A few months ago, a visitor asked me about Patterson Park’s evangelism program. I wasn’t prepared to answer his question, at least not the way he asked it, because we don’t have an “evangelism program.”
We have excellent outreach opportunities in our Friday night Steps recovery ministry and our jail ministry (both ministries overseen by our Outreach Director Bob Wheeler). But we don’t have the sorts of programs the visitor was looking for: classic evangelism training or door-to-door canvassing or street evangelism programs.
What we do have is neighbors and co-workers, people we are around every day who need to know about Jesus. That’s the “mission field” we live in.
In today’s Discipleship Weekly, we want to feature a RightNow Media segment called “Evangelism and Friendship.” It’s a brief training segment that features two videos and some self-assessment questions. The first video is the story of Sandy, a man who came to realize that his day job, air traffic controller, was also his mission field. Sandy tells the story of how a co-worker who began with ferocious opposition to the gospel, eventually came to put his faith in Christ and became a sold-out Christ follower. But don’t look for a story of instantaneous conversion. That story took more than a decade to unfold.
The second video features a pastor of a church in Florida whose outreach is built on neighborhood hospitality. That’s where we want to PPC focus its outreach efforts: in our neighborhoods, with the people we live with.
We have previously featured Rosaria Butterfield’s excellent book The Gospel Comes with a House Key, where Butterfield expands on what outreach by one family in one neighborhood can have a profound impact.
Bob is always looking for volunteers to help with his outreach opportunities. If you would be willing to serve as a mentor in his recovery ministry or if you want to look into participating in the jail ministry, contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go to the RightNow Media link “Evangelism and Friendship” to see Sandy’s story and hear how one Florida church is empowering its people to reach their neighbors.
Our dream is the we would begin to cultivate the kind of long-term relationships with our neighbors that can bear the weight of spiritual conversations, that over time we can see our neighbors move toward faith in Christ.
Nanette and I are praying about how we can reach our own neighbors. Begin your own neighborhood outreach by praying for your neighbors, by name if you know them. Ask God to open doors of opportunity for you simply to get to know them. Then pray that as your neighbors get to know you, they will want to know Christ.