the kids who will come to your door. Ask God to give you ideas of how to encourage and affirm them and bring to mind other things He would want you to say to them. When the kids come give them the best candy AND a Gospel tract. Living Water has great optical illusions kids love. Or here are a ton more to choose from.) Make a list of the kids and you can then keep the list and your family can pray for them.
THE WEEK OF
Use activities you're involved in as a way to give the Gospel. For instance my son is in soccer and my daughter gymnastics. We are going to pack lunch bags full of yummy candy and a Gospel tract with a little note to give to each kid on their team. You can do this same goodie bag gifting at many other activities whether it be little league sports as well as adult group events.
What other ideas do you have?
Do you struggle with starting Gospel conversations? Here are 10 questions that can be used to start a great conversation. Try them this Halloween?
Laura, the founder of Missional Women is married and has five kids, two of whom are adopted. Laura and her husband have been missionaries to college students for 13 years serving with Master Plan Ministries where she is the Women's Development Coordinator. Laura has authored 5 books, including an award winning 12 week Bible Study on First Samuel, Beholding Him, Becoming Missional, Reach; How to Use Your Social Media Influence for the Glory of God, and A Devotional Journey through Judges, a devotional to accompany the free online Bible study at TheBookofJudges.com. You can find her on facebook, twitter, pinterest, youtube, instagram, periscope, blab and her author site.
I was fourteen. Swayed by the schoolgirl whose mom was non-existent; yet paid the mortgage so her daughter wouldn’t be homeless.
I longed for acceptance. My charismatic friend seemed to give it, while simultaneously criticizing my church-going parents; telling me I should be free, just like her.
I was ignorant, so I followed.
I ran away that freshman year, to the house of this rule-less girl; the one who sunbathed on her roof, wandered the streets under the moon, whose mother stayed out all night and never made her dinner.
Spinning lower, too young to recognize the world’s false freedom, like a prodigal squandering her inheritance; my dad waiting with the light on...but I never came.
Until one day, the phone rang.
She found me. My friend since birth, living states away. A few years older, like a sister. I respected her because she cared.
I listened while she didn’t condemn or judge, didn’t quote some scripture, or give me some churchy, “bad girl” sermon.
All she said was, “Don’t you know that you are loved?”
Still, sometimes I wonder in our world of mega churches, power preachers, conversion counting, and overseas evangelism; could we be forgetting…people are more than numbers, individuals need more than bulk formulas for conversion to bring them to the kingdom?
Don’t most people just need someone to love them, a friend who will listen, a Savior who never fails them?
Don’t people just need to be seen as a soul, a person….not a number?
Still, in our fast-paced society, vehemently attempting to reach the lost and needy; can’t we forget what Jesus teaches…leave the ninety-nine, reach the one? (Matt 18:12-14)
And I wonder, can’t it be easy to jingle our pockets, triumphantly boasting of the nine coins we’ve accumulated, all the while forgetting about the one, not sought out, and missing?
Doesn’t Jesus tell us; light a lamp, search the house, carefully look until we find it, then rejoice when it is found; knowing joy abounds in heaven when one sinner enters the Kingdom? (Luke 15:8-10)
Who has God put on your heart; that one compromised on Facebook, someone headed in the wrong direction, that person missing church more frequently, the one lost, nobody sees?
What if daily we…
I live my life determined not to miss, the one; pointing others home every chance I get, reminded that thirty years earlier, a friend saw me and never left me in my mess.
And isn’t there a world of hurting people all around us crying out for someone to tell them, “Don’t you know that you are loved”.
Who is that runaway God has put in your life? The one surfacing in your heart and mind as you read this? The one needing to hear even now as you read this…
“Don’t you know that you are loved?”
Though born, raised, and still living only miles from where she grew up, Jen's heart lies in the nations. Jen loves the beautiful tapestry found in the wide diversity of people, different cultures, and all nations. Jen and her husband have been married twenty years, and have parented fifteen kids and counting; twelve foster, one adopted, and two bios. Her multi-racial family reflects her passion for unity, desire for faith without walls, and missional mindset to share both the gospel and the power of redemption to a world desperately needing the hope found in Jesus Christ. Jen and her husband have led in a variety of ministries; including prayer, small groups, children's, and women’s. Jen advocates for the orphan as a board member for the non-profit, A New Song; and loves doing missions work internationally, along with her family. You can find Jen writing about faith, while challenging her readers at her blog, Rich Faith Rising, as well as at tweeting faith-filled messages @Jen_Avellaneda . Jen is also on facebook.
I could hardly hear my thoughts over the clattering of teacups at Bible study. It was time to share prayer requests, and it was my turn. For two years I dreamed of gathering moms from all over Sarajevo and surrounding areas with the purpose of mutual encouragement.
What prevented me from starting? Fear.
What if no one will help me and I'm overwhelmed? Or worse, what if I start it and no one comes?
However I decided it was time to take action. So I opened my calendar, picked a date and nervously announced when the first Mothers' Encouragement Group (MEG) would meet.
To my surprise, a new friend Julie approached me. "My passion is to encourage moms," she said excitedly. For several weeks we planned our first meeting. We agreed it would be quarterly, include brunch, with only lap babies present so we could enjoy conversation. Each gathering should have a theme, the first being ‘Vision in Motherhood.’
A month later the clatter of teacups chimed once more, along with the sweet aroma of conversation filling my apartment nestled in the Sarajevo valley. Julie and I were amazed as we watched the women walk in--older moms with grown children, younger moms just starting, and all in need of encouragement.
My dream had become reality.
But I was nervous. What if it flops and women hate it? What if I make a fool out of myself? After we filled our plates and sat together, I realized that this wasn't about my insecurities. It wasn't about me at all. This was about what God was doing.
A new mom who just returned to work shared, through tears, the difficulty of leaving her baby every morning. Other working moms nodded their support. She no longer felt alone. Another mom shared about feeling friendless in a world of strangers. She cried looking into the faces of 16 new like-minded friends. We spoke about perspective and what we want to see in our children once they leave home. As we brainstormed, we filled a document with beautiful words we wanted to be true of our families. How empowered we all felt at the end of those two hours to do what we are called to do!
Starting a Mothers' Encouragement Group isn't difficult and it makes a big impact when you have limited time. Here are tips to start your own:
1. Pray! Ask God if this something He wants to start in your city. Pray for moms around you.
2. Find another mom who has a similar passion. Agree to meet and plan a group.
3. Decide the details. Location? Date and time? Childcare arrangements?
4. Essential Elements:
Food (people asked to bring food)
Ice breaker: (As simple as introducing each other.)
Theme Ideas: Mommy Guilt, Meal Planning, Boundaries, finding beauty in every circumstance, discipline.
5. Fun extras:
We enjoyed this video and and this one too.
We asked local businesses to donate door prizes.
Starting a MEG is a great way to serve the moms in your community. It provides the opportunity for new and deepening relationships you would not experience otherwise and opens up doors for being able to share the Gospel and talk about how Jesus fits into every day life and talk about how Jesus gives hope, strength, perspective and and rest for our souls as moms.
Interested in starting MEG? I'd love to help. Click Here to send me an email.
Taylor has lived over half her life desiring to know God and make Him known. She is the wife to Josh Irby and the mother to four beautiful children. She lives in Bosnia working with college students and young moms. She loves creating art and music and teaching her children piano. You can read more on her blog: Irby Road.
When I moved to Thailand about five months ago, I knew embarrassingly little about Buddhism, even though it continues to grow in both Asia and the west, especially in an increasingly pluralistic world. I decided to spend some time learning about Buddhism and sharing the Gospel with Buddhists. Please note, there are large variations in the types of Buddhism that are practiced throughout the world. Most of the tips that follow can apply to any variety of Buddhism, however, they are based largely on my experience with Therevada Buddhists in Thailand. Below are some practical tips to for sharing the gospel with Buddhists. Many of these can also be used with adherents with other faiths, obviously making adaptations for their specific worldview.
1. One of the most useful tactics when sharing the Gospel with anyone is to first ask them to tell you about their worldview. Most people like to be heard more than they like to be talked to. Also, you should be interested in their answers, genuinely interested. If you aren't interested in hearing what this person has to say, perhaps you need to do a throne check and examine your heart before continuing. Ask them to tell you what they believe about God, sin, salvation, the afterlife, etc. Ask them what Buddhism means to them. Ask questions about anything surprising or unclear. Understanding where a person is coming from is very important to understanding what truths they will need to accept before they can accept Christ as Savior.
2. When sharing the Gospel with a Buddhist, it is important that you and they both understand what terms each other are using so that you can both understand each other. Do not assume that they have any basic biblical understanding. Use as few “Christanese” words as possible. Instead of asking “What do you believe the consequence is for sinning?” Instead say something like “What do you think happens to us when we do something wrong?”
3. Live a consistent lifestyle. Many Buddhists speak of being turned off by Christianity because they see inconsistent behavior in the lives of Christians. We must strive to see that our actions are consistent with our words and beliefs.
4. Show appreciation for those things which are good about the religion of the person you are sharing with. In Buddhism, this may be the empasis they put on being morally good, their desire for peace, their belief in life after death and their concerns about evil, suffering and conflict in the world.
5. Explain Christian ideas carefully and with love. Logical arguments are not as effective with Buddhists as one might expect, but stories can be quite effective. Talking about your own experience of God and using stories to illustrate biblical ideas can be very effective.
6. Opening the scriptures with them and inviting them to be a part of Christian events and community. Romans 10:17 speaks of how God works in peoples' hearts through reading the Scriptures. Engage in Bible studies to clear up misunderstandings about the teachings of the Bible and the person of Jesus (most Buddhists think he was a great moral teacher but not a savior).
Most of all, we must trust God that he is working in our Buddhist friends hearts and draw them to him. We should pray and be faithful to share the Gospel with him, ever trusting that we are joining in the work that God is already doing.
Melanie and her husband Joel live and do ministry in Bangkok, Thailand. She is mommy to baby Claire and a graduate of Denver Seminary with a degree in Intercultural Ministry. She enjoys traveling, reading and discussing theology, and spending time with her family and friends. She loves the adventure that comes with living every day in another culture.
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I will admit it. I am not naturally drawn to reach out to people around me.
I am partly introverted. So while I can be quite animated with those I am close to, I am very shy in crowds of new people.
This can lend itself to loneliness as I sit back hoping that someone will reach out to me and befriend me.
But I have discovered something recently: reaching out isn’t about me. It isn’t about meeting that need that nags at my soul for kinship and relationship, or satisfying that thirst to feel like I belong somewhere.
In recent weeks, I have opened up to those around me and shared about my deep and painful struggle with loneliness. Do you know what I’ve discovered? I am not alone. Every person I have shared with told me that they have had the exact same struggle. I find it peculiar that so many people sense an unmet need in their life for interpersonal relationship and yet are surrounded by people wherever they go.
Perhaps some of them are like me – waiting for someone else to reach out first.
Reaching out isn’t about us – it’s about others.
We need to approach relationship building from an unselfish perspective. Building relationships, mentorship, and discipleship isn’t about meeting our needs or building our ministry; it’s about meeting others’ needs and building the kingdom of God!
So often we grow myopic to the point that we can no longer see beyond our own selves to the deeper needs and more gaping wounds of those around us. It is in times like these that we must go to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to adjust our vision so our focus outward becomes clearer and our focus inward comes into proper perspective.
When our own needs occupy their proper place in priority, we are free to recognize the needs of those around us and reach out to them selflessly, with no strings attached. Our actions are no longer needy and our message is no longer manipulative. They become a simple act of becoming Jesus’ hands reaching out to those He longs to touch through us.
Jesus’ ministry wasn’t about gathering buddies around Him or building a ministry. His ministry was about meeting needs.
I challenge you today to look around you with a fresh pair of eyes. See the needy and hurting in your own sphere of influence. Ask the Lord for arms to reach out with selfless love that heals and restores.
This is what the church is all about! Reaching out is not about me, it’s about Jesus; it’s about extending His touch the world, it’s about building the kingdom one person at a time!
Rosilind, a Pacific Northwest native, is a missionary living in Croatia and married to her Bosnian hero. Together they live in the country with their 2 active boys where she enjoys fruity candles, good coffee and a hot cup of herbal tea on a blustery fall evening. Her passion for writing led her to author her best-selling book "The Missional Handbook. At A Little R & R she encourages women to find contentment in what God created them to be. You can also find her at Missional Call where she shares her passion for local and global missions. She can also be found at these other places on a regular basis. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +.