Recently, I wrote an article from my reflections on the first chapter of the book of Jonah titled The Dangers of Withholding the Gospel. If you read that, you might think to yourself, “I understand that I am to share the gospel; that’s not difficult to me. However, where I am lost, is how do I even get started in sharing the gospel?”
The following processes for evangelism are not my own. I have received them from a 9Marks workshop on evangelism. I hope that they will equip you and encourage you in your effort to share the good news of Jesus Christ. One of the ways that we can increase our evangelistic efforts is through positioning ourselves spatially.
To evangelize effectively we must be close to people. I am not advocating that we only share the gospel with those that we share a close relationship; I am advocating though that we must be around people if we wish to evangelize them. How can we position ourselves spatially? We do this in three ways: through hospitality, habits, and hobbies.
First, hospitality is a key way in building relationships with others. We must ask ourselves, “What resources has God equipped me with that I can leverage for the sake of the gospel?” For many, one of the greatest resources that we have is our homes. The early church is described in Acts has having “all things in common (Acts 2:44).” We see the early church devoting themselves to the study of doctrine, prayer, and the sharing of meals (Acts 2:46). Whether it be sitting at a restaurant watching a game or sitting around the table enjoying a meal together, oftentimes relationships are established and strengthened around the table.
Inviting people over for meals is a great way to spark conversation and build fellowship with one another. However, hospitality doesn’t necessarily have to include meals together. If you are a younger parent, you can open your house for “play dates” with other families. It has been my wife’s experience that moms are eager to get out of their house with their kids to fellowship with other kids and moms.
Maybe you’re not a parent, or your kids have grown up and are no longer interested in “play dates.” How can you use your home to be hospitable? If you’re into sports, you could use invite others into your home to watch a game or have a game night with other couples. Game nights have been great for building relationships with other families that we know.
Perhaps you’re not eager to open your home to others just yet. How else can you be hospitable? Think about your work. How can you be hospitable in your place of employment? Maybe bring donuts in for the office or use the break room for a place of facilitating conversation. We might differ on how we show hospitality, but as Christians, we must be hospitable. The question we need to ask ourselves is “How can I show the warmth and love of Christ to those around me?”
Second, we can use our habits for the spread of the gospel. A great question to ask yourself is “Where do I find myself weekly?” Do you find yourself going to the same coffee shop, gas station, hair salon, gym, etc. on a regular basis? If so, these are great opportunities to share the gospel. When my wife and I were in seminary, we weren’t the richest couple (we still aren’t!). I realized that one way I could cut down on expenses was to cut my own hair. I know, that sounds crazy, but it’s not as complicated as you might think. I kept this up even as we moved to New England.
This has changed in the recent days. Located across the street from our home is a hair and beauty school. I learned that they allow walk-ins for their students to gain practical experience for a cheap price. I decided that I would begin walking over there to have my hair cut by the barbers. This is a great way to build relationships and an easy way to have conversation with others.
What are some of your habits that you can use for the spread of the gospel?
Third, our hobbies are a great avenue to share the gospel. From an early age I have loved to work out. Almost every morning I will wake up and go to the gym. I thought that this would be a time that I could speak with others and build relationships. However, I have learned that many people don’t want to be “bothered” with talking with strangers while they’re working out. In my experience, most people have headphones in and are listening to music while working out. This makes it difficult to enjoy conversation. Therefore, I have been thinking about dropping my membership at my local Planet Fitness and joining a CrossFit gym.
These gyms are designed around community. Although I may not be the biggest fan of CrossFit, it’s a good way for me to continue to work out while also establishing relationships with others. If we want to establish relationships with non-believers, then we must be intentional about how we meet them. You may not be a fan of the gym and that’s okay. How can you use your hobbies to meet new people? Do you like to run? Try and find a running club in your area to meet with regularly. Do you like to cook? Think about inviting others over for a cooking class or trying out new recipes.
A great example of using one’s hobby for building relationships can be seen through our associate pastor, Timothy. Our church is a couple blocks from a local college. Timothy has noticed large groups of students fellowshipping together and learned that they gather together to play Pokémon Go. I know nothing about this game, but Tim has downloaded the app and has joined some of these students on their “adventures” (or whatever you would call them). This has been a great way for meeting some college students and investing in their lives.
I know these may seem like basic ways of sharing the gospel, but I believe that if we are intentional in these areas, we can see great fruit. Please, think through how you can use your resources, your habits, and your hobbies for the spread of the gospel. May God be glorified through the spreading of the gospel.
For further study on this idea of spatial positioning, check out the 9Marks workshop on evangelism. You can find it here.
Soli Deo Gloria
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