I confess that what I call "Service Evangelism" is harder for me. It takes more time and sometimes years to see the fruit - if ever. However, sometimes our only job is to be the delivery person. Recently,God told me to take a meal and money to someone. It seemed random. I am not usually the person to cook or take food anywhere - that just isn't my calling. I love and support several ministries and my church and in order to be a good steward, I'm careful with what and who else I give money too. While I deeply love the woman God laid on my heart and have shared my faith with her, she wasn't someone I spend much time with. I knew money was probably tight for her and that she was having a medical issue but my responding to that wasn't something she would have expected. With regards to spiritual issues, I know she doesn't have the joy of being alive in Christ but also know to respect clear boundaries and not be pushy.
When God first put the idea into my head, I argued. I felt self-conscious about showing up with food and money – was it presumptuous? I had a busy schedule and a short window of time when it was even possible. Scheduling complications made it even more inconvenient. God’s leading was urgent – even forceful. I knew to listen.
I went shopping and began the 30 minute drive across town. When I was almost at her house, a friend called to say that the woman I headed towards was distraught over a sudden severe financial crisis and too upset to even answer the door. I finally understood why God was sending me to her and why the food and money were so urgent. I also understood not wanting to see someone while distraught so I worked it out that I would knock and leave the gifts on the porch. I confess that I hoped to have a larger role than just being the "delivery person." My fantasy was that she would open the door, I'd put my arms around her, she'd cry on my shoulder, and finally surrender to the sweet comforting love of Jesus. That didn't happen. As planned, I knocked, put the bags on the porch, and left.
A few minutes later I received a sweet text thanking me and insisting I didn’t “have to do it.” I texted back confessing that I didn’t get the credit and that God had urged me to do it days before I knew how urgent her situation was. It was all God’s idea and I did indeed “have to do it” because God insisted. She thanked me again via text. She also thanked me for my prayers.
I prefer using the cookbook formula for evangelism. It's quicker and I'm more comfortable with it.
1. Pray for and respond the the assignments God sends.
2. Ask questions about where people will spend eternity.
4. Give good news Gospel scriptures.
5. Invite people to meet Jesus.
6. Pray with them if they wish but don't push.
With many and possibly most people, cookbook evangelism is the best approach but not with everyone. Service evangelism requires us to hear the creative voice of the Holy Spirit, trust that we've heard it, and do the required work without have the reassurance of ever seeing the results.
Service Evangelism Is Only Evangelism If:
1. God sends the assignment.
2. The people know the Gospel (if they don't, we have to make sure they hear it.)
3. We make it clear that we are doing it in the name of Jesus and not because we are "good people."
4. We follow up with prayer.
As with all evangelism, it must be driven by love and a pure desire to share the Good News of Jesus. This week, my job was to deliver food and money in the name of Jesus. I didn’t give the Gospel – she already knew it. I didn't even see her. I heard God, acted, and made sure she knew it was God's idea. As always, I continue to pray for her.