January 29th, 2009 at 11:20 am
GRAPEVINE – When the things of the world crumble, people search for answers from beyond, creating an opportunity for Christians to share the hope of Christ with them, said presenters during Engage, a Baptist General Convention of Texas-sponsored evangelism conference.
People look for answers for why things happen when they lose their job, watch their retirement shrink or disappear, can’t find their next meal or are searching for meaning to their lives, said Jon Randles, director of the BGCT Evangelism Team.
They’re looking for moral absolutes and hope their lives will get better, Randles said. That environment creates chances for believers to share their faith.
“These are the moments when the Church does its best work, because where people know there is a problem, all you have to do is convince them Jesus is the answer,” Randles said.
In times like these, Christians can step up to meet physical and emotional needs, which opens avenues to discuss broader spiritual matters, said BGCT Executive Director Randel Everett. Christians are called to share a word of hope with the poor and the marginalized as Christ did.
“While we’re giving them food to eat, let’s tell them Jesus is the bread of life,” Everett said. “While we give them clean drinking water, let’s tell them Jesus is the living water.”
Roy Fish, distinguished professor of evangelism emeritus at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said the Holy Spirit illuminates Christians’ minds and Christ transforms their lives and helps them recognize opportunities to expand God’s kingdom.
“I think [Jesus] wants to transform churches where churches become magnetic, drawing people like a magnet draws steel,” he said.
Victor Rodriguez, pastor of South San Filadefia Baptist Church in San Antonio, preferred another metaphor to describe a church’s outreach efforts. Noting that Christians are simply people who “have already eaten from the bread of life,” Rodriguez said believers are to serve others, continuously pointing others to where spiritual nourishment can be found.
To do that, a church “must get its hands dirty,” Rodriguez said. His church gets involved in people’s lives, providing practical help for them where and when they most need it. Church members care for people in the community and shared their faith. As a result, the congregation has baptized nearly 400 people in the past four years.
“We are one beggar telling another beggar where to find food.”