Sharing the Gospel When Not Expected

With the Super Bowl XLV bringing thousands of visitors to North Texas this weekend, a friend of mine (not a youthworker) realized she is facing an amazing ministry opportunity.  She will be passing out menus for a restaurant in the Fort Worth Stockyards, a popular tourist destination.  She asked me for advice on how to talk to people about the Lord in the midst of casual conversation.  What a great question – usually the youth I see are coming to church, so they are expecting to hear about Christianity.

But how do we share the Gospel with others when they are not expecting it?

My response:

And I’m not so sure that I’m an expert on this, but here’s the advice I’d give to a youth:

“Pray without ceasing.”  1 Thessalonians 5:17

As you pass out menus and interact, pray for each person you come in contact with.  Silently you can pray a sentence over and over like “I pray for all I see to see the light of Christ in me.”  Pray for their safety, that the Holy Spirit will fill their life, that God’s love will be present.

Along those same lines, be bold to ask others to pray for you during this ministry.

“You are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you.” Isaiah 43:4

Make eye contact.  You will never look into the eyes of someone who does not matter to Jesus Christ.  So often we go through day to day interactions (think grocery store checkout) and neglect to look people in the eyes.  We are all made in the image of God, so try to catch a glimpse of God in everyone you meet.  Just this simple act will speak volumes.

As far as what words to say, you are exactly right that the Holy Spirit will provide them.  Natural expressions might be “have a blessed day” “so glad God brought you here” “God bless you and keep you” “God bless Texas” “praying for your safety” “Be blessed today” “has anyone told you today that Jesus loves you.”  What matters more than the words is the spirit in which the words are said.

“I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

Your friends are right, you will probably face discouraging situations and people.  I haven’t done exactly what you are doing, but I do believe that when God’s people try to shine light into the world, Satan will try all he can to mess things up.  Scripture that will encourage you:

Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”

2 Chronicles 20:15 He said: “…This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged …. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

Psalm 27:1 ” The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?”

Psalm 56:3 ” When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

Ephesians 6:14-18 “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

Hope this helps.

Yours in Christ,
Erin Jackson

Erin Sloan Jackson lives in Arlington, Texas with her husband, Dennis, and three children, Trey, Nate and Kathryn.  She has served in youth ministry for over 14 years in both United Methodist and Presbyterian churches and is Certified in Youth Ministry in the United Methodist Church.  Currently, Erin is the Director of Student Ministries at Trinity UMC, Arlington.
(Note: She is not independently wealthy so will not be attending the Super Bowl this year.)


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