I just have to Priase the Lord for His miraculous works! I feel like I should go into a lot of detail but I just want to shout out the news! My dear friend Adelina and her mother both accepted Christ into their lives this past Sunday! I can't even begin to express my joy because I know how much joy, peace, purpose this decision brings to a person's life and I'm thrilled to be able to share in this with them. They were not the only ones to receive Christ that night so can you imagine the party that went on in Heaven!!!!
Now that I've got that off my chest I want to share something else that was on my heart on Monday morning. You see, I didn't know they accepted Christ until Tuesday afternoon. We had our Christmas Banquet on Sunday night and Pastor Ed shared a little about becoming a part of the family of God and asked for people to fill out a little card if they had asked Jesus to enter their lives. Adelina and her mom replied yes and Mike called from the office with such joy in his voice to let me know. But until that moment, I was questioning something.
I've always been a big believer of relationship evangelism. This meaning that I develop relationships with people because I love them and want to get to know them better and through our relationship, I share about my faith. For me, it's never a one time deal and I don't walk away from them if they're not interested. This is what caused me to become a Christ-follower and I believe that this is how God's gifted me. I've also realized how sensitive I become to non-Christians and pushing my faith on them. I can remember people pushing not so much the relationship with Christ but rather attending church, etc... and it pushed me away from God rather than drawing me closer so I'm always a bit nervous about what I say and how I say it so that I'm not turning anyone away from God.
So anyway... Pastor Ed shared his message and in it he stated something like, 'God is drawing you to Himself. Whether it's by the friends who invited you here, or etc....' and I panicked. Not because I don't believe in what he said but because I didn't want my friends to think the only reason I brought them to this dinner was to get them to accept Christ or attend church. I love them, no matter what religion, and although I would love for them to experience a life with Christ, that's not the only reason I spend time with them. And I really wanted them to know that and I wanted them to see that church isn't a bad, unenjoyable thing. Sometimes 'church' gets such a bad rap and it's important to me that people understand church is not what it's often made out to be.
And I digress....
So Monday morning came and Hannah and I took Isabella to Victoria Park and I decided to pick her brain. I started questioning whether or not it's necessary (not sure if that's the appropriate word... I can't seem to think of a better one) to present the gospel at all church functions. Do we feel that as Christians or even Staff at a church that we need to present the gospel because we have a captive audience and if so is that right? Do Pastor's ever feel pressured into sharing the gospel in situations like this and it become an unnatural thing?
I'm still dwelling over this. I started thinking about this because Mousumi and Pardo came to mind. They are not believers, don't really attend church anywhere, and will tell you they are not religious. I didn't want them to feel pushed into church or christianity and as I said before, I didn't want them to feel that was the only reason I invited them. I wanted them to see that church can be fun, that there are some great people within our church, etc... I started thinking, 'Is there ever a time where we should allow people to see church as fun, relaxed, and godly without presenting the gospel?"
Like I said, I'm still dwelling over this because I don't know how I feel. My first response on Monday was... yes. People need to see that we are not pushing people into Christianity. Most expect churches to do that so why not show them we can love them and have an enjoyable time without pushing God on them. But then Tuesday came and Mike shared this amazing news of Adelina and Wanda (and several others) and I second guessed myself. Why would it be a bad thing if people are coming to Christ? And if non-Christians came they would probably expect a gospel presentation so if they were totally against hearing one... they don't have to accept the invite.
So my conclusion is this..... ??? I'm still thinking. I guess my biggest fear is that it's not a God thing. I would hate to see someone feel pressured into sharing the gospel because they have a captive audience and turn people away because it wasn't God's timing. But is there really ever a 'wrong time' for sharing the gospel? Ai yi yi
Anyone have thoughts?