Proclaim: Using the July Break to Reach the Lost
Lately, I’ve been enjoying fascinating stories about the many Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Maybe you’ve heard of Mr. Holmes, a London-based detective known for his astute logical reasoning and his incredible ability to solve difficult cases through forensic science and a keen sense of observation.
Holmes’ friend and colleague, Dr. Watson, does most of the narrating in these short stories and he seems to be constantly amazed with Mr. Holmes’ abilities. In one memorable exchange recorded in A Scandal in Bohemia (1892), Dr. Watson expresses his wonder at Holmes’ capacity to deduce complex situations:
Watson records, “I could not help but laughing at the ease with which he explained his process of deduction.” And then he remarks to Mr. Holmes, “When I hear you give your reasons, the thing always appears to me to be so ridiculously simple that I could easily do it myself.”
To this, Holmes’ replies, “Quite so. You see… but you do not observe.”
I believe many of us approach evangelism with a similar outlook. We see others who are effective in evangelism and outreach and skilled in sharing their faith, but we have difficulty observing what makes them so effective. Yet, when they explain themselves, it all seems so ridiculously simple that we could easily do it ourselves!
Four Suggestions for Using Your July Break to Reach the Lost
The goal of this article is to equip you to use your July Break from Care Groups to reach out to the lost. We want to take the mystery out of outreach and return to the simplicity of it all. After reviewing these suggestions, I believe the thing will appear to you to be so ridiculously simple that you will want to do it yourself!
1. Discipline yourself to be with unbelievers
We obviously can’t share the gospel with unbelievers if we are never with unbelievers. So our first suggestion for outreach is to plan time to be with those who do not know Christ. It’s really as simple as picking up the phone, sending a text, or firing off an email inviting someone who does not know Jesus to do something with you.
You could schedule a lunch with a co-worker, invite a neighbor over for dinner, meet a family at a park, or go to a social event together. Some Care Groups have hosted group cookouts where they have inviting family members, co-workers, neighbors, and friends for a night together with their group. The point is to take the initiative. Remember, as we take initiative toward others, we reflect the image of God who took the initiative with us.
2. Take a genuine interest in the details of others’ lives
Spend time getting to know people. Draw them out about the details of their lives. Take an interest in their background, their jobs, their hobbies and their family life. You will find that people are willing to share with those who are genuinely interested and are willing to listen. You will also gain a heart for others as you hear about how they interact with and interpret the difficulties of everyday life.
3. Turn conversations toward spiritual matters
One of the best ways we can turn conversations toward spiritual matters is by offering to pray for someone. I have seen conversations turn from superficial to supernatural (with a clear, open door for proclaiming the gospel) with just this one question, “Is there any way I can be praying for you?”
Another good question you can ask is, “Does your family attend church anywhere?” Let others know that you’re a Christian. In a natural, unforced kind of way tell them about your faith. Talk about the goodness of God in your life. Invite people to come to church with you. Share your story with them and then ask them about their faith. Simple questions like these can open wonderful doors for gospel proclamation.
4. Finally, share the good news!
The gospel literally means “good news”! There is no greater news in all the world than the news that Jesus Christ died for our sins (1 Cor. 15:3; 1 Tim. 1:15)! Anyone who turns from their sins and trusts in Jesus Christ alone will be forgiven of their sins and granted eternal life (Rom. 10:12-13). What incredible good news this is to those who are aware they are lost! We have the unspeakable privilege of proclaiming this good news knowing that it is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16).
Donald Whitney has written, “Sharing the gospel is like walking around in a thunderstorm and handing out lightning rods. You don’t know when the lightning is going to strike or who it will strike, but you know what it’s going to strike—the lighting rod of the gospel. And when it does, that person’s lightning rod is going to be charged with the power of God and he or she is going to believe.”
This July Break, let’s joyfully plan to spend time with unbelievers, take a genuine interest in their lives, turn conversations toward spiritual matters, and trust God to use us to proclaim the good news of the gospel for His glory!