When pastors think about evangelism, we tend to assume our primary role is to equip others to evangelize, or to evangelize from the pulpit. While those roles are important, I knew I needed to do more.
Paul told Timothy, "Do the work of an evangelist" (2 Tim. 4:5). Paul is saying that we leaders need to engage unbelievers, and I am challenged by that mandate. Sure, I do that from the pulpit, but all church members have incredible opportunities to share the gospel in their community and workplace. I have those opportunities, too—but I had to do something to find them and to connect with folks far from God.
Taking to the streets
So what do I do? I hit the streets. I usually go over to a local community college or to a nearby train station. I just stand in an open area and hand out a little tract I wrote called "My Story." And that's exactly what it is: the account of God's good work in my life (see sidebar). It's printed on a small card that resembles a birthday invitation. It's non-threatening, unlike a lot of tracts which have flames and dark colors on the cover.
I started doing this because I was saddened by our church's lack of adult conversions. Then I took a look in the mirror. As the senior pastor, if I'm not sharing my faith, I shouldn't be surprised when our church isn't.
It's hard to say how effective I've been, but almost everyone takes the tract when I offer it to them. A number of people respond positively. Even Christians have contacted me, telling me that it encouraged them. I have also benefited personally from this practice. Philemon 1:6 says that sharing our faith strengthens our faith. Faith is like a muscle. The more you work it, the stronger it gets.
When I go to a restaurant, I sometimes say to the server, ...