Thermometers around the country are heating up. Summer is coming. People everywhere are thinking about winding down, taking time off and relaxing. As the usual distractions and excuses of life are set aside, what a great chance to bring the good news of Jesus to those who haven't yet latched on to it.
But for most people, evangelism isn't as easy as that.
Salt Church's Dan Godden joined City Bible Forum's San Chan in our most recent Planter Session to cover what evangelism can look like for summer-soaked Australians. Listen to the entire Session below for wisdom and tips about this important area of church-plant life.
Among the many gems you'll want to jot down and mull over is Dan's breakdown of the three main blockages he has come up against when it comes to Christians sharing their faith. And then be sure to listen to the entire Planter Session, to soak in more suggestions about encouraging evangelism.
1. Not convicted enough
The first type of blockage takes the shape of a person who is “not convicted that it's true” and they probably think like this: “I come to church and I love the vibe. There are these set of beliefs that I'm supposed to have but, when the rubber hits the road, do I really believe there is a heaven and a hell? Do I really believe Jesus is the only hope for my next door neighbour or the mate at work?”
Dan reckons plenty of churches have people who aren't convinced of the exclusivity of Jesus's claims upon our lives. That's a significant blockage to someone then seeing the need to share Jesus with someone else.
2. Not equipped
The second type of blockage takes the shape of a person who is “convicted about the gospel and I know I should tell my friend about Jesus, but I just don't know how I do that.” They can feel that conversations are stiff and awkward with friends, or they just don't know what to say when hot-button issues such as same-sex marriage are raised.
To help equip its members, Salt Church run events called 'Coffee and Jesus'. These are aimed at fostering conversations between Christians and those who don't follow Jesus. In a relaxed setting, people can chat about issues with or questions about Christianity. In this setting, wome of the heat of debate is taken away. At the same time, answers also can be provided by more mature Christians, as they also model how to go about doing everyday apologetics.
3. Not connected
The third type of blockage takes the shape of a person who is “convicted” and “equipped”. They would “love to share the gospel of Jesus but just don't know anyone.”
Dan reckons that can be a cop-out excuse but also sees that “we have set up patterns in our Christian world, where we have broken down opportunities for people to build meaningful relatinoships with people who are not Christians.”
Rather than run a soccer team, or playgroup, or food van, Salt Church wants to get involved with such services or groups that already exist. Dan would like to see more Christians connected with their wider community. He gives the example of a missionary in another country who only spends time with other missionaries. Instead of only preaching to the converted, “you want them to make connections and relationships with the people aorund them”.
Listen below to hear more from Dan and Sam about evangelism in Australia. And be sure to join us every month from February 2016 for more Planter Sessions.