Do our evangelistic efforts count for anything? The good news first...
Baptist Press has a recent story quoting SWBTS Evangelism Professor Roy Fish as saying,
"On average, one person who is lost comes the seventh time he or she is exposed to the Gospel."
"To illustrate, Fish recounted the many exposures to the Gospel in his own journey to faith -- a Sunday School teacher, someone who placed a tract in a bus station and a sermon from a pastor. Each individual shared the Gospel with Fish, but none of them were present when his moment of salvation came. Fish challenged [his audience] to be willing to be the fourth or fifth contact in the process of someone coming to salvation."
"There would never be a number seven, he said, if there wasn't a number four."
That is certainly something to think about. How many of us really know where in the Holy Spirit's time-line we fit in? It is good news to know that the Holy Spirit is at work in people's lives, and we are part of that work that will eventually lead to many of them coming to Christ.
The bad news?
The longer we are Christians, the less we tend to hang out with people who aren't. I got this from a great post by Dan Kimball. His graph says it all.
Instead of being "salt and light" in the world, we tend to spend all our time with other Christians who are just like us. Shouldn't the opposite be true? How is the world ever supposed to get a clear picture of who Christ really is if we are never around those who need Him most?
If we are honest the reason most of us don't hang out with non-believers is not so much that we don't have much in common with them, it is that we are just plain scared! Have you ever noticed that new believers don't seem to have near the problem with sharing their faith as much as the older ones of us?
I have learned much from my fellow Ecuadorian believers over the years. They are constantly thinking up new and creative ways to evangelize through small group events, large group events, and personal evangelism projects. But what impresses me the most is that they have so many non-Christian friends and family whom they relate to on a daily basis. They...
- visit their friends
- play soccer in the streets with them
- do things together
- go to each other's houses for parties and celebrations
- help one another in times of need--not as a means to "earn the right" to share the Gospel, but simply because it is the Christian thing to do.