As the Branch has been rolling for about a year now, we have had some wonderful moments and seen some new families get connected, but as I’m praying about how God would have us move forward, it’s clear we need to grow in our commitment to reaching out to others to point them to Jesus. I know I have a tendency to rely on gifted evangelists and support missionaries who are particularly gifted at this. Others think it’s the pastor’s job. But it’s really the responsibility of all of us.
Michael Green wrote Evangelism in the Early Church and he writes,
“… this must not lead us to suppose that the ‘professional’ played and an unduly large part in the spread of Christianity. The very fact that we are so imperfectly aware of how evangelism was carried out and by whom, should make us sensitive to the possibility that the little man, the unknown ordinary man, the man who left no literary remains was the prime agent in mission” – p. 172.
I love that. The unknown ordinary man – and woman! It isn’t the huge, historic figures that create a movement toward Jesus (though God certainly uses them!), it’s the accumulated faithfulness of ordinary people pointing others toward the God who has changed their lives. I realize I’m a pastor, but I count myself among the ordinary and this brings me great encouragement (God can use me!) as well as great trepidation (the sidelines are not an option!).
As I think of my personal story, Green’s quote rings true. I came to know Jesus as a senior in high school long ago. It wasn’t the stunning preaching of an evangelist or the keen reasoning of a professional apologist. It was a few friends and their families who showed me what Jesus looked like in a life. It was praying parents and little brother. It was God working in lives around me, saving classmates who I would never have imagined getting saved. All of these factors – small by many standards – joined forces and I was finally forced to submit to the inevitable. Jesus loved me and demanded my allegiance for life.
He got it.
And now I’m thinking about how I can share this with others. It starts with friendship. Living to bless others inevitably means you’re going to make some friends. But part of blessing is also pointing people to Jesus, the ultimate source of blessing. Sometimes it’s more comfortable to leave this part out, but Michael Green again directs us toward some good balance:
“They did not obtrude themselves, but neither did they shrink from bearing personal testimony out of their own experience to the truth of what they proclaimed to others.” – p. 206-207
This proclamation can happen at any time, in any place, but Easter can be a particularly fruitful time. If you’ve been thinking about inviting that friend to church, now’s a great time to invite them. It’s one of those days where people feel like they should go to church, even if just for a week. Why not ask them, if they don’t have previous commitments, to join us at the Branch Church for a message of hope based on Jesus’ amazing goodness and grace.
May God bless you mightily this week!