I once heard a story about a man who was at a conference on evangelism. He sat near the front for the first session, and listened to the speaker talk about how our neighbors are one of our first “spheres of influence” when it comes to reaching people for Christ. The speaker went on to say how important it is to get to know your neighbors by name in order to really reach out to them. She then looked for a volunteer to come up front to tell the names of his or her neighbors, and ended up choosing said man. Mortified, the man came up on stage and admitted that he did not know the names of any of his neighbors. As the speaker tried to reassure him that it was okay, the man looked at her and said, “You don’t understand. I’m the next speaker for the conference.” Ironically, the man was considered enough of an “expert” on evangelism to get asked to speak about it at a conference, yet when called up on stage admitted that he did not know the names of any of his neighbors.
Ever since hearing that story, I’ve made it a point to be intentional about getting to know my neighbors. That story made me realize that I can be knowledgeable about evangelism and passionate about reaching those who are lost, but if I’m not being intentional, I can easily overlook the mission field that God has put (literally) right in my back yard.
I still have a lot to learn in the area of evangelism; I desire to become more bold in my conversations with my neighbors, all the while still wanting to just genuinely get to know them, even if we never have a conversation about Christ.
I stumbled upon a great post on John Piper’s blog the other day, and found myself challenged to really think about how I am spending my time and who I am reaching out to. Check out the blog post by clicking here.
What are your thoughts about evangelism? What ways do you feel God is asking you to reach out to those around you?
In Joyful Surrender,