“Hey, I remember you!” Ginny* greeted the medical technician as she came into the room full of equipment.
“Oh yes, you were here a year ago, right?” Sonia replied. She had a distinct accent, which Ginny soon learned was due to her Eastern European heritage.
The two women chatted about the weather, where they each were from, and how they came to live in their small town. As Sonia arranged the scanning equipment, she asked Ginny, “So what do you do?”
Ginny has been a GoodSeed staff member for many years. Since she’s made it her habit to look for opportunities to reach out, she had a ready reply for Sonia: “I work with an organization called GoodSeed. We make books for people who maybe aren’t religious, but who are curious about the story of of the Bible–about the Old Testament and the New Testament–and about what it all means.”
“Oh!” Sonia exclaimed, with obvious interest. “I was born in Ukraine, but I’m actually Jewish, and I’ve been asking people, ‘Can you tell me what the Old Testament is all about?’ But no one has been able to answer me.”
GoodSeed staff Jeremy* hung up the phone and stared at the hastily scribbled notes in his small notebook. Joy gripped his heart as he considered all that the Lord had been doing through the faithful witness of one couple, Ron and Laura. Jeremy had conducted a training session some years ago that the two of them had attended. It had made such an impact that they went home and began rearranging their lives so they could be more active in sharing the gospel.
Laura had told Jeremy over the phone, “Ron used to work construction on job sites long distances from home, which made it difficult for him to be involved in these studies. But God has helped us rearrange our lives so that he now has a job only two minutes away.”
Was this drastic change worth it? Laura said, “This is the easiest thing we have done with our lives… but not the quickest.” Sharing a clear gospel with others takes time, but the results are worth it. Both Ron and Laura felt that the tools provided by GoodSeed gave their outreach a greater impact.
Laura said, “When you learn to share the gospel this way [with these tools] it simplifies your life… you know what to do!”
Jeremy marvelled at what the couple had done. He smiled as he reviewed the stories they had shared with him.
Easter is an open door to engage with the people around you, often resulting in giving a book or even guiding a study. This next month may hold opportunities for you to share the gospel with your boss… or your brother… or the neighbour who has gone through cancer this year… or the jogger who passes you every day on your morning walk.
For many people, Easter simply equals chocolate and bunnies. But there are those who are curious about the season and its significance. There are also those who still make their traditional visits to church on Easter Sunday. Often, people are more willing to hear about the death and resurrection of Jesus at this time of year. Therefore, as believers, let us proactively create opportunities to share the real meaning and significance of Easter this season.
It is not unusual to see accounts from the Bible make it to the silver screen. Even if the films are not biblically accurate, they are good conversation starters that allow us to share what the Bible really does say. It is an opportunity for us to share the message of the gospel.
This year is the release of Risen. It tells the story of Christ’s resurrection from the perspective of a Roman soldier. Rather than throwing doubt onto the biblical account, Risen supports it. It presents Jesus as the Messiah sent by Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews. While one can appreciate how the story is crafted, the movie doesn’t explain why Jesus died and rose again. And so here is a good opportunity to take the conversation further with your unsaved friends who have seen the film.
“Ming Wei, you need to come home urgently. Your grandmother might not last long!”
When he received the phone call from his parents, Ming Wei’s* heart grew heavy. Not only was he concerned about his grandmother’s health, he had a much deeper concern—he was worried about the spiritual state of his grandmother.
As an overseas Chinese student, Ming Wei had the opportunity to learn about Christianity and had become a believer just a couple of years ago. Now as he packed to go home to China, he was anxious about how to broach the subject of the gospel with his ailing grandmother. Since coming to Christ, he hadn’t found himself in this position before and he was at a loss as to how to talk to her about Christ. One thing he did know—time was short and this would be his one and only opportunity to address her eternal destiny.
Betty Scott Stam, a young wife and mother serving as a missionary to China in the 1930s, didn’t just know the gospel in theory. It was her life. And it ended up costing everything. She and her husband, John, were martyred as a result of their witness for Christ. Years before this happened, she wrote,
“Nobody can force a single soul to turn to Christ. All that the followers of Jesus have to do, all they can do, is to lift up Christ before the world, bring Him into dingy corners and dark places of the earth where He is unknown, introduce Him to strangers, talk about Him to everybody and live so closely with and in Him that others may see that there really is such a person as Jesus.” *
What Betty understood is something that each of us is called to. We are ambassadors for Christ. This is not a part-time job that we somehow “fit in” to our busy schedules. All believers are given the biblical mandate to live a lifelong lifestyle of being ready to share the gospel at a moment’s notice.
Keith and Elaine* had enjoyed the past two years. Living in Thailand had its challenges and the language was not simple to learn, but they had grown to love the country and its people. They also appreciated the pastoral leadership Chaow gave to the Thai church and enjoyed building relationships with the Thai believers. As their understanding of the language progressed, they were able to participate more in the work Chaow and his wife, Lawan, were doing.
But Keith wasn’t sure how to respond when Chaow approached him about leading a Bible study. It was an intimidating thought. Yes, he had put extensive hours into language study and yes, he would love to come alongside the church’s discipleship program, but he did not feel ready for the responsibility. Where would he start?
It was a warm Sunday in late fall. The church service was over, and Pastor Sam,* his wife Karen, and their seven children enjoyed some time of fellowship with their friends before piling into the van. Sixteen-year-old Andrew hopped into the driver’s seat of the big 15-passenger van, and Pastor Sam settled into the front passenger seat. They only lived a few miles from church, but every little bit of driving practice was good experience for Andrew. Once Karen and the children were settled in, Andrew drove out of the parking lot and onto the highway. It was little Stephanie’s fourth birthday, and they were looking forward to an afternoon party at home with family and friends.
One moment there were the happy sounds of the children talking, then CRASH! The deafening screech of tires was followed instantly by the sickening sound of crunching metal. The children erupted in screams. Sam was disoriented but regained his senses quickly. Glancing back, he was shocked to discover the front of a black pickup actually in the van! It had smashed through the two rear doors.
I realized how much the world really has changed… we really can’t just assume people are biblically literate—even those who attend our church every week. I’m going to talk to church leadership about how we can use these tools for outreach… and also with everyone who is already in our church.” – Fletcher, 2015 TERM participant
Fletcher was enthusiastic as he shared with us his evangelism plans. Having finished the one-day TERM Seminar in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, he had caught the vision of how it was possible for an ordinary believer like himself to reach the people in his community with the gospel. He had come to see that in today’s world, believers needed to rethink how to share the unchanging gospel in a way that makes sense to people with little or no knowledge about the Bible.
Fletcher was among 100 attendees who were at the first of our seven seminars being held across the USA this fall. Some of the participants lived right in town. Others came from as far away as Libby, Montana and Seattle, Washington. But the ones who travelled the farthest were those of a church group from British Columbia, Canada!