September 25, 2016
Evangelism is all about relationships . . . .
In meetings with church leaders, I continue to grow in my faith and in what it means to follow Christ. Through these encounters I am going deeper into what I already know in my heart: that evangelism is good news, relational, messy, and takes time.
For too long we have had this notion that evangelism is all about church growth. We believed that if we were simply trained in evangelism, then we would grow our churches. The problem with this thinking is that this approach does not work. There is no amount of training that will help people share something that is not already good news to them. Therefore, the Evangelism Office is working with Presbyterians to experience the deep connection between disciple making and evangelism. As we go deeper in our relationship with God and others in the faith community, we claim and reclaim our own stories of how God has changed our lives in Christ.
On a trip to San Fernando Presbytery this year, I met with many leaders in the church and was nurtured and equipped in my journey. As I met with leaders, many of them young adults, I kept hearing the following words over and over: gospel, Jesus, and reign of God. I met with people reaching people on the margins and reaching people in upper-class suburbs. The common denominator was being in relationship with people through the beauty and difficulty of life. These people were in intentional relationships with people struggling for meaning in their lives and neighborhoods. I heard about how messy and beautiful these relationships were, but that people were coming to Christ and joining in God’s mission in the neighborhood.
I met with one young leader with a ministry in a coffee shop. She meets with about 30 people a day. They process life together, and she has the chance to help them see God at work in their lives. She says she simply loves people as Jesus would love them. Arriving early for an evening meeting, I went to that same coffee shop, hoping to have another conversation with this young leader, but she was not present. So I sat down and enjoyed a cup of coffee while preparing for my meeting. A man, noticing my Georgia shirt, asked if I was from Georgia. Well, before I knew it, we were talking about life and faith. He opened up about his life and his need for God. I encouraged him to contact the church with which I was working in the area. I told him about the woman who serves people in the coffee shop. He said that maybe this was what he was missing. I prayed for him and we went our separate ways.
Evangelism is good news. It is living into our stories and sharing our lives and stories with others.
Ray Jones, Associate Director of Evangelism, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Today’s Focus: Evangelism Sunday
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Lynne Foreman, PMA
Sarah Foreman, PPC
Let us pray
Gracious God, the way of faithfulness is a path that requires your grace. The world is full of suffering, and we are easily overwhelmed. Remind us again and again of the good news we have received in your Son. Make us mindful of our lives and relationships so that we may witness intentionally and authentically to your life-changing love. Amen.
First Reading Jeremiah 2:4-13
Psalm 81:1, 10-16
Second Reading Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16
Gospel Luke 14:1, 7-14