We know we are to “make disciples who make disciples.” In fact, I believe when we go deeper into understanding the heart of God, we will be compelled to do so. But we still wonder how we should go about sharing the gospel with others, especially in our ordinary, everyday lives. I pray these few thoughts below will be of some help as we wrestle with what it looks like to share the gospel within our daily routines.
Be aware of who is around you.
Are you aware of those around you? We need to think about where God has already placed us. Sharing the gospel is not always about adding new people into your life, but becoming aware of who is already around you and where you do life.
Consider doing a mental walk-through of your day. Write down some names or descriptions of people you encounter. Are they sometimes the same people? Where do you buy coffee, lunch, gas, and groceries? Are you in a study or work group? What about where you work or or where you exercise or where you walk your dog? This is your mission field.
Be interested in others.
Do you find people interesting? You should. Behind every face is a story. Therefore, spend some time getting to know the stories of those around you.
So how do you do this? Well, begin by saying” Hello” or asking “How’s your day? Also, get to know people’s names. If you are bad at names like I am, write them down or play a name association game. Do whatever works.
Also, learn to ask good questions. And by all means, don’t try to “top” someone else’s story. We need to get rid of the sin of one up-man-ship!
Learn to listen.
Learning to listen is directly related to being interested in others. When you ask someone “How ya doing?” ask it in a way that shows you really want to know. This means getting off your cell phone and paying attention. Sherry Turkle aptly writes in regards to our digital age that “we let digital devices dictate our daily life at a great cost. They are an assault on compassion.” We must not let our smart phone cause us to become unaware of people who are starving for someone to listen to them.
We are often told to pray for someone to talk to about Jesus, and by the way, I think this is good. But maybe we should also pray for someone in whom to listen. I know we are busy people and listening takes time, but I sometimes wonder why we are in such a hurry to get from point A to point B?
Learn to walk in another’s shoes
The old saying goes that we should never criticize a person until we have walked a mile in his or her shoes. In other words, don’t be so quick to judge. There is a reason people do what they do. The person who is rude to you while checking out at Wal-Mart probably doesn’t have a personal vendetta against you. You don’t know what kind of day he or she has had or for that matter, what kind of life he or she might be having to endure.
How do you begin to “walk in another’s shoes?” To start, learn to listen. I know we just mentioned listening above, but I don’t think we can escape it in learning to understand others. Jonathan Dodson records that Francis Schaeffer was asked what he’d do if he had an hour to share the gospel with someone. He responded by saying he’d listen for 55 minutes and then, in the last 5 minutes, have something meaningful to say.
Know the Gospel!
It’s imperative that we know the gospel story. And we must know it not just to share it with others as some sort of information piece, but also so that we can internalize it. The gospel story needs to rewrite our stories and replot our identity. For when it does so, we are doing more than just acting out a script, but telling the news of what God has done for us.
Remember, our announcement of good news is one of bringing life.