Getting the Gospel Out
Last week we considered ways that we can get the gospel in; today we want to think about how to get the gospel out.
One important clarification: I’m not thinking like we think about so many other things right now. In these thoughts below on Getting the Gospel Out, I don’t mean, “once everything goes back to normal…” If we convince ourselves that we need to wait until everything returns to normal, not only will we have missed many opportunities in the meantime, once “normal” comes we’ll more than likely find another reason to wait. Something else will always come up. So these thoughts are not about how we can get the gospel out in 2021, but right now––how can we get the gospel out in the fall of 2020?
Don’t Forget Your Home: The Importance of Family Bible Time
For parents and grandparents, getting the gospel out starts in the place where we spend the most time and where we’ll have the most influence: in our own homes.
In calling us to bring the word of God into the lives of others, Scripture first instructs us to do this with our own families: Deuteronomy 6:7 instructs us to “diligently” teach our children the words of God. Two chapters earlier, the Lord extended that call to include grandparents instructing their grandchildren (Deuteronomy 4:9). In the New Testament, fathers are told to bring up their children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
Our family still has a lot to learn about how this looks in practice, but what we have learned over the years is the value of what we call “family Bible time,” along with the importance of many, mini conversations. However it looks for you, whether you’re a grandmother who keeps her grandchildren in the afternoons or for an occasional overnight stay, or parents with kids in the home, find ways to bring the Bible into their lives and have ongoing conversations about Christ. The most important place you can invest yourself for gospel proclamation is in your own home.
Bring the Gospel to Greenville: Simple, Everyday Conversations
Just as clearly as Scripture calls us to start at home, it also shows us that we’re not to stop at home. The early church went out speaking the word as they left Jerusalem; Peter instructed his readers to always be ready to speak about the hope that was in them; Jesus himself said it plainly: “make disciples.”
But if you’re like many of us, the idea of having gospel conversations turns your stomach into a knot. We’re often not sure how to even get started, not to mention what we’ll say once the gospel comes up. What can we do to help this out?
First, we need to reframe our thinking. We’re not talking here about going downtown with a sign, a handful of gospel tracts, and a bullhorn. Instead, think about everyday conversations in your neighborhood, at your work, and where you play.
This means we may need to be more intentional with these places. You may need to initiate more times around your neighbors, to build your relationship with them. You may need to spend more time asking people in your office about their lives, to get to know them more and build more trust.
But once there, look for opportunities to turn everyday conversations into gospel conversations instead of only looking for an opening to give a canned presentation. I’m stealing that phrase from the title of a very short, very helpful book by the same name: Turning Everyday Conversations into Gospel Conversations by Jimmy Scroggins, Steve Wright, and Leslee Bennett.
Additionally, another great resource is Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out by Scott Hildreth and Steven McKinion. With chapters like “Evangelism is better when it’s a conversation” and “Evangelism is best in relationships,” this book can help you grow in bringing the gospel to the places where you already live, work, and play.
Engage in Strategic Prayer: Your Part for the Nations
Finally, don’t forget our nation and the nations. While you may not be able to personally take the gospel to Boston, Massachusetts or to northern Africa or the Middle East, you can play a role in the gospel getting there.
First, you may be surprised at how international Greenville is becoming. Whether I’m downtown or at Paris Mountain State Park or even walking in the neighborhoods near our home, it is not uncommon for me to hear other languages and accents. The nations are here, so we can reach people from the ends of the earth right here in Greenville. If you want to be very intentional in this, let us know and we’d love to help you get started.
But while all of us may not choose to invest specifically in internationals here in Greenville, all of us can (and should!) pray.
Pray for gospel advancing work in our nation and in the nations. Follow the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board and the South Carolina Baptist Convention on social media to stay current in prayer opportunities. Visit places like IMB.org/pray and get daily prayer requests from our missionaries on the field.
Pray specifically for our missionary partners. Contact us, and we’ll help you get on the update list for King’s Hill Church in Boston, the G-family in Indonesia, or our friends in Nigeria. The work of all of these has been hampered by Covid. King’s Hill has just recently begun meeting again and many of our missionaries are temporarily back in the states. Prayer for the work to continue despite these difficulties is greatly needed.
As we pray, God moves. That’s why Paul implored the church in Colossae to pray for him and his missionary teammates (Colossians 4:2–4). What can you do to build strategic prayer for our nation and the nations into your day?
At home, in Greenville, to the nations; through prayer and strategic conversations; with a coworker at lunch or with our children in our living room––Mountain Creek, let’s get the gospel out.
Bert Watts has served since December 2016 as the Senior Pastor at Mountain Creek Baptist Church, where he has been on staff since 2012.