I am blessed for this to be my second year on the SMI team. It has been especially good because I can see the team developing and amazing stories coming about, even from the first day of outreach.
We had evangelism training, which was really helpful. It eliminated some of the misconceptions we have when reaching people upfront, such as the necessity of “earning the right to be heard.” I heard this in a very effective high school ministry. We go to high schools and form relationships with kids in order to speak about God, but only after they know us and don’t write us off as boring church people. “Earning the right to be heard” is good in long term ministry and effective in teen ministry, but not practical when going door to door. It does help that we are discussing health information with people, and the barriers that we usually keep up are quickly lowered.
My first day of outreach was an amazing one. We knocked on the door and there was a family that graciously welcomed us inside. We talked and I gradually worked through the health screen and at the end her child started crying. It came right at the time I was going to share the gospel with her. She went to change his diaper and he was happy after that. I could finally share the gospel and she realized the true living waters that Jesus would bring her.
At first she was hesitant to put all of her trust in God, but then she trusted and we prayed with her. I had never done a full blown gospel conversation to conversion before but it felt real, and previously I was scared of being that stereotypical guy that is annoying people into the gospel. Well maybe I was that guy, but it was the most human to human connection that I could have with her at that time. I was fumbling with my words and even had to have other teammates try to explain the gospel again just so she could understand. It took some time but after a while, I could see the relief in her eyes from knowing that there is a God who loves her that much.
It was a special moment and her boyfriend knew it was special and urged her to come to church with us later that week. I will close with the last words that I heard from our evangelism training teacher, “I am a fool for Christ, whose fool are you?” Even though I may have seemed a fool fumbling through the gospel and I had to rely on others, God used me to share His good news.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Elliot Martin. © 2022 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org