There is an unexplainable feeling associated with sharing the gospel. It is this complete letting go. Becasue really you are just a tool… like a hammer hitting a nail, the hammer really has no power of its own. There is usually much anxiety in letting go. There are always all of these questions in the back of my head that fight to make me want to stop, to hide in my bed and not even try. To me, God is so complex, how could one even begin to explain Him to someone else? How could my words ever do Him justice? Is the Gospel really that simple, can it really be explained in 5 minutes? Can the walk with God really just start with one simple prayer from the heart?
Single moment evangelism has always been so hard for me because that is not how I came to know the Lord. For me it was a long arduous process, a period of months where bit by bit I started to understand give myself over to God. I have no day, no single moment to recollect. There was no single “sinner’s prayer” that I said. I was a seeker of God, and then over time, became a follower. Not sure at all when I crossed that line from “unsaved” to “saved.” It is a question that has followed me for years, especially as a minister of the Gospel.
Experience is a powerful thing. It defines who you are, how you experience life, and really how you choose to understand how life works. Thats why people who have had bad experiences with the church find it really hard to see the Goodness of Christ’s church. The truth can be found, but its just to hard for them to see past their experience. And maybe that is why it has been hard for me to trust single event conversion. It is not in my experience. My conversion was a journey, not a moment. And even though I have faithfully shared the Gospel with many people over my years as a Christian using a five minute explanation of the Gospel followed with a sinners prayer, there was always an unrest in me, an inability to trust that that was enough.
This past weekend I went on an evangelism trip to Mexico. A little weekend mission trip right before I leave on my major one is a few weeks. I told myself once that I was never going to go on a short term mission trip again because true impact comes from long term relationship building, not hit and run ministry. But something (as well as someone… thanks Wilmer) was urging me to go on this trip. Lets just say, I was blown away.
Sometimes I forget how different cultures can be. I mean I can know it in my head but not really understand it until I experience it. Soccer balls and bracelets. That what we carried with us. They had 5 colors, each color representing some thing that helped explain the gospel. Would you like a free soccer ball? Can I take a few minutes to tell you what the colors mean? Ask that at the door of the average American, they’ll shut the door in your face. But in Mexico, they listen. At first, perhaps, just to be polite, but there comes this distinct moment when they realize what the bigger gift is that you are offering them: the gift of eternal life. And you can see it, you can actually feel it, that they are getting it. Its like giving a person who has been drinking warm water his whole life a nice refreshing glass of cool water.
It was hot, so very hot. And it was hard, letting go of anxieties. But I saw my God work. Because the Gospel prevails. It just begins with trust. Another lesson learned before I leave for Thailand, never underestimate the power of the Gospel. It can work whatever way God wants it to work, outside of any of your personal experiences.
And as I sat outside at a church gathering in the small town in Mexico watching the sun go down and listening to a sermon in a language I barely understood, I marveled at our God. I looked around me and thanked God for his diversity and the power of his love to reach anyone, anywhere. The different manifestations of His one church in the world continues to blow me away.
Food tasted better that night and rest felt so incredibly earned after a hard days work for the Lord spreading his Love. And that is, I continue to realize, how I want every day of my life to be like.