A quick thought on evangelism

I am currently writing my second-to-last sermon in the book of Acts. The journey through this part of God’s Word has been extraordinary for me; hopefully, for our congregation as well. To see Jesus bring his gospel through Peter and Paul to the world can only birth broken humility and great hope.

One thing I’ve noticed, that I should have learned before: the gospel is simple but it is not simplistic. When he finally got to Rome, Paul called the Jewish leaders to hear his case and then hear the gospel. Rather than lay out before them a five (or forty-five) minute gospel presentation, Paul proclaimed and reasoned with them all day!

Here’s my thought (which reminds me that I’ve been told this already by wiser saints): while it’s good to find ways to communicate the gospel or something about Christ quickly–testimonies, gospel illustrations, etc.–we would do well to work toward much longer evangelistic opportunities. Hours. Days, even. As the wiser saint told me, “I wouldn’t expect someone to buy life insurance after hearing a five minute presentation. How can I expect them to bow before Christ within five minutes?”

To be sure, God can use any gospel message to save souls. But for our part, let’s find ways to have our unbelieving friends sit down to a feast of the gospel rather than simply serving fast food.

4 Comments

  1. Barry York July 29, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    How true, Jared. As you know, the book also starts that way, for even on Pentecost Peter was solemnly testifying with many other words (Acts 2:40). And as you say, not to limit our God’s ability to use a short time or message to save, but His ordinary way of bringing about the extraordinary joy of reaping is through much sowing and watering.

    May we persevere in this work.

  2. Nate July 31, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    Completely agree with this and found this blog post refreshing (as I tend to find all the posts on here). One quick thought, as recently reminded by a good friend: I think, as you said, it would be (most of the time) fruitless to expect a five-minute conversation to lead someone to bow before Christ. If that’s the point of a five-minute conversation, then we’d be better off in other more fruitful endeavors.

    But maybe a better perspective to have on a five-minute conversation then isn’t to see someone moved from -1 to 1 on a spiritual scale (simplistic illustration). Instead, it’s five minutes that might move someone from being a -10 to the gospel to a -9.9 or from -100 to -99.9. Just as five minutes of a five-hour long talk or five minutes of a five-year long relationship might do the same.

    I don’t think that disagrees with the post at all, but I think a faulty response to this post would be ‘sweet, no more conversations with the guy sitting next to me on the plane’.

    • Jared Olivetti August 2, 2011 at 6:45 am #

      Nate, absolutely. Thanks for adding that helpful note!

  3. J O August 1, 2011 at 8:07 am #

    Thanks for sharing this great reminder.

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