JAC Online

Evangelism is Simple
by Marj Rava (Youth Pastor, Tasmania, Victoria)

I remember standing in the school yard in high school when one of my school mates called out to me, “Hey Marj, are you a Christian?”  It was year 10 and I had spent what I thought was a solid four years of being ‘Jesus’ to my friends at school.  I had never denied that I went to the Salvos and had invited people to youth group & youth camps.  I had never denied what I had been up to on the weekend if someone asked…that on Sunday I went to the Salvos with my family.  I remember being confused as I responded with “yes?!”  My friend replied saying, ‘Oh I thought you were a Salvo!”

I knew that my commitment of faith had somehow been lost in this word or explanation of attending the Salvos and being a Salvo.  Somehow in all my conversations about what I was up to I had perhaps neglected to actually be clear that I was in fact not only a Salvo, but I was a Christian – a Christ follower.  The message had been lost and confused, and with it perhaps the chance to impact others as I had hoped to do so.

What does it mean to evangelise?  Even now I sit here thinking back to that moment and it is still so vivid in my mind.  What was it about that conversation that struck such a strong chord in me that I still think about it now?  I think for me I realised the importance of being clear in who and what I portray so that people get the right message of who Jesus is. 

To evangelise I think can be pretty simple – living out who Jesus is so that who Jesus is can be clear to others.   This suggests two things:

1. We need to actually know who Jesus is.

2. We need to use what we know about Him to live so that others can come to know Him too. 

I love in James (2:14-26) how it talks about faith & action and neither one working without the other.  In fact it says it’s dead! It’s that idea that our faith coupled with our action can be the most effective.  If we believe and know that Jesus has saved us, that He loves us, wants us to have a full life into eternity, and wants this for all people - shouldn’t this impact the way we choose to live life and interact with others? Our desire will be that others come to faith in Jesus, and our actions will reflect that.  A simple way for me to think about it is this – Jesus loved us, so we will want to love others.  Jesus forgives us, so we should forgive others.  Jesus accepted people for who they were, so we should try not to change people before we accept them.  Living life like Jesus did will impact others and help them come to know Him too.

Too often as Christians I think we neglect what our actions or even words are saying.  If we profess to be Christians – then even if not intentionally, who we are tells a story about who Jesus is.  If we preach and tell people that Jesus loved us so much that He died for our sins so we can have freedom, yet as Christians don’t show love to others – are we confusing the message of who Jesus is?  

As a youth pastor I feel like there is so much you can say and do that will impact the understanding of the young people you are in contact with.  In fact the pressure is on…who I say Jesus is, and who I ‘show’ who Jesus is, is so important.  If I say to a young person that Jesus believes they are worth it yet can’t be bothered spending time with the young person, am I really showing them that what Jesus says is truth?  I want to be that youth pastor who shows my kids the best idea of who Jesus is.  I want to be the Salvo that lives out the covenant I committed to and through that show people they are loved and accepted.  I want to be that Christian who knows who Jesus is and live a life that reflects that.  I want to be that person that knows how my actions coupled with my faith can help people come to know Him.

I wonder – who are you portraying in your actions or what you say?  Are you living a life that really does reflect who Jesus is?  Are you intentionally making sure you are sending out the best message of who Jesus is?  Or is there perhaps some confusion in the message you are sending out?

I know that my high school years didn’t go to waste.  Some of my best friends are people I met at my high school and I am constantly seeing God do a work in their lives.  I know that one conversation wasn’t necessarily a reflection of every persons understanding of who I was at that time.  But how grateful am I for that one small interaction that is a constant reminder that if I want to be a Christian and therefore share the Good News of Jesus to those I encounter and meet; I need to live a life that reflects who Jesus is so that the message is clear, and that others may come to know His love and goodness in their lives.

 

 

  

 

 

   

 

 

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