Readers would recall that in the previous part of this Series, we
reflected upon the seriousness of our calling to be Fishers of Men.
Today, let's come to the two difficult groups, we encounter at
the time of Personal evangelism and the dynamics of Mass Evangelism.
The two "difficult" categories of people to whom, we can possibly reach by way of personal evangelism are firstly those whom we meet regularly (our co-students, office colleagues, family members, etc.) and the second category are those whom, we may meet only once in a while (our fellow plane, long-journey bus/rail passengers, fellow customers sitting beside us in a Bank/Spa etc). While the former to be influenced would need us to not only to speak but also live our faith day in and day out, which can be accomplished only by His strength (John 15:4), then the latter would need to see the urgency in our demeanor and earnestness of the message in a few minutes/hours we may be with them (a la Phillip -- See Acts 8:26-39), which too can be accomplished only by His power. Oh how true the words of our Lord "... For without Me, you cannot do anything." (John 15:5).
While with the former group, opportunities of sharing the gospel are bound to come as there is no paucity of time, with the latter we need to prayerfully look out for opportunities soon to share the Gospel, as the time at hand is scarce. Sharing what the Gospel has done in your life, should be preceded by establishing "a Common Ground" (I Cor 9:19-23). By common ground, I mean a topic of mutual interest. The "common ground", I have found in my personal evangelism efforts whilst travelling, sitting beside a fellow customer in a bank or waiting alongside others for my turn for a hair cut in a Barber shop/my turn for massaging in a spa are usually topics of "current media interest" or "sports" or "vocation of my spiritual prospect", which I can immediately know, provided I introduce myself immediately giving my visiting card with respect ... a la Japanese. Once the common ground is established, prayerfully depend on the Holy Spirit to veer the discussion towards your own personal experience of personally experiencing the power and joy of the Gospel. Leave the ultimate results of sowing the Gospel seed into the hands of the Lord ... hey, there are going to be surprises in Heaven ...
Mass evangelism (a public manifestation of God’s power) as opposed to personal evangelism (silent manifestation of God’s power) would entail operation of Apostolic gifts (2 Cor 12:12/Acts 19:11-12) too. At all times during Mass evangelism (organized by way of massive public meetings) "signs and wonders" would carry the day for God’s servants. Apostles and Evangelists (Eph 4:11-12) are especially anointed by the Almighty to do several astonishing miracles whereby public attention is drawn to them and then eventually to the all Powerful One, who is the source behind all the miraculous works. Needy public (mostly facing health problems) are drawn to them as iron filings to a magnet. Once delivered from physical distress say life-threatening diseases like cancer, what other choice is left to the "delivered lot" and their family members who are personal witness to a stupendous miracle then to accept the "Omnipotent Deliverer" into their hearts! While on the subject of Apostles (the highest in the ranks of Christian Ministerial hierarchy -- See 1 Cor 12:28) mightily used by the good Lord, it needs to be noted that the good Lord in His sovereign wisdom, places at times "some thorn in the flesh" (read some secret physical or emotional infirmity) of the wonders-working Apostles, lest they get puffed up with pride (2 Cor 12:1-10)! Strong as is their relationship with the Almighty, they accept "these thorns in the flesh" and get on with it humbly!
Amazing thing about the Lord’s amazing grace is that both personal evangelists (read lay Christians) and mighty, full-time Apostles would be entitled to the crowns of rejoicing, though it needs to be remembered Apostles and Evangelists would get more of them as they would be winning more souls en masse.
A personal evangelist or a mighty apostle, let's be earnest fishers of men! Caught any "fish" of late, pal?
Prayer: Father, I am comforted by your promise that my labour for you would never be in vain (I Cor 15:58). Help me always to be a passionate witness for Thee. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
(To access the entire "Fishers of Men" mini-series, please click here.)