Do you hear what I hear?
Gordon M Smith in his book Spiritual Direction, makes a brilliant comment and fleshes out an approach to evangelism that I concur with and see as very helpful.
I have recently been asking people--often unconverted people--this question: "Where are you on your spiritual journey?" Or, "What is happening on your present journey?"
Smith believes that if we approach evangelism from an event basis we are most interested in focusing our conversation on the following.
- This person needs to surrender to God.
- This person needs to ask Jesus into their heart
- If they are know God they need to know certain things, believe certain things, and agree to live in light of these truths
However, perhaps a better approach, according to Smith is the following:
- Could it be that God is at work in EVERYONE'S life?
- Evangelism is not so much a preprogrammed series of questions--but a particular response of a person at their stage of life.
Here is more from Gordon Smith
So, perhaps in evangelism I might built on the following assumptions:
- God is chasing people--I don't have to. God loves people more than I do.
- I too am on a journey --just at a different stage. So I need to be less aggressive to get the guy to buy into a critical stage of 'conversion.' I just need to help him keep moving and responding to the work of the Spirit that is already going on in his life (as well as mine!)
- I need to personally listen to the prompting of the Spirit--partnering with Him--as He draws the guy I am ministering to--towards Him.
- Pray most of all that a real demonstration of God's love flows through me towards people.
- I need to intently walk with people. I have a tendency to 'preach' at the lost. "Hey lost guy, I'm found--you're lost--listen to me so you can get found too!"
- I simply want people to hear what I hear. The sweet sound of the Father's feet as He runs to the front door to open it and hug me one more time!