This article is courtesy of HomeLife magazine.
When I was growing up, my dad was a farmer, not a Christian. He had little interest in faith, having been told by his father that the Bible was a fairy tale. But then a local pastor took an interest in my dad, asking if he could help plow the fields on the weekend.
That one act of service spoke louder than words ever could to my dad. By his actions, the pastor made my dad feel loved, and that did more than any preaching could have. He didn't need convincing about the theological correctness of the Bible; he needed to feel God's love for him. This pastor met that need in a practical way. And that's evangelism.
Evangelism for ordinary people
It sounds simple enough, but many of us still struggle with how evangelism fits into our everyday lives. Maybe that's because we think evangelism is something better left to "professionals," like the preachers and missionaries of the world. Or maybe we cringe at the idea, associating evangelism with hard-sell, high-haired televangelists and want nothing to do with those phonies.
Here are 21 ideas for sharing God's good news as you go:
1. Spend time deepening your relationship with God, allowing Him to form you into the image of Christ. When we're walking with God, spending time in prayer and Scripture reading, we have a full well from which we can offer Christ's living water to others.
2. Become a creature of habit. Frequent the same coffee shop, gas station, restaurant, and so on, and build relationships with people there.
3. Organize a dinner party. Introduce a few non-Christian friends to a few Christian friends who are living out John 13:34-35: "I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this, all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
4. Go out of your way to assist a co-worker at your job.
5. Pray for friends who aren't followers of Christ by name, as a family, asking God to draw them to Himself.
6. Practice intentional acts of kindness. Try returning carts in grocery store parking lots or picking up trash in a community park. (See www.servantevangelism.com for more ideas.)
7. Start or join a book club and endeavor to discuss meaningful issues as they come up.
8. In a crisis situation, let others see your faith.
9. Teach English as a Second Language classes.
10. Shop at neighborhood garage sales. Get to know your neighbors' names - and remember them.
11. Join a friend in an activity or hobby.
12. Be available.
13. Allow God to use your uniqueness. Be creative and think about how you can use your unique gifts and talents to show His love to others. If you like to cook, deliver meals to those in need; if you like to knit, make scarves to hand out to homeless individuals you meet on the street; and so on.
14. Get to know your neighbors and their needs. Volunteer to help with yard work, childcare, or decorating a home. Helping with small things can help you earn the right to speak with neighbors about more serious issues.
15. Get to know the parents of your children's friends. Strike up conversations at sporting or school events. This will help you learn more about them and their needs.
16. Wear jewelry that can become a point of conversation with others.
17. Invite a young couple out for a meal. If they have a child, offer to pay for a baby sitter or offer to watch the kids while they go out for a romantic dinner alone.
18. Ask questions, then listen - really listen.
19. Make time to sit on the front porch and or to talk over the backyard fence with your neighbors.
20. Form a playgroup for stay-at-home parents.
21. Volunteer with community organizations. You'd be surprised how many non-Christians are serving. Try Habitat for Humanity or a local rescue mission or a city-wide AIDS walk.
God wants to use us - no matter who we are or what we know - to change lives. He only asks that we open our eyes to everyday opportunities around us and remain faithful to respond with love. For many people, drawing closer to God is a process that takes months, even years. But if we are willing to be used by God, we can take an active role in the ordinary ways He chooses to share good news.