Evan 525 Spring 2015 Forum 2

In McRaney, Chapter 2, the author states, “dealing with lost people will cause us to get our hands dirty and sweaty just like tending to yard work. Part of evangelism is to clear up misconceptions and misperceptions people have about the gospel. Dealing with people and evangelism is often messy.”  Consider your own conversion experience. Explain how it demonstrated “the dirty work of evangelism”? What does the discipline of servanthood evangelism teach you about the “necessity of/dirty work of” evangelism? Make sure that you address how your emerging biblical theology of evangelism and practical experience of faith can assist people in addressing their misconceptions/misperceptions regarding the gospel.

My conversion story demonstrated “Dealing with lost people will cause us to get our hands dirty and sweaty just like tending to yard work” because I was a mixed up teenager who did some despicable things to escape from her parents after being lied to by her father and step-mother. [1]  I was twelve years old when the truth about my parentage was revealed. Nothing is worse for a child than to know that; (1) She was born out of wedlock. (2). She had been abandoned by her birth mother on the front door steps of her grandmother’s front porch when she only two weeks old.  The psychological and emotional damage of this revelation led to me develop a distrust for my father and step-mother that never waned.  Father figures were not to be trusted.  That was my final dictum. Why did it demonstrate “the dirty word of evangelism”?  A trust broken at such a young age shattered this individual’s trust for all adults.  I was determined that no adult would be able to reach me.

That was no adult except my grandmother.  I ran away to the family home in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire (UK). My grandmother was dying of cancer.  My life was a mess.  I was a mess, and my grandmother was dying.  My hopes of a normal life were dashed to pieces.  My grandmother was my evangelist.  She was not at all concerned about her eternal rest. She knew where she was going.  On her death bed, she was a “servant evangelist” to her granddaughter; she sowed the seeds, watered them like a master gardener and dug around the dirt of my life.[2]She waded into the murky and messy water of my life and utilized the discipline of servant evangelism to clear up the mess that I called my life.

She epitomized the supreme power of evangelism; discussed the work of the Holy Spirit; clarified my misconceptions of God as my Father and a Father of Love.[3]  My grandmother’s example of servant evangelism taught me that servitude is a noble thing.  Reaching out to someone and sharing the gospel with them is all that is required of me.  Her act of servant evangelism was a “single encounter” that utilized the “interpersonal approach”.[4]  She had no way of knowing if her conversation would lead me to accept Christ as my personal Savior, but she had the conversation anyway.

Evangelism brings with it many misperceptions. The biggest misperception is the role of believers as it pertains to evangelism.  Although the Bible stated that God does the calling, He uses believers to tell the story in a personal, relational, and intentional manner.  Believers are not responsible for “saving” people.[5] Understanding that this scripture is as alive today as it was when it was first penned, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow” (1 Corinthians 3:6 New International Version) will eliminate many of the misconceptions/misperceptions regarding the gospel.  I am a gardener so I relate to this scripture.  Planting seeds require work, and it is messy work.  However, when they germinate and bloom into sunflowers, zinnias, hollyhocks etc., there is nothing more beautiful that a bed of flowers.  Gardening is my theological reminder of the work of evangelism.  God created mankind to have a personal relationship with him. God’s word will never return to Him void.  We must believe that when sharing the gospel with others.  McRaney declared, “We mistakenly think that we save people. God alone does this. Additionally, the Scriptures teach us that when people do not respond, they are rejecting the Holy Spirit, not us (1 Thess. 4:8).”[6] When a person rejects the gospel believers take it personally.

When one approaches an individual with the intent of sharing they must remove themselves from the equation and rely on the Holy Spirit to speak through them. There is no win or lose scenario.  Understanding that one’s faith in The Lord to give us the right words for that specific person with whom we are sharing the gospel is crucial to the process of personal evangelism.   It is as simple as sharing a meal with a person who is starving.  The worse thing they can do is throw it in your face [it gets messy then].  The best thing they can do is eat it and nourish their bodies.  The gospel nourishes their soul.

Notes


[1] William McRaney, The Art of Personal Evangelism: Sharing Jesus in a Changing Culture (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2003), 34-35, Kindle Edition.

[2] Ibid.,

[3] Ibid., 48-49.

[4] Ibid., 54.

[5] Ibid., 60.

[6] Ibid.

Bibliography

McRaney, William. The Art of Personal Evangelism: Sharing Jesus in a Changing Culture. Nashville, : Broadman & Holman, 2003.

 

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