What’s one thing I wish I knew when I started preaching the gospel?
…that if I would just speak out, God will do the rest!
It might seem obvious, but I’ve learnt over the years that people are far more likely to respond to Jesus when we give them the chance to do so, than when we chicken out and say nothing at all. None of my friends would say that my primary gifting is that of an evangelist. I love Jesus and I love people, but it would be true to say that I’ve had to develop and give some thought to the way I invite people to respond to the gospel.
At the end of my first year at University, I went on a mission trip to the Philippines. Part of our work involved going from hut to hut talking to people about Jesus and distributing gospel tracts in their language, Tagalog. Every time we did this, we would start the day covered in prayer and oozing with confidence. Yet a mixture of the forty degrees heat and a lack of response meant that we would often return to our base weary and discouraged.
One afternoon, it was suggested that we should visit the hut of the local witch doctor. To be honest, I really didn’t hold much hope that this lady would respond to Jesus. Yes, she was a spiritual lady; but she certainly wasn’t interested in the Holy Spirit. She couldn’t speak English and my pathetic attempt at explaining the tract by means of stick men drawings and visual signs weren’t impressing her at all. However, the next morning her daughter knocked on our door and explained that her mother had been taken ill during the night. Knowing that she was on her death bed, the witch doctor asked her daughter to fetch the gospel tracts we had left with her the previous afternoon. As she lay dying, the woman confessed her sins, gave her life to Jesus, passed away and we were made special guests at her funeral.
1 Peter 3:15 reminds us to ‘Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.’ Whether we’re preaching from a platform or sharing our faith in a one to one setting, let’s make sure that we present the gospel clearly and give people an opportunity to respond. Like me, you might not be the most gifted evangelist, but we’re all called to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). If we just speak out, God will do the rest.
Siân Rees, Director of Evangelical Alliance Wales