8th June 2008
The next value we are looking at in our series on our Feldon Group Values in that of making disciples. We value making disciples because Jesus so obviously does! He formed a group of disciples around him, he taught them by word and by example, and he sent them out on mini missions as in the gospel reading. When he was about to leave them for the last time he commanded them to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19,20), and to teach those new disciples everything he had taught them.
We do not find any detailed instructions about how exactly we are to make disciples – what to do or say. In the letter to the Colossians Paul asks for prayer that he might proclaim the message of Christ clearly; but he does not tell the Colossians to do the same. He tells them to be ready to answer people’s questions.
Evangelism means spreading the good news of Jesus. Good news tends to spread naturally, as people who hear it rejoice and pass on the news. The good news of Jesus should be no different: if it really is good news then it will spread – we won’t need to learn what to do or say, just perhaps how to be sensitive in the way we share it. If we don’t find it easy to be natural in sharing the good news of Jesus, the first thing to check is how convinced we are that it is good news; those of us who have been Christians for a long time have become so familiar with the gospel that we may sometimes lose sight of just how marvellous it is, especially for people who would love a close relationship with God.
However, we may need to learn how to be sensitive in sharing the good news. If people don’t want to hear it, then we should not force feed them! Our love for them moves us to try to meet their needs; however, while their greatest need may be for a closer relationship with God, if they are not aware of that need there is no point in pushing it. When people have contact with Christians who have a close relationship with the Lord, they may sense that they are missing out; if it is obvious we have something really worth having, others will want it too. Meanwhile, we continue to love those around us, and that will naturally involve seeking to meet any needs we become aware of. In this part of the world those needs may be more emotional rather than physical, for we all need things like affirmation, appreciation, and a sense of being valued.
We are to be good news in the way we live and the things we do, and we are to share the good news in the things we say as and when natural opportunities arise. We are called to be ourselves. We neither hide our faith nor thrust it onto others, but are open about what we believe and why and are willing at least to try to explain ourselves when asked to do so. Let us pray that we will be asked!
1) What is the best bit about the good news of Jesus, as far as you’re concerned?
2) What prevents people from finding out more about Jesus? What can be done to remove these barriers?