I had the great opportunity to spend half a day learning and discovering some truths toward understanding how better to share the Gospel in the community that surrounds the church. I learned several things as I spent time in prayer and heard from different speakers throughout this time.
Sharing the Gospel can be enigmatic or mysterious at times because as the world changes we have to change the ways we share our faith. To make things a bit more clear I thought it would be important to start simply by explaining what the Gospel is.
The word Gospel is a transliterated word from the German word "Good-spell" that simply means good news. When people reference the word Gospel they typically mean the good news that humanity can have hope. This hope is that people can have a live a life in relationship with God. This relationship with God is possible through a faith in Jesus.
Lots of people don't even know they need this kind of hope. They live life day to day just trying to maintain or find a normal pattern of life often finding themselves running in an rat race. When anyone is on a rat race it is hard to get their head up to see that hope is even possible.
The journey for those of us who have found hope in Christ to share this good news needs to begin with a heart to help expose people to the truth that they can find the hope they need and that all is possible in Christ.
1) The Christian Church in America lives in Exile.
Dr. Bruce Humphrey's from Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church shared on how the church in America is very different than it was in the post WWII or Boomer generation. The challenge for church leaders today is to live an interact with the people in our cities as though we aren't the dominant voice.
2) God will take us to places we may not want to go.
The question then becomes "How will you respond to where God brings you?" Will you love the place God brings you? Do you love the place you are? Too many times we either a) wait for where God is going to take us or b) don't realize that God wants us working where we live. This is a good reminder that God wants His people to be His representatives wherever they are.
3) God's Spirit is at still at work.
There are times we think it can be difficult to reach out and share our faith with people outside of our spheres of influence. What we fail to remember is that God wants to reach people more than we do and has already began working in and around us in others to prepare them to hear the great Gospel we have. Our job is to be ready to share our Gospel with our words and deeds.
4) Do something in your community.
I've heard it said several times "showing up is half the battle". One of the things that will help Christians share the Gospel will be to show up in the community that you live in and contribute in a meaningful way. This may mean you give up more of your personal time on Facebook or watching premium cable but can have a significant ripple effect in your community.
5) Be a positive force where you live.
It is so easy to get irritated and upset with the negative things that happen in our neighborhoods and cities. Communities of people need to deal with the negative issues in order to create safe and healthy environments. Communities also need to hear about the positive things that are happening as well. The brain processes negative information more than twice as strong as positive information. The need for positivity in our world is critical for the development of healthy communities which then create in roads towards sharing the Gospel.
6) Learn about the resources your community offers.
There are many needs in the community you live in and some needs are greater than others. In many cases there are organizations and people your community that are equipped to handle the easier and more difficult cases you will encounter. Knowing the organizations that are equipped to help people in need will help embolden you towards sharing the great hope that comes with knowing Christ.
7) Welcome people into your midst
It is easy to stay inside our own circles and informal clubs we build around ourselves. We all too easily insulate ourselves from the world around us because... well life is easier that way. The best way to share God's hope is to carry with us an attitude that welcomes other people rather than reaches out and keeps people out. You have to exercise wisdom in all situations, let reemphasize that, you must exercise wisdom when sharing your faith. You must also represent God's heart by being one who welcomes people into your midst.
8) Figure out how to get involved with your city's recreation program.
One of the things we as Christians regularly need to overcome is the simple fact that because we so easily insulate we fail to develop relationships with those outside the church. One of the easiest ways we can develop relationships with people is by plugging into the recreation programs your city offers and taking the opportunity to build authentic relationships as you interact with others through volunteering.
9) Earn the right to be heard.
It is easy to assume that because you have good news that others want to hear it. Sometimes when we take the approach that we must share good news with people it can fall on deaf ears as we've not yet earned the trust necessary to communicate it. It is wise for us to take the time to build real relationships with people in a way where we earn the right to share the critical message of the Gospel of hope.
Everything we do must be bathed in prayer. The best way to share the Gospel is by talking to God and asking for his help. Whatever we do we must always be wiling to talk to God and ask him for his help.
There are probably many more ways that would be helpful in sharing the Gospel but in my time listening and learning about a variety of ways of reaching the community these are the ones that stood out. Feel free to comment below.