Street Evangelism: Being Extraordinarily Ordinary
I gave a testimony at a Christian retreat this summer where I got to talk about my experiences sharing the Gospel on my local high street. The event organiser decided to title the talk, 'Extraordinarily Ordinary'.
It was a fitting title because there is nothing ordinary about sharing the Gospel. It’s extraordinary work. But I am just an ordinary person. I’ve never had any formal education in this area. I don’t have a theological degree and I didn’t attend Bible college. But what I do have is a commission from Jesus Christ to tell people about Him and I’ve been trying my best to do that for the past six years.
During that time I’ve run into some real characters. I’ve spoken to relativist pagans, angry atheists, Buddhists, zealous Muslims, witches, spiritists, satanists - you name it!
I’ve spoken to relativist pagans, angry atheists, Buddhists, zealous Muslims, witches, spiritists, satanists - you name it!
With such a plethora of beliefs out there, it’s a wonder that there aren’t more Christians taking a stand for the Gospel. But unfortunately, that’s what my experience has shown. So many Christians just don’t evangelise. So what’s the problem?
There are all kinds of reasons people have for not wanting to share their faith. But I’m pretty confident the main reason is fear. People just haven’t been trained or discipled properly in this area. I certainly felt this before I started. I was just scared to death that I would be asked a question I didn’t know the answer to. So for that reason, I thought it best to keep quiet until I was ready. I’m not much of a reader, so I ended up watching hours and hours of Christian debates on YouTube. Looking up all the possible objections people might throw at me. Even after all that, I was still intimidated by the prospect of talking to people about Christ.
One year later, my church invited an Australian evangelist called Geoffrey Hilder to take us out on our local high street. He had a background in prison ministry and he was very forthcoming and confident. I was intrigued. So along with a handful of shy and reluctant congregants, I ventured out into the unknown.
I remember stepping out there for the first time. I just felt grim. My heart was literally in my throat. Aside from worrying about what to say, I was clueless about how I should begin a conversation. I mean, they are strangers after all.
We broke off into pairs, and I got to team up with my new Australian friend. We slowly approached a gentleman standing outside some shops. Geoffrey greeted him confidently.
“G’day mate. My name is Geoffrey,” he said smiling.
He motioned to me. “This is Adam. We’re from the local church. We’re out here today talking to people about their beliefs and philosophies of life. Can I ask you if you have a faith?”
To my surprise, the gentleman was quite pleasant in his response. With a smile on his face he confessed to not having one.
Geoffrey replied, “Okay, so where would you say you stand? Are you agnostic, so you’re not sure? Or more of an atheist and definitely don’t believe?”
I stared on in fascination. Earlier, Geoffrey had explained to us that the goal was sowing seeds by having conversations. He said we should show interest in what people have to say in order to keep the conversation going.
From what I recall, the man was an atheist and when Geoffrey began to share about his faith in Jesus it seemed very new to him. It was a real eye-opener to discover that most of the people we talked to had little or no idea what Jesus and the Bible is about.
This is most obvious when I ask people, “Who do you believe Jesus is?”. Almost invariably they will say, “I’m not religious.”
I want you to know that you don’t have to be extraordinary in order to share your faith
When I probe a little further and ask them what they mean by that, they usually start talking about not going to church, religious war, boring rituals or child abuse scandals by priests. Obviously these things having nothing to do with who Jesus actually is. More often than not, people are surprised by the the true Gospel message and what He had to say.
So after six years, I’ve realised the most important thing isn’t knowing all the facts. It’s about getting the Gospel to people. For now, I want you to know that you don’t have to be extraordinary in order to share your faith. It doesn’t matter if you’re ordinary like me. And that is exactly what this blog is about. The experiences of an ordinary guy sharing an extraordinary message in order to help you do the same. (Mark 16:15).
Adam Brennan is a digital producer at Premier
Next time: A Conversation with a New Age Pagan