What's your story?
What stops you from telling others the gospel?
What’s your story?
Evangelism can take many different forms. Some of us are outgoing and love speaking to randomers on the bus about Jesus, while others couldn’t think of anything worse. Yes, we should be bold and profess the hope we have in Jesus but we all have different skills and characteristics. We should model ourselves on Jesus and his ministry on earth. He spoke in front of crowds, debated in the synagogue but he also had quiet, intimate conversations that changed the hearts of those he spoke with.
Evangelism is sharing the Good News. What’s this Good News? It’s the news of redemption and restoration. It’s Good News made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s what theologians would call ‘an act of God’s self-emptying love.’ It’s an outpouring of God’s love for humankind. Sometimes we are called to shout about it from the rooftops but more often than not it is during quiet, intimate conversations with our colleagues and classmates that we have the best opportunities to share our hope.
My advice? Next time you want to share the Good News but don’t quite know how, ask, ‘What is your story?’ Just listen with no comment or judgement as the person shares their life’s highs and lows.
I look back at the events of my life and see a mixed bag. There are some things that I am proud of but a whole bunch of things I’d rather forget. But if I want Jesus to write the next chapter of my life, I need to give him my story so far.
In John’s gospel we read of Jesus’ encounter with a Samaritan woman. Over a mundane encounter of drawing water from a well he says ‘Go, call your husband and come back.’ Jesus says this knowing her story but in order to redeem it he needed her to say it, ‘I have no husband.’
When we present our story to Jesus, he doesn’t learn anything new. This is Jesus we are talking about, he knows everything! What changes is something in us, we let him in.
When the woman at the well made herself vulnerable, that encounter with Jesus changed something in her thinking; she knew that he was the Messiah.
It sounds so simple to ask, ‘what’s your story?’ It is! The thing is, no one will come to Jesus because of your words alone. It’s the Holy Spirit working through you that will lead to your words speaking right into someone’s situation. Hearts are only changed by an encounter with Jesus. You don’t need to have all of the right answers, the Holy Spirit will guide you. Just ask the Spirit, ‘be in our conversation, redeem this story.’ I’ve found that when I just listen with no agenda, just hearing someone’s story, that’s when the real conversations happen.
So, what do you do once they’ve told you their story? Reassure them that Jesus knows their story and has come to redeem it. To start that process all they need to do is present their story to him.
Then tell them your story! You may think that your story is too ordinary but it’s the only story you’ve got so you may as well own it! Tell them that yes, your parents are Christians but you still struggle with how life can be so hard, you still make the wrong decisions and you still hurt people around you, and yet... Jesus has redeemed your story. Tell them Jesus’ story, a story of rejection and resurrection. Tell them that if God can redeem that story he can redeem anybody’s.
Evangelism doesn’t have to involve placards and a megaphone. Instead it can be in a coffee break or during a car journey. Jesus met with the Samaritan woman over a drink of water. Most of the evangelism I do involves a nice cup of tea and somehow, that seems rather fitting!