Monday, 10 October 2011

Clumsy Evangelism

Last Thursday evening I went for a sauna at our local leisure centre.  I had been reading a book on evangelism, so I brought it with me.  I opened the door of the sauna, sat down, and immediately a man asked me 'what's the book about?'
'It is a Christian book about sharing what you believe.'
'That's a good thing to read, I believe in God myself', he responded.
A great conversation ensued.  There was Robert (who asked me the question), his friend Shirley, and another man whose name I did not get.  Indeed I apologised to this other man for getting more than he bargained for from his time in the sauna.  He replied, 'don't worry, I am listening intently.'
Robert was so keen to talk that when he went for a break from the sauna he asked me to come with him so that we could continue talking.  I was able to leave my calling card and a couple of tracts for him to collect at reception.

Now please don't imagine that I am a natural evangelist.  I know how important it is to share the good news, but I have often missed the opportunity to speak.  While my friend John Ryan is always looking for openings to speak the gospel I have to force myself even to ask God for such openings.  It is through gritted teeth that I go into the leisure centre and say 'Lord, let me talk to someone about you (but if you just want me to have a relaxing time to myself that is good with me).'

Anyway, an amazing thing happened the next day.  I was visiting friends in another part of the city when the man of the house pulls up in his car.  He had two people with him.  Guess who one of them was: 'Robert'.  So I am asking you to pray for Robert because it seems something of a God-incidence that I would happen to meet this guy the day after talking to him in the sauna.

Here is an idea.  It's called 'clumsy evangelism.'  Clumsy evangelism simply seeks to invite people into conversations about the Christian faith.  It's clumsy because you open the door for a conversation with no idea where it is going to head.  For example, supposing one of the ladies in the church takes a good book from the bookstall (we are promoting Christian biographies this month).  Then she brings it with her to the hairdressers.  Someone waiting there with her says, 'what's that book about?'  To which she replies, 'it's a book about a person who experienced God do amazing things in their life.'  Now leave that comment hanging.  You don't have to force the issue.  They might not want to take the conversation any further and change the subject, that's their responsibility.  But who knows, perhaps they will want to ask more questions.  How would you do clumsy evangelism?


Rach said...

that's a brilliant story Paul. i wish i could have seen your face when Robert got out of the car. It'll be exciting to see where it all leads :)

To whom it may concern said...

Rach, Great to hear from you. I plan to ring you some time soon. You're such a star!