It all started with an evangelism class taught by a motivational speaker who goes to my church. The speaker shared two things that changed my view of evangelism. First, he emphasized that coming to faith in Christ is almost always a process, not a one-time event. Imagine people on a -10 to +10 scale, he said. Negative 10 is openly hostile to Jesus. Positive 10 is a believer. God may not use you to lead an individual from +5 (leaning toward Jesus) to +10, but He may use you to take them from -10 to -5 or from zero to +5. Paul wrote that one sows, another reaps, yet God causes the growth (1 Corinthians 3:5-7).
Second, the speaker mentioned two audiotapes he had produced that present the Gospel. He’d hand a tape to someone, such as the postal carrier, and later ask what that person thought of it. Sometimes people were interested in talking more about Jesus.
I thought, “I’d like to be used like that.” I’ve never felt confident initiating one-to-one conversations, and I’m not a motivational speaker. But I can write.
I let the idea percolate for a while. I wanted to write a book that presented the Gospel in an engaging way, that dealt with questions people have concerning Christianity and that helped Christians initiate conversations about Jesus. A story began to form in my mind–a surprise to me, since I was purely a writer of non-fiction, Christian growth books. Writing evangelistic fiction was definitely outside my comfort zone. But after taking a creative writing class, I started to think that maybe I could do it.
A year or so later, I had exactly what I wanted–a 100-page story that I would want to give family and friends. I sent “Dinner with a Perfect Stranger” to a publishing company, which is releasing the book this summer. A movie has even been made of the book.
God is using me, the “non-evangelist,” to help share the Gospel with tens of thousands–in large part because my view of evangelism changed. Evangelism involves presenting to God the person you are and the gifts He has given you and asking Him to show you how He wants to use you in people’s journeys toward Jesus.
God may use you through one-to-one conversations. He may use you through public speaking, writing, developing a Web site, hosting a dinner party where a friend shares the Gospel, launching a service project in your community, organizing a neighborhood play group or inviting someone to church. Just be honest with people. Share your heart. Say that you simply want them to hear the Message that has meant so much in your life.
We all have specific gifts and interests that God can use in spreading the Good News. He made us the unique individuals we are. Just ask Him how He wants to use you, and be open to His answer. There may be a great blessing just outside your comfort zone.