About one month ago, I asked the Lord to help me personally go out in evangelism every weekday with a student from Midwestern. I lined up a Monday student, two Tuesday students, and a Wednesday student (having faculty meetings on Thursday and class on Friday). We were to meet at 3pm, go somewhere in Kansas City for evangelism, and be back before 4:30pm.
My first Monday, I picked up Omar Vazquez at the library, and we went to the West Bottoms right off of Cesar E. Chavez Avenue. We knocked on doors for about an hour, and had some good conversations about Jesus. We got back into my car, and headed back to the seminary.
Then something happened on Hwy 35, just ½ mile from the seminary exit. A water hose blew in the upper part of the engine. I thought the car was going to blow up. We quickly got off the road, called a tow truck, and now I was without a vehicle.
The next day I cancelled the Tuesday outreach for lack of a vehicle. Wednesday around noon another hose blew in the same vehicle. Again, I had to cancel my Wednesday outreach. Then on Saturday the head gasket went out on the way to a local church outreach with Fellowship KC.
“A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps”(Prov 16:9)
While I planned to attempt organized daily evangelism, it was not an easy thing to accomplish. There is, in fact, a battle for the souls of men.
While it may not be easy, and while prayer and commitment to the Lord may be needed, I want us to consider what I have found to be the most difficult spiritual discipline:
The discipline of daily evangelism.
In Acts 17:17 we read:
“Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there”(Acts 17:17)
Paul, the busy apostle, who was not only following up on new believers, caring for the churches he planted, and writing the letters that we have come to know as Scripture, while in Athens took on the challenge of daily intentional evangelism. Now that’s a challenge!
In so doing, Paul was fulfilling a command in the Book of Psalms:
“Sing to the LORD, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day”(Psa 96:2)
If it was a valid spiritual discipline for Paul, is it not equally a valid discipline for us living today? Is this not of special importance in light of our current decline in conversions, baptisms, and church attendance?
May I suggest several ways in which this discipline can be fulfilled? I would ask you, dear reader, to ask the Lord for His wisdom and guidance as you read these options:
- Being ready every day to give an answer to anyone who may ask us for the hope that is within us (1 Pet 3:15). To fulfill this discipline, it would be good to learn a gospel presentation and daily ask God for opportunities to share the gospel.
- Keeping a gospel tract in our shirt or purse, and daily looking for opportunities to give one to someone we may encounter. To fulfill this we will need to pick up a packet of gospel tracts to hand out.
- Making ourselves accountable to someone else to share the gospel every day, checking in with them weekly to share opportunities that we had in sharing the gospel that week.
- Planning a daily routine of evangelism in the marketplace, in the street, or door-to-door, with Sunday taken as a day of rest. Was this not the example of Paul in Acts 17:17 as noted above? I have also been told that this was the spiritual discipline of D. L. Moody in Chicago.
- Partnering with people to evangelize every day. I have heard of this level of discipline twice in my life: Don Cass, former Director of Evangelism for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, went out daily near lunch time to share the gospel. Loren Phippen, a former Midwestern Student, Associate Pastor at Believer’s Baptist Church in Wichita, Kansas, went out daily in his last semester as a student at Midwestern.
Would you, dear reader, consider the Acts 17:17 Challenge? Is it a worthwhile spiritual discipline in light of all that Christ has done for us? Could not the Holy Spirit lead us to accept this challenge at some level? Should we not daily ask God for opportunities to tell of His salvation? Should we not find a friend who could hold us accountable in this very important area?
“Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God” (Luke 12:8-9).