This last Sunday we started a new series called, “Broken”. The focus is not just on how God heals our own brokenness, but how He uses this healing to help others. When we start to understand this, we will open up new doors for evangelism (sharing His hope).
People today have pain, problems, struggles, issues, and frustrations – and they are willing for people to listen, encourage, support, and help them. Jesus offers hope and strength to overcome. Evangelism can be less of a soap box and more of a listening booth (with a hug?). Christians can start evangelism by seeing brokenness as the bridge and starting point of conversation about Jesus, and the strength and hope that is found in Him.
Prayer – Care – Prayer – Share – Prayer. If Christians are going to be walking with those in pain, they need to be full of encouragement and hope themselves. Prayer is the first step – to be filled up with Christ’s love and strength. We also pray for those who need Jesus and His hope in their lives. The next step is to Care for people – mainly by LISTENING. It is also important to pay attention to the physical needs of people – food, clothing, shelter, and more. We need to work for justice and fight against injustice. Meeting physical needs, though, can’t replace the need to listen. We must do both. Far too often Christians in the west serve the poor and try to “fix” their problems instead of listening to their brothers and sisters as people. That is God’s job.
We need to listen and then Pray with people. Let them hear God’s voice. Pray before giving advice. Pray before fixing any problems. Listen and then pray. It is simple. Next, Share our stories. Find common ground in story and honestly share how God has helped us through our hard times and given us hope and strength to overcome. We don’t need to over teach or give much advice – our stories are powerful. We can end by asking, “What is God asking you to do? And how can I help?” We need to be ready for people to make decisions for Jesus, and help them hear how He is challenging them to grow. God is working and speaking into people’s hearts. The last part of this ongoing process is to Pray again. Pray that people will respond to God’s Spirit and His challenges. Pray that people will see that when they surrender to Christ – in areas of Discipleship, Fellowship, and Mission – they become closer to Him and have more of His power to overcome brokenness.
Evangelism in our culture and generation must see brokenness as the bridge of conversation. Evangelism is listening to and walking with people in their struggles; it is praying with people so they can hear the Spirit’s voice and invitation; it is sharing our stories of strength and hope in Jesus. At Covenant Grove we have talked a lot about listening and prayer and stories as evangelism; we have created a culture that has open arms and lots of joy for people in pain. Let’s continue to live this out, to authentically listen to people, and to share God’s hope.