Evangelism: Demonstrate the Love of God
Evangelism is the subtle art of prayer, presence, and gentleness combined with the authority of the Gospel that can make a profound difference in another’s life, Canon J. John told the full-house at St. Nicholas in Flower Mound on Mission Day. “We must be global Christians with a global mission because we have a global God,” he said. “If we want to have confidence in sharing the Gospel we must have confidence in the Gospel.”
More than 150 believers from across the diocese packed the pews to hear the wise and often hilarious words of John, who is the evangelist of the Archbishop of Canterbury and has preached the Gospel in 71 countries. The day started with morning prayer led by the Rev. Ignacio Gama and worship music with Wendell Kimbrough, director of music and songwriter at Incarnation, and Canon to the Ordinary Christopher Brown, also a jazz musician.
The Rt. Rev. George Sumner gave the homily where he emphasized the importance of mission and evangelism. “Witnessing to your faith in Jesus, in the hope that another might hear that word as from God,” he said. “Evangelism, it is special, it does have pride of place in this way: it makes explicit, it places in the foreground, the truth about the world and ourselves, which is the truth about Jesus, and from this truth everything else follows, even blooms.”
John said that after years of teaching on evangelism, he believes it can be broken down into three areas: Intentional praying for those who do not know Jesus; Intentional caring for them; and Intentional Sharing the goods news with them.
The evangelist talked about how all Christians have the authority of Jesus to carry out Jesus’ call to be His witnesses in the world. He discussed the parable passage from Luke 5:17-26 about how a paralytic man’s friends removed a piece of roof to lower their ill friend down to Jesus for healing. “Let’s lift the roof of our thinking to get people to Jesus,” John said. “Don’t let the roof block us.”
It is a good idea to reach people in “your own Jerusalem” such as people we encounter in our daily activities, work, neighborhood, friend circle, and family. For instance, if you know someone who once practiced Christianity but has stopped, make an earnest, friendly gesture of asking them to coffee to catch up and check in on them. “They probably think we have forgotten them,” John said. “Is there something you can do? Make a phone call, send an email, saying ‘thought of you today, how are you?’”
John told the story of how the owner and chef of his favorite restaurant once told him as he entered the dining room, “I was delighted to see that you were booked today. You always bring in a great aura.” John responded with “Every time we come in we pray for you, your wife and your restaurant.” The chef’s eyes filled with tears which gave the opening for John and his wife, Killy, to invite him to their house for dinner and eventually church. John said as Christians it is important to carry the presence of Jesus wherever we go.
Make daily prayer a personal practice, John said. “Pray for people in your life who do not know Jesus. Be intentional in prayer, and in caring. We have to be people who create happiness wherever we go. Be intentional in caring for people. Demonstrate the love of God.”