Evangelism. It is a word that strikes fear into quite a few people, Christian and non-Christian alike.
But evangelism is nothing to fear. In fact, as Christians we are called to spread the Gospel. If you have spent more than ten minutes reading the New Testament, its a pretty apparent little factoid. But what most people don’t get is that we are called to spread the Gospel outside of the church. In fact, no-where in the New Testament do I find that I am supposed to bring people to church for them to hear the Gospel. However, I do find plenty of Biblical examples of folks bringing the Gospel to the public at large.
Yep. As believers, bringing the Gospel to Christian and non-Christians outside of the four walls of the church is something we are all supposed to be doing.
Even bringing that Gospel to devil worshipers.
Because, man, in my experience, God really loves devil worshipers.
Evangelism 101: God loves devil worshipers
So let me set the scene:
Where most “churchy-type” folks are comfortable sitting around discussing Bible topics or what it means to be a Christian in the twenty-first century, whatever that means, often when my group of friends find themselves in public they decide to push the envelope…meaning that we actually do what the Bible tells us to do, which is go outside of our homes, jobs and churches, you know, our comfort zones…and <gasp> pray for people.
Christian people…actually going out, asking the Lord what He wants to tell people…and actually praying for people on the street to simply express God’s love for them.
Its pretty radical.
I wouldn’t say that we are professionals at it. But that doesn’t matter. After all, I figure we are in pretty good company. When Jesus ascended to Heaven leaving the disciples to carry on His work, they really didn’t have any idea what they were doing either. They simply moved as the Spirit that fell upon them led them. And the Lord accomplished some mighty things through them. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, the Book of Acts is greater than any adventure novel I’ve ever read and wilder than any movie ever made. And while our group hasn’t prayed for a crippled man by a gate who instantly got to his feet and walked, I know that eventually it’s gonna happen. And the only way to make that happen, is to keep praying.
So that’s what we do. We get together. We eat. We fellowship. And sometimes we go out to walk the downtown city-scape asking people if we can love on them a little bit. Who do we pray for? The poor. The rich. The broken. The whole.
Pretty simple really.
It’s the simplicity of the Gospel, And we try our best not to over-complicate it.
And now that I have set the scene, dear reader, let’s move forward.
On one particularly sunny day a year or so ago, after a wonderful lunch of cholesterol seizing fried goodness, a group of us decided to divide by two’s, following Jesus’ model of sending out the disciples. We draw lots and my friend Stephen and I are paired up. Now remember, Stephen and I went to India together to do missionary work, so this is a great pairing. We know each others’ ebb and flow in praying for others and we know how the Spirit moves and works in relation to each others gifting and anointing. We knew that in this pairing the Lord had something special planned.
So Stephen and I hit the streets. We pray for a few folks, bless a few businesses. Nothing dramatic. No major physical healings. No crippled people walking. No blind eyes opened. Of course, we didn’t come across anyone who was crippled or blind (which we are always on the look-out for), but you get the gist of what I am saying. We were praying for folks and places, and people were getting touched by the Lord, but we knew that there was something around the corner that was bigger.
And then it came.
Purple hair and mohawks are always a good combination. In fact, I’ve never met a person with purple hair and a mohawk that Jesus didn’t love
As Stephen and I rounded a corner we saw him- a young man with a purple mohawk sitting on a bench. Now before you go “whoa, they are gonna pray for a guy with a mohawk,” don’t think that that is a big deal. In this area of town, mohawks are common. One of the things I love about downtown. After all, Jesus loves originality, so the Jesus inside of me REALLY loves originality. I see a mohawk and think about how I had a mohawk for awhile, as evidenced from the photo on the right.
It was quite hideous.
On this guy it looked pretty good. And it was purple.
So Stephen and I cross the street and start up a conversation.
Now, to be fair, Stephen started the conversation. The Holy Spirit upon Stephen is like a puppy. Seriously. When the subject of prayer comes up, Stephen just lights up and starts bouncing and will minister to anyone, anywhere, anytime. You can slap him across the nose with a newspaper but he just comes back happier than ever. It’s a pretty cool thing to see. I highly recommend it. It’s inspiring. But me? I’m quite different. On me, the Holy Spirit is more feline. Now I will pray for anyone at anytime. I absolutely will. But whereas Stephen will go running headlong into traffic, I am a little more cognizant and watchful of my surroundings. My discernment radar cuts a wide swath, picking up on every little nuance in the atmosphere. In the realm of prayer, Stephen is a broadsword. I am a razor. He hunts with a shotgun. I hunt with a rifle. Both take down big game. And when used in tandem…whoa, nelly.
As we engage the young man in conversation, Stephen bluntly tells him why we are there and asks Mr. Mohawk if we can pray for him.
I love it.
Straight to the point. No swarmy used car salesman pitch that no one wants to listen to. No acting like we’ve been friends forever. Just boom…what’s up man, my name is Stephen, you’re awesome and can I pray for you?
Literally that’s what he said.
Mr. Mohawk sucked down his cigarette, pitched it to the curb, smirked, and then gave us that look of okay, this should be entertaining and says “sure.”
And then things got pretty awesome. But you have to click on part 2 to find out exactly what happens next…and God, He’s really in a good mood.