Friday, August 18, 2006

Update on A Pastor's Evangelism

About two weeks ago, I shared some reflections on my need to be an evangelist even though I'm a pastor (maybe especially because I'm a pastor, I don't know). A couple weeks have passed and I thought I'd do an update.

This was my initial plan:
  • Meet the neighbors and schedule dinner with them in the first 30 days.
  • Pray for opportunities and a ready mind.
  • Find a new barber (a bro. needs a cut), preferably one with decent skills but not a Christian.
  • Phone the brother of a friend who lives on the island and is not a believer. Do lunch.
  • Pray that the Lord would send laborers into the harvest and for friends on the field.
  • Think through an initial strategy for training and encouraging others in evangelism.
  • Adjust my reading plan to focus more intently on the Savior and the gospel (I'd welcome recommendations).
  • Pick up those two biographies I've been neglecting (The Life and Diary of David Brainerd and To the Golden Shore).
  • Pray, pray, pray for a fervent spirit and abiding love for the lost.
On the whole, I'm thankful to the Lord for the grace He has shown me. I'm not there yet, much ground to cover and much grace needed. But here's the progress so far:
  1. In the last week and a half I've had extended conversations about the gospel with three different persons. Two of those persons have agreed to meet with me regularly to continue our discussions and to think about how the gospel applies to some issues they're facing.
  2. I've been able to complete about 5 or 6 "reverse membership interviews" since settling into the office. And I've been greatly encouraged to do the work of an evangelist as I've heard the wonderful and diverse ways the Lord has worked to bring people to Himself.
  3. Thanks to my most able and gracious helpmeet, we now have a dinner appointment with the neighbor for next weekend. Should be an interesting conversation. She seems to be a kind lady--describes herself as Catholic but "likes to bounce around to different churches" (including FBC). Looking forward to the time together. Thanks Kristie!
  4. I've found two very competent barbers. Only one professes to not be a Christian. He's also one of the persons with whom I've had good evangelistic conversation. Praying the Lord gives us a continuing relationship and the fruit of conversion.

And there are those things that I've not done.

  1. I'm most saddened that my prayer life seems flat when it comes to evangelism. I trust that the Lord is heeding your prayers and mine, but I still lack fervency, which is part of my original concern.
  2. I still need to phone that friend's brother and try to set up lunch.
  3. And I've not yet picked up those biographies. In fact, my "reading plan" has met with the stiff opposition of setting up an office and doing all the little necessary things one has to do when moving to a new place, often right smack in the middle of your "perfectly scheduled day." :-)

So, I'm encouraged at the Lord's work of grace and opportunities he has given. But, I'm keenly aware of how much I need to grow and work depending on His gracious and omnipotent aid.


jul said...

To the Golden Shore is one of my favorites of all time. Hope you enjoy it and find it stimulates your passion for evanagelism. Have you ever heard of Praying Hyde? It's a great little book about a man who had a great passion for lost souls and won many through his prayers. I'm not sure if it's even still in print, but may be available somewhere online. I look forward to reading more of your blog.

Jared said...

Brother Thabiti,

I do not know you, but I stumbled across your blog from challies blog. I empathize deeply with your request for God to give you a heart that is stirred up to sharing the good news of Christ with the lost. Please know that I will pray for you.
I am a part of a Ministry that supports Bible translation to people groups who have never heard the Word in their own language. Despite being used of God and knowing that it is His work, I often find it difficult to pray as I ought as well. I also need God's help and your prayers to be bold in proclaiming Christ.
I appreciate the honesty of your post and praythat your move goes smoothly and that God will give you the passion you seek.

Caddiechaplain said...

Your new challenge inspires me to a personal renewal as to where I serve currently. Your plan to read the Gospels is the right plan and you can do it every 30 days. I use to do it and after reading your comments I plan to revisit that same plan. To "choose the life" that Jesus led is what is missing amongst current evangelical orthodoxy.
Two other books I would highly recommend that will "refresh" your zeal for missions and evangelism is Piper's book, "Let the Nations Be Glad," and "Mountain Rain," by James Frazier. Frazier was a contemporary of Hudson Taylor and labored in China for 35 years among the Lishu people. I was in China visiting a missionary family from our church and stayed up all night to read this great book. I wept my self to sleep.
Now may God's richest blessings exhaust themselves on you and your family so that it seems like there is none left for anyone else. That's just how much He loves you.

In Christ Alone,

Ron Harvey
Riverside, CA