WARNING: The following is a longer post, but will have you standing an applauding Jesus if you take the time to read through a one-week window of what He did!
Some say “social justice” is the new “evangelism.” I say some are wrong. Don’t get me wrong, social justice (which I think should be re-named acts of compassion) is needed, but I believe most of the time it can/should be accompanied with evangelism (sharing the Gospel with actual words). I believe EVANGELISM is alive and is life giving! In fact, I tracked the role of evangelism over a one-week period in my personal life and in the life of the ministries I am associated with. Quite a one-week period! Praise God.
Friday/Saturday, June 24/25: Simultaneous launches of several Youthmark Mission Venture (YMV) teams took place in Northern California and the panhandle of Idaho. All told, 11 churches were starting their missions.
- I personally was able to share Christ with a family who was gracious enough to host a mission team prior to the launch beginning.
Sunday, June 26: After the launch in Redding I drove to Medford, OR for my flight to Colorado. While in Medford, on Sunday morning, I took a long walk; here I witnessed a homeless ministry at a park in Medford. I was greatly encouraged in conversation by a team member who reported to me about the ministry. This “Friends Helping Friends, Medford” (they have a Facebook page) meets in this park EVERY Sunday (rain, sun or snow)! Every week the Gospel is presented (in Word and deed). This was a divine appointment.
- I personally got to minister/witness to a hurting girl who sat next to me on the plane from Medford to Colorado. Amazing how a tearful “I miss my friend” comment can turn into a conversation about Jesus.
- While at Starbucks in Monument, CO (near the camp), I was asked about the uniqueness of my Sbux card (it’s an old Seattle card). Through sharing that I was from Seattle and being asked about why I was in CO, I was able to turn the conversation with three Baristas into an evangelism opportunity where I was point blank asked “what are you going to speak to these teens about?” AHHHH, love those set-ups!
- My Tuesday was a spiritually intense day; while playing putt-putt with a few students at camp, I mentioned to a couple middle-school students, “you guys are a lot of fun.” One boy stopped, looked up at me and said, “you’re the first adult to ever say that I was fun.” From about 2:00 to 4:00 that day, the Holy Spirit worked on my heart and changed the message I was to speak that evening; the coolest part, the passage I had already outlined fit the theme so well… God had me speak on the Bleeding Woman and the theme of “burdens”
- Immediately after my message I drove to a restaurant to meet my Colorado friend, Steve for some wings. While at the restaurant, we were able to talk to Harold and Dan. These two guys have served in Iraq three times each, have killed too many people to count (including women and children who were deemed “a threat”). The guys were desperate for escape. They both were on four different Post Traumatic Stress Disorder drugs and said, “but they don’t help.” Steve and I shared the Gospel with these guys for about two hours! They believed they deserved hell and couldn’t do anything to make up for the stuff they have done. THEY NEED TO UNDERSTAND GRACE! They were receptive and I am praying for their souls!
- I believe that God gave me a great spiritual birthday present this day, it was 21 years ago, June 28, where I placed my trust in Christ.
Though it was “evangelistic,” in terms of sharing, I took the time to travel up north to the home offices of Dare2Share and was able to attend their mid-week chapel. Afterwards, Jason Lamb and I had lunch together. Jason is headed back into a Student Ministry pastor position; it was great to hear his heart for getting back to direct student ministry.
- Again, the Holy Spirit threw me a few curveballs and tweaks to my planned message. While I preached on Wednesday the Lord made it known that I was to clearly share the complete GOSPEL. However, He also made it clear that I was to NOT do an “altar call.” Instead, I challenged any/all students who wanted to place their trust in Christ for his/her salvation to talk specifically with a youth leader during the closing worship set that EVERFOUND was leading. We know of at least 9 of these conversations that took place that evening! Praise God.
- As I spoke on Thursday I was able to clearly communicate not just the gospel, but the call on the Christians to share the good news with their lost friends. That evening we saw at least another 16 students trust in Jesus and another 150+ make a commitment to share Christ with an unsaved family member or friend! What a night!
- Friday evening brought some great “evangelism encouragement” as Greg Stier and I were able to grab dinner together. I love being with a like-minded person. The ministries of D2S and Youthmark have so much common DNA; I believe we’ll be able to cross-polinate a lot as both organization move forward.