This is a guest post by Don Bennett has spent the past 12 years serving as a Pastor in different roles. Currently he serves as an Associate Pastor at the Meeting House (Oakville – Main Site), a Multi Site Church throughout Southern Ontario. His passion is to invest in people and engage in conversation. Don enjoys meeting with people over a coffee at Starbucks and loves everything about footy (soccer). He cheers loudest for Celtic, Aston Villa and Toronto FC but he’s partial to his home team which includes his wife Karin and three kids Jake, Josh and Ella. He is a graduate of the Arrow Leadership program (24th ELP), has a B.Th from Masters College and Seminary and is nearly completed a M.A in Evangelism and Leadership at Wheaton College.
Our Church tag line is “A Church for people who are not into Church” and a key element to that is the gospel message of Jesus. My main role is being with people who are connecting or are connected into our community and fostering discussions that are centered on Jesus. Evangelism is my heartbeat and alongside being Pastoral this is my gifting.
Here is what I am learning presently:
Bill Hybels recently taught at the Global Leadership Summit that the sowing of seeds (Luke 8) needs to be a top priority. I noted in my notebook that an evangelist should see this in a greater way. His question that seemed directed straight at me was “What does sowing more seeds look like in community and with my friends.” 75% of seeds planted never grow, but 25% if cared for effectively can. What would it take to plant more than ever? What if we as leaders looked at the community and said we will plant more now than we ever have. We will take our time and energy and nourish these seeds and spend as much time as needed to see them grow.
This is re-energizing my life!
I sit with people all the time and love hearing what is happening at the core of their lives.
I am not afraid to apologize if a person has ever been offended or hurt by a Christ follower in the past and quick to respond when questions of faith arises. I feel the way to build trust in a relationship is to make them feel that they are unique and that their story matters and can shape me and that trust matters. In a Canadian context where the focus is relationally driven it is easy to share story after story about the discussions I have had that are so rich.
My desire and utter heart beat is to see people come to the fullest knowledge of who Jesus is and His message. I started an idea that the best discussions of a spiritual nature happen around a table. We as evangelists and Pastors need to avail ourselves each and every time that it is required to sit, listen, learn, discuss and talk about Jesus.
I have stirrings in me to reflect on the time I spend outside of my gifting and how I must resist urges to add more. I am learning to cut some things out.
I believe all leaders that are gifted in evangelism need to prioritize people and intentionally build rapport and a relationship with them. People matter and no matter how long it takes build and invest in their lives, it is worth it!
This is how I know I am an evangelist:
- I love meeting with people who don’t know Christ or who struggle with questions of faith
- I love listening to people… This means not only hearing what they are saying and formulating a response, but listening to them fully
- I love the moment when people accept Christ… Hearing their story, helping them process this moment and finding ways for them to nourish the decision
- I love planting seeds whenever I can…. We can see criticism about Billy Graham and other movements that are designed to plant seeds of salvation. But they plants seeds. Do you care so much about the eternal destination of friends, family, co-workers that you crave each time you get to speak to them
If this resonates with you and if you are anything like me, you probably are an evangelist too!
Key Element I am Learning: Build a prayer team with other evangelists to share names of people. Never stop at a conversion story but help guide them into being a follower/disciple of Jesus.
We would love to know in the comments…
what are you learning these days with regards to evangelism?