Getting ready for Open Churches Week 2017
All of us feel inadequate and afraid just like Gideon. But God said to him, ‘The Lord is with you, mighty warrior!’ (Judges 6.12). The Holy Spirit was given to equip us to be witnesses.
One year I taught the Norwich Bible Camp how to talk to strangers. The next year a young man told me that he had felt prompted to talk to a man on the next bench in a Norwich Park – but he was glued to his seat with fear. Then the man got up to leave. Highly embarrassed he ran after him to say that God loved him. The man thanked him, and that was that. ‘But’, he said, ‘as I walked back to my seat, I was drenched with JOY!’
But how do we start? Just smiling at someone and saying ‘Good morning’ may be a beginning. You can say something nice to people, like ‘What a lovely baby, what a nice car, what a pretty dress, what a nice dog etc.’ This can lead on to a question. You have only a moment, so get straight to the point. ‘Do you go to Church?’ This may give you an opportunity to tell how you became a believer – just like St Paul!
You may comment on a recent tragedy in the news. This raises the question, ‘Have you worked out what happens when we die?’ Or you may comment on the beauty of creation – does this suggest a Creator?
Remember to smile, and let the Holy Spirit lead you. If God knows you want to talk, he will bring people to you. I have found that about 70 per cent of the people I meet on a walk, at a pub, in Sainsbury’s queue, on the train have someone praying for them! Always look for captive audiences like a cab driver, or someone delivering a parcel or similar.
Finally, you will gradually grow to walk as Jesus walked. On a walk I met a Mum and her teenage daughter with a bad knee after two failed operations. I offered to ask Jesus to heal her. They agreed and he did! As God promises, ‘These signs will accompany those who believe in my name they will lay their hands on the sick and they will be healed.’ Mark 16.17.
So please do it your way, as the Spirit leads you. Jump out of the boat and get lots of JOY! Then you will have food people don’t know about, doing the will of your Father and completing his work. John 4.31,34.
John Wright is an evangelist. He delights to teach churches and deaneries how to talk to strangers with lots of laughter! You can contact him on: 01508 494366 or email@example.com or www.branchpress.com