David Melton and his wife, Jenny, are part of our family at Christ Church. This is what God has been teaching him this summer:
I’ve worked with Campus Outreach at UGA for the past 3 years. This summer I was able to spend a month on the CO Summer Leadership Project in Panama City Beach, FL. Once a week we have a teaching time on the project called “Ministry Training” and I had the privilege of leading that time. It was a privilege because the Lord taught me so much about evangelism through His word, prayer, and experiences.To help explain I must first give a brief testimony. I came to know the Lord in college and in the most unlikely of places…a fraternity. My fraternity brothers and I would always joke about how everything we said and did must be “cool and tough”. We knew it was shallow but I think we all secretly believed it. After God changed my heart I didn’t realize that this “cool and tough” mentality permeated the way I viewed evangelism. The Lord gave me a desire to reach the lost around me but I wanted to make the gospel palatable and cool.During my three years in Athens it has been a joy to take part in the “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:18). Part of God’s sanctifying process, however, has been to help me see that my unbiblical view of evangelism has lingered. I found that I usually avoided any opportunity for a negative response to the gospel. This basically meant I was opposed to sharing my faith with anyone whom I did not have a “strong enough” relationship with. My false perception was, “if the person’s response is negative then my presentation or timing is off.”So you can imagine my dilemma when I was asked to lead ministry training this summer which is an hour of teaching followed by an hour on the beach sharing our faith! My dilemma led to much reading of God’s word and prayer focused on evangelism. What the Lord produced in me was a strong desire to share my faith...whether it was with an old friend or a complete stranger.What God has graciously been showing me is that I am called to “rightly handle the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15); God uses our spoken word to bring others to Christ (1 Pet 1:22-25); and the results are His (1 Cor 3:5-6). In other words, God has called us to accurately, humbly, and lovingly present the gospel regardless of any perceived outcome. So whether that person comes to saving faith, thinks I am incredibly awkward, or is even offended, my response remains the same…to pray for them, and praise God that he used me to share the message of life and freedom.
Thanks, David. As God creates opportunities for gospel conversations to take place in the course of ordinary events in our everyday life, this is a helpful reminder to not allow our perceived outcome keep us from the natural response to someone's questions or opinions about life.
Both of the books that David mentions are excellent and worth your time. We'll also be tackling this idea of evangelism in our weekly gathering on August 8th.