There is a word that strikes fear into the heart of some people. Just the mention of it sets their hearts racing, brings them out in a cold sweat and turns them into jelly. Anxiety levels go through the roof, jaws drop to the floor. Panic stations all around.
No. The word is not evangelism.
During this week when the school I work in in the daytime (before transforming at night and weekends into an evangelism consultant), we were visited by Ofsted. Actually the staff stayed very calm in the circumstances (including myself).
But during one of the days of their visit, in the midst of meetings, questions, observations, data collection and analysis, I had to speak to a student about a behaviour issue. I am quite a one track minded person (some might say very…) so my mind was struggling anyway as it was flying in all sorts of directions.
Then out of nowhere the student says “So have you always been a Christian?”
I could and still can’t remember even saying to this student I was a Christian although many people at school do know. Certainly we had had no previous conversation about it, even if I had mentioned it before. Was it the time to talk about it? There was the issue about behaviour, Ofsted were hovering around (not literally, contrary to some beliefs they are only human) and was it an appropriate subject for school anyway some would ask.
But making sure I responded only to that and his further questions, always emphasising it was my personal or the Christian view, we proceeded to have a conversation about my decision to follow Jesus at 17 years old.
Colossians 4 v 5 says that we should make the most of every opportunity. Like my experience this week, these can be at the most inopportune time, when we are not ready for it, looking for it, prepared for it.
By looking out for and responding to opportunities as they arise in our daily lives as much as we can, sharing our faith can be much more natural (Colossians 4 v 6). It might still set our hearts racing, bring us out in a cold sweat and turn us into jelly. But as the evangelist J.John has said, the best evangelism happens when people are on the offensive and we are on the defensive.
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