In Luke 21: 12-19 (the Olivet Discourse), Jesus utters a prophecy about the future disciples and their response to persecution. Persecution on this side of the globe, though painful in our eyes, is nothing compared to the persecution of those like my friends who are career missionaries in a closed country. However, Jesus mentions in v.12-15 that…
12 “before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, [h]bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake. 13 It will lead to [i]an opportunity for your testimony. 14 So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; 15 for I will give you [j]utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute.
Looking at this from Paul’s ministry, this happened more times than not. Paul used each opportunity to share the gospel with the council who would ultimately judge him. Paul could have been upset that he was not able to do the work of God or fall victim to fear. Oftentimes I find myself doing this as I share the gospel on our campus. I become frustrated or upset when life deals me a losing hand. I lose focus on Him and turn that focus to myself ultimately leading to another lost opportunity to share Christ with a student.
Jesus says that we should not “rehearse” what we are going to say or how we will say it. 1 Peter 3:15 says that we should “always be prepared to give an answer”. It doesn’t say to be prepared by having the 7 points, or the catchy one liners, or even the right language. It says to be prepared to answer. Now, I am a preparation-type guy. I am going to study God’s word in its context and challenge myself with tough conversations with my atheist friends. However, this scripture in Luke makes me pause and think about how I am going about sharing the gospel on campus. Here are some observations from some of my recent conversations.
Evangelism is a journey, not a sale
I am not going out trying to sale fire insurance. I want to experience life with these students, meet them where they are, and hope to develop a relationship with them. I am on my face before the Lord asking Him to speak through me and to put all my preconceived conversations out of my head.
Evangelism needs to be lived and believed
It’s one thing to believe that you “should” share the gospel, it’s another to “want” to share the gospel. This is the transition that needs to happen as we disciple believers. This only comes with living out the gospel in obedience daily.
Evangelism needs to connect with the Big Story
Creation, Fall, Redemption, Mission. This is a great way to open dialogue and discussion. Most students that I share with want to focus on the bad things or stories out of context. This is a more focused approach that leads to some great discussion.
Evangelism should get to the “heart” of the matter
Don’t be afraid to ask student’s to pray for them. You will find that this opens up a door to “heart matters” that really open up discussion.
Chris Wilson is the director of the Baptist Student Union on the campus of Missouri State. After traveling in a traveling ministry called No Longer Quiet for 11 years, the Lord brought him back to his old alumni where he was first discipled. He has a passion for discipleship, missional living, and the church. More info at http://www.springfieldbsu.org