I want to start out with some congregational participation.
Why do you come to church?
Why do you come to this church?
What has this church done over the past couple years?
What do you most like that the church did over the past few years?
Often when we think of evangelism, we think of knocking on someone’s door and inviting him or her to come to church. Or, we might think about trying to explain to a stranger how Jesus has made a difference in your life. Or, we might think of trying to explain Heaven, Hell, and a sinner’s need for forgiveness and salvation. Most of us would not want to be a part of any of those scenarios.
But, we can answer questions like: Why do you go to church? Why do you go to First Christian Church? What does your church do?
Let’s relate all this back to our Scripture. This is the Gospel of John’s account of Jesus’ baptism. There are not the elements that the other Gospels tell. Jesus doesn’t go to John. John doesn’t actually baptize Jesus. There is no voice of God.
The Gospel of John tells the story of Jesus’ baptism through John the Baptist’s retelling of the event. John the Baptist tells us that there was a dove that descended on Jesus and that is the sign he needed to know that Jesus was the One he was waiting on. So, John the Baptist tells the crowd what he saw. He tells the crowd that he knows that Jesus is the Lamb of God and the Son of God.
The next day, John the Baptist is with 2 of his disciples and he tells them that Jesus is the Lamb of God. Based on John the Baptist’s testimony about who Jesus is, the 2 men start to follow Jesus. One of the men was Andrew. Andrew went and told his brother, Simon Peter, that Jesus is the Messiah. Simon Peter came and started following Jesus, too.
John the Baptist told the crowd who he believed Jesus was and 2 men started following Jesus. One of those men told his brother and he started following him. Two testimonies produced 3 followers of Jesus. It is our job as followers of Jesus to share with people what we know to be true.
It is that easy. We just have to tell people what we know. We don’t have to have some special knowledge of the Bible or be able to give some elaborate testimony about a complete life transformation. We don’t need to follow some special 3-step plan for confession and absolution. Rev. David Lose says this, “at its heart, evangelism is noticing what God is doing in our lives, sharing that with others, and inviting them to come and see for themselves.”
We’ve been sharing with one another after our hymn of commitment the ways in which we see God working in the world and in our lives. It can be hard to articulate how God is working. We may think someone won’t take us seriously or find it meaningful. We may be afraid that someone will think our experience of God isn’t real. But, this is a safe space for us to share with one another and be encouraged in our journey by what we experience.
It may be hard to tell people how Jesus is working in your life. It may be too scary to get too personal about our experience of God. But, we can tell someone why we like this church. And, we can tell people what this church, the body of Christ is doing.
Inviting someone to come to church can also be scary, but we invite people to do things all the time. We invite people to do things that we enjoy, because we think they might also enjoy doing it. An invitation to come to church can be as easy as inviting someone to dinner. We are simply inviting someone to do something we enjoy because we think they might also enjoy it. According to this Scripture, Jesus gave His invitation very simply, “Come and see.”
Try it this week. Ask someone to come and see what Jesus is doing here.
[1&2] David Lose, Dear Working Preacher, “Notice, Share, Invite,” http://www.workingpreacher.org/craft.aspx?post=3002