Making the best use of an evangelistic dinner
"Hey mate, do you fancy coming along to this event on Monday? Meet some other law students, get pizza and a drink for a tenner, oh and there's a short talk about Christianity."
There are some ways to evangelise to our friends that can be awkward and uncomfortable; the LCF Student and Young Lawyers Evangelistic Dinner was not one of them. The evening was a fantastic opportunity for young lawyers and student to come together and share on their experiences of living out their faith in the legal world, and for non-Christians to hear the Christian message in a relaxed atmosphere over a pizza and a coke. The evangelistic message was clear and concise, an obvious benefit of inviting a member of the judiciary, HHJ David Turner QC, to give the speech. While conversation flowed and the general level of chatter rose, I wondered whether evangelism was actually as difficult as we sometimes think.
In Matthew 28:19 Jesus commands us to "go and make disciples of all nations", a duty which can often seem daunting and unassailable. Firstly, what does it mean? Are we really to make disciples of all nations? Then a second question arises - once we know what we're called to do, how do we go about doing it? If you're looking for a definitive answer to those questions then unfortunately you won't find it in this article! However, the Great Commission clearly imposes a duty on all Christians to share their faith with others. Sometimes when duties are given to us they can feel like a burden, like one more thing we have to do, an added responsibility on top of everything else that we have going on. For lawyers the most pertinent issue is often time – there is simply not enough of it!
When we think about the message that we are to tell people, about what God has done and continues to do in our lives, about the saving grace of Christ's death, and about the power of the Holy Spirit in us, we realise that the message we are giving is truly good news. We are telling people about our God, who created the earth and everything in it, who loves the world so much that he gave his only son to die for us. We are telling people about a God that wants to know us, to be in relationship with us, who loves and cares for us. We are telling people about a hope in the everlasting, a life eternal with freedom from sin. When we take the time to reflect on the power and the truth of the message we are bringing, evangelism doesn't seem to be so much of a duty, but rather an opportunity.
How then can we seize this opportunity? How best to tell people of the goodness of God in our lives? Well, imagine that what we're talking about is not a religion. Imagine instead that it's a concept, for the sake of the example it's a business idea. How would you like to hear about the business idea? You might like to hear about it on a flyer, you might like to see an advert on the television. You might prefer to find it for yourself, while browsing on the internet, or having been referred to it by another site. But perhaps you might take more notice of this 'business idea' if a personal friend of yours had recommended it to you. They might go on to tell you about how it had completely changed their business and they were now reaping the benefits of the idea. They tell you how you too could use the idea and get started. Suddenly the idea becomes a lot more attractive!
Now what I'm not saying is that we need to market our faith like a business! Instead, as those with first-hand experience of the power of God's love, we are in the best possible place to be advocates for his kingdom. In the book of Acts when Peter and John are called before the Sanhedrin, they state in Acts 4:20 that "we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." In the same way that we have seen and heard what God is doing in our lives and the lives of others, we are in a great position to share the good news. Throughout the New Testament there are examples of believers speaking confidently about their faith and in doing so they bring others to accept Jesus as their Lord.
The thing is, it's never the most obvious information to volunteer, is it? A friend asks you how your weekend was, you tell them that you had a relaxing time, watched some sport, maybe got a few things done around the house, and caught up on that admin you had been meaning to do. It doesn't seem to be socially acceptable to tell colleagues that you went to church, spent time worshipping the creator of the universe, listened to a talk on the Bible and then had some time for prayer. However, just slipping into the conversation the fact that you went to church will often prompt another question such as "Oh, you're a Christian?" which is often followed by "what kind?" Telling friends and colleagues doesn't have to be a well-rehearsed history of the Bible or the gospel message condensed into three easy to remember acronyms. Quite simply it can just be about telling them about how being a Christian affects your like. It's your personal recommendation of your faith, and it can be given as simply as telling someone what football team you follow.
I guess the key thing in it all is not to be ashamed of your faith. As Christians we have to believe that the message we are bringing is truly good news for the world, it's a message of salvation! If we can accurately describe the joy and freedom that we have in Christ then that will serve as a powerful testimony (recommendation) to anyone we talk to.
So why the evangelistic dinner? Well sometimes it can be difficult to articulate our faith. Sometimes it's difficult to give the 'gospel message' in a way that does it justice. Evangelistic events like this are an opportunity for us to invite our friends and colleagues to hear the message from a speaker who has had the time to prepare what they want to say, and can communicate the message effectively. It's also an opportunity for us to tell others about our personal faith. When we invite others to a Christian event, they invariably ask about our faith. That's the important thing, creating opportunities to share our experience, our faith. How do we do evangelism? Quite simply, we tell people about our faith. That's what missionaries world-wide are doing, and its what we can do too.
Here are a few ideas about creating opportunities to share your faith:
· Tell people about what you actually did at the weekend, tell them about Church
· Wear something that declares your faith – maybe a cross around your neck, a Christian hoodie, a WWJD band, a promise ring, anything that gets people interested
· Invite people to an evangelistic event
· BE different. Make people ask why you do things differently/treat people differently.
· Have Christian music on your ipod. People invariably ask what you're listening to.