Obstacles in Motivating Your People Towards Evangelism
I have the privilege of pastoring Sentral Church in Oklahoma City. Over the last 18 months we have learned and relearned disciple making. With multiple tries, successes and failures we have learned one thing more than any other. The greatest hindrance to the Kingdom of God in our lives is the lump in our throat before we share the gospel. We set a goal the last three months of 2015 to share the gospel 96 times a month. That goal required each of us to share 3 times weekly. There were only 8 of us. We never hit the goal, but we did see our shares go from 8-10 a month to 35-40 a month. Now the Lord has challenged us beyond what we anticipated. Starting in 2016 we are working towards a mouth to ear gospel conversation with ever person in the OKC Metro area. Every person equals roughly 1.3 million people of which 1.2 million do no attend church.
Crazy goal, I know. But we want #NoPlaceLeft in OKC where someone has not personally heard the gospel and been encouraged to follow Jesus. Eight people cannot accomplish such a feat. But we will encounter other believers who want to be trained to share and watch new believers become fishers of men. The biggest obstacle: How do each of us overcome that lump in our throat?
You are Jesus’ ambassador with a ministry and message. That’s what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21. Who you believe you are determines what you will do. You need to accept this identity and we need to train others to accept their identity in Christ. This is how we train old and new believers alike.
Identity: Followers Sent by Jesus
What are you?
You are a new creation. Look at 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” You are not the same. Everything has changed. But why has Jesus changed you? [quote]Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away.. behold, the new has come.[/quote]
Why are you a new creation?
You were made a new creation for your ministry. Look at verse 18: “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” God restored your broken relationship through Christ to give you the ministry of reconciliation. I say it this way, God saved you with someone else in mind. Those “someones” are your relational network: People, Places, and Passions.
You also have a message: Look at verse 19: “that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” The world’s sins don’t have to be counted against them. God has entrusted this message to you! Do you take what is entrusted to you and keep it to yourself? No! The message was entrusted to you for your ministry.
This is your identity. Look at verse 20: “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” You are Jesus’ ambassador with a ministry and a message! When the King sends his ambassador, he does so under his authority for his ministry with his message. God will make his appeal through you because men (and women) are God’s method.
How did God make you an Ambassador?
Living as Christ’s Ambassador with a ministry and a message in an incredible privilege and responsibility. How did he accomplish this incredible transformation? Paul tells us in verse 21: “For our sake he made [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in [Jesus] we might become the righteousness of God.” Jesus became your sin. When you followed Jesus you became his righteousness!
Don’t think you have what it takes? Let me tell you a story from John 4.
Jesus and his disciples were making the journey from Judea to Galilee through the region of Samaria. It was a long journey so about noon that day they passed a little town called Sychar and stopped at the well Jacob had given his son Joseph centuries before. Jesus was tired so he sat down by the well and sent the disciples into town to buy some food.
A woman came out from the town to draw water and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” On this ordinary day she was caught a little off guard. The woman says to Jesus, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” First of all Jews didn’t talk to Samaritans (it was a racism thing) and secondly men didn’t talk to women much either.
But Jesus said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
The woman replied, “And how are you going to get this living water, you don’t even have a bucket and the well is deep. Do you think you are greater than Jacob and his family who dug and used this well?”
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
And of course the woman said, “Give me this water! That way I won’t have to be thirsty or keep coming here to draw water.”
Then the Jesus moment arrives. He said to her, “Go, call you husband and come here.”
This was not what the woman expected. She came to the well just to get some water. Now this Jewish man is talking to her and asking about her husband. The question was a normal one, but not for her. She was racing in her mind about all of her past mistakes. “I have no husband,” she said. Simple, to the point and not a lie. Shew! Crisis averted.
“You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true,” Jesus said.
“Oh no. He knows,” she thinks. “How does he know that? He must be a prophet. Great! Another religious person is going to tell me of my horrid sinful life and mock me for my past. How do I get out of this one? Change the subject quick!”
She answered, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”
Jesus responded,” Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is form the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
You could almost hear her change in tone. This man was speaking very different than the prophets she had heard, but still this wasn’t what she had planned today. She said, “I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will tell us all things.”
Jesus said, “I who speak to you am he.”
Wait just one moment. He knew everything about this woman and spoke like no other person she had heard. Could he be? The woman ran back to town and told everyone who would listen, “Come meet the man who told me everything I ever did! Could he be the Christ?”
The disciples had made their way back with the supplies from town. From a distance they saw Jesus talking to the woman but none of them were brave enough to ask Jesus what he was doing or why he was talking to her. They tried to talk Jesus into eating something from town. But Jesus said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”
Of course the disciples were confused (aren’t they always?). They had just gone into town for food and now Jesus didn’t want anything to eat. Maybe someone had brought him something? But Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.” Then Jesus explained to the disciples: farmers plant their fields and know there are 4 more months until harvest, yet right before the disciples eyes the harvest was ready. They had not planted but they would reap the rewards of someone else’s labor. They were about to gather the people who were going to believe for eternal life. While Jesus was talking, the townspeople people had all come to the well.
Many of the people of Sychar had already believed because of the woman’s testimony. When they found Jesus they begged him to stay and Jesus taught for two more days. The people then said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
So let’s get this straight. Twelve disciples who had been spending time with Jesus go into town and come back with only food. A five-time divorcee who was shacking up with a guy goes back to town and in the end the whole town believes. Yep. Turns out this was no ordinary day.
Take a good look at this story.
- Who was the ambassador?
- Who was her ministry?
- What was her message?
- What were the results?
- What were her credentials/qualifications?
When you follow Jesus he will make you a fisher of men. The woman at he well became an ambassador after a 20-minute conversation with Jesus. Her ministry was the town of Sychar and her message was simple, “Come meet the man who told me everything I ever did. Could he be the Christ?” The results were incredible: the town came out to see Jesus, and after he stayed to teach for two days, the townspeople didn’t just believe that he “might” be the Christ. They said he was the Savior of the world.” This woman was no Billy Graham. She was no highly educated pastor. She wasn’t even a good church going bible-believing Christian. She had met Jesus and Jesus sent her back to a town the disciples simply saw as a place to buy food.
Are you convinced? I hope so, because the greatest hindrance to the kingdom of God is the lump in your throat before you speak the gospel. So ambassador, who is your ministry and what is your message?
Our guide to train others as Ambassadors with a Ministry and Message.