I said in Part 1, that in the Great Commission, Jesus commanded His disciples then and now to make disciples of all nations. Jesus defined the two parts of that task as baptizing and teaching them to obey. If there are no efforts in prayer or connecting with individuals in the community, there will be no relationships resulting in invitations to homes, class, class fellowships, worship, or Jesus. Thus, prayer and relationship evangelism usually preceed decisions for Christ and baptisms.
Reaching out must occur before teaching and life-change can take place. And yet there are often excuses given for not reaching out. Mark Mittelberg has written a great article entitled Ten Excuses: How to Respond to Those Trying to Dodge the Great Commission.
I DON’T KNOW HOW TO BRING UP THE TOPIC. Relax. Pray for the Holy Spirit to speak through you. Look for teachable moments. Share how God has been real in your life. Share about the direction and purpose He has given. Share about the hope you have. But begin with his/her needs and casual topics as the door through which you walk through conversationally. Share about the ways Sunday School has been helpful, about the friends you have, and about the ministry you have received. Check out Sunday School Testimony: Powerful Revolutionary Tool.
I WOULDN’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY ONCE THE TOPIC WAS RAISED. I like Mittelberg’s comment here: “That’s okay because it’s best to do more listening at first anyway.” As you get to know the person through listening, you will be able to share from the Holy Spirit (see above) and your experience. You will be amazed at lessons God has taught you in your quiet time, Sunday School, worship, and life that He will use in these conversations. Your Sunday School friends can also join you in praying for encounters you will be having.
I DON’T KNOW ENOUGH. That is true for us all, but the Holy Spirit does. Trust Him. Be faithful in using what God has entrusted to you. As Henry Blackaby has taught us, be faithful in the little and He will trust you with more. If a question is asked that you are not prepared to answer, just be honest. Tell him/her that you don’t know but you will be glad to find out and let him/her know later. Sunday School is a natural place for asking these questions and even to invite your friends to learn together with you.
IN OUR CHURCH’S TRADITION, WE DON’T TALK ABOUT PERSONAL FAITH. Will your friends understand the gospel message unless you share it? You may be the chosen messenger. Find ways to share that are comfortable, whether conversationally, by sharing resources, or connecting them with another friend. Seek suggestions for sharing with your friend from your class.
MY CHURCH IS MORE INTO TEACHING AND WORSHIP THAN EVANGELISM. Reaching your FRANs is important. If you don’t, then no one else may. Learn on your own. Grow as a disciple. Share from your experience in Sunday School, worship, and life. Invite your friend, relative, associate, or neighbor to join you for teaching and/or worship. Talk about what he/she heard. God’s Word will not return void. Invite your friends to your home, to class fellowships, to class, to worship, and to Jesus. Allow the Holy Spirit to work in his/her life!
Have you heard any of these excuses for not reaching out? Have you ever used any of them? Read Part 1 for the first five excuses. Ask God to help you know how to respond in a way that will honor Him. Be faithful in reaching out to share Jesus and in leading others to do the same. Your FRANs need Jesus. And they need you to share Him with them. Pray. Reach out. Be revolutionary!
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