David asked an important question
Do you mind if I start a conversation about #2? Don’t train in order to change people priorities. Train people who want to make disciples.
Earlier this year I translated Ying when he was speaking at a service here in Hamburg. After giving some basic training Ying asked for a show of hands who wanted to start sharing the Good News with someone. Only a handful raised their hands.
Ying wasn’t satisfied and shared this analogy (in my own words):
“Imagine David would give me a gift of $10 and I would call my wife in the middle of the night to tell her: ‘Grace, I need to tell you something. David gave me a gift of $10!’ – what would she tell me? Probably ‘Ying, are you crazy to wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me this?’” Then Ying continued. “But what would happen, if David gave me a gift of $ 1.000.000 and I would call my wife in the middle of the night to tell her this? She would be excited and thrilled about it.”
Then Ying continued and told the audience: “You have something that is like the one million dollar gift”
After the service I shared with Ying my observation in a lot of churches in Germany. I said to him: “You are right in what you said, but the problem is that many Christians feel that what they have or experience in Jesus is like the $10 gift. They are not excited about what they have. And I wouldn’t be either if I would believe what they have been told in their church experience.” Background to this: We have a lot of legalistic thinking in our churches. People believe, that they need to perform (or behave well) in order for God to love them. (I imagine you would find lots of those in the UK as well)
Ying in a later training started with the Father heart of God. So that people would first change their thinking about God.
So coming back to #2: f I would really only focus on those who want to be trained, I would find only a handful (plus in this handful I would probably also have some who feel they need to share the Gospel, in order to be loved and accepted by God, not BECAUSE they are accepted and loved – which is not helpful either).
What’s your take on this problem?
Here’s my response:
The accepted and loved was definitely not my problem. I had that. The real change occurred when God spoke through my wife Michelle after I wrote my book on Movements. She said, “Great book Steve, but when are you going to do something?” I felt God’s rebuke and his challenge in those words.
Deep down I didn’t think I was any good at sharing my faith. I didn’t think God could use me. The solution was nothing less than faith expressed in obedience. Then came the excitement of seeing God at work and a deeper love for people far from him because they now had names and faces.
Jesus’ command and promise has meant a lot to me since then, “Come follow me, and I’ll teach you to fish for people.”
I think there are a lot of reasons why people don’t share. Not having a vital relationship with Christ is an important one. Following comes first. Then as we step out in fear and trembling Jesus promises to be our teacher.
I also keep in mind that the best evangelists are not experts like me but new disciples.