My chapel is almost to the end of a series of Wednesday night studies called “God Space”. Our elders petitioned everyone to make an effort to come out to these meetings and arranged to have child care so that families could come out.
The series is teaching us how to engage in natural conversations with the lost about the Lord. I have to say, short of hearing gifted evangelists speak from the pulpit about their conversations with people, I have not ever been taught how to naturally engage the lost. I was incredibly excited to go to this series and see if I can change my dull record of engagements with the lost. I have to say that I have had way too many “missed”, “shoulda said this”, and “Wow, I just assaulted that person” moments.
The first time I witnessed to someone was when I was 17 years old, shortly after I got saved. A close friend in junior highschool that I had not heard from in a while had called. I said “Kim, I am going to tell you something and I am telling you this because I don’t want you to die, go to hell and then say Janice, ‘why didn’t you tell me?'”
I think I stunned her because she was quiet the whole time I witnessed to her. When I was done she thanked me for telling her then said that she was agnostic. We had a nice conversation about what we were both up to and then the call was ended. We engaged in other sporadic phone calls but they diminished as we both went to post secondary schools and life got busy.
A year or two passed without hearing from her then I received another call from my friend Kim. She said “Janice, you’ll never guess what happened to me!”I took a guess, was wrong and she said “No, something you would never guess would happen to me!”and it dawned on me. “You got saved?” I said. She answered yes and continued to tell me about it and how she had to tell me because of that conversation a few years ago. It was thrilling.
I am not sure that telling people I don’t want them going to hell and asking why I didn’t say anything to them is the best way to engage people, so I am grateful for this series at our chapel. I could share all the notes but I just want to share with you what is impressing upon me the most.
If our hearts are not loving the lost then witnessing just becomes a chore that we have to check off on our list. And it will feel that way to the people we are engaging.
I have a feeling that is where I have been going wrong. I know I have to do this, I know I should be doing it, but I have gotten distracted by other things. I am not loving the lost and my heart is not breaking over them. So first and foremost, I need to be praying for God to change my heart for the lost.
My impression of the “God Space” series is that it is delving into the basics of social interactions and gives great practical things to think about and practice when your desire is to witness to a neighbour, a co-worker or a family member.
These are basics that we should know naturally but may have lost in this changed world of busy schedules and technological communications. Things like
CREATING a safe space for people to feel safe talking about spiritual things.
NOTICING people and what could be going on in their lives and praying for them.
LISTENING without waiting to talk.
ASKING “I wonder”questions that don’t necessarily tell them things flat out but gets them to start thinking about God.
Though this book/series is not deep in theology, I would recommend this for the practical lessons and pair it with a study in using the word of God to witness.
What I am grateful for with this series is that we as a chapel are doing it together. There are times where we break off into discussion and thinking together on ways to reach out and praying about it. We are working together and encouraging one another in our efforts to bring the gospel to our neighborhood around the chapel.
Engage in outreach
The hope is that we will use these lessons as we continue in our various regular outreaches to actually engage with the people we encounter.
I hope more assemblies see the need to teach these skills and not only that, but use them with hearts that have a love for the lost.