Usually once a week I lead or participate in doing some street evangelism with various people from my faith family on one of the most shamed and avoided streets in all of Salt Lake City: the west side of North Temple.
This is the west part of SLC where people make no apologies for what they think about it and the people on the streets make no apologies for who they are and what they're doing out there. Prostitution, running drugs, homelessness, and other such activities are not only the norm, but it's literally become the "Samaria" of SLC. It's the one part of town no one wants to pass through, let alone stop, get out of the car, and walk among "those people".
For us, it's an exercise in faithfulness. It's an opportunity to bless people that don't get blessed often. It's an opportunity to grow in the area of practicing personal evangelism and sharing our own faith and belief in Jesus. It's an opportunity to sow the seeds of the gospel as broadly as we can, believing that we're commanded to "go into all the world and proclaim the gospel" (Mark 16:15) regardless of what zip code it is.
As I have been reflecting on the many nights of seeing crazy things like drug running, men picking up prostitutes, women fighting in the streets, gang members intimidating us as we prayer walk "their turf", and a host of other things - I've been struck by this reality: one conversation could literally change someone's life forever.
We believe Romans 1:16 - "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
We believe that by sharing the gospel, we're sharing something that isn't just words - it's literally the power of God for salvation for anyone who believes!
We believe that giving as many people as possible the chance to accept or reject the gospel is a task we are commanded to be doing everyday, regardless of where we work, go to school, or live in the community.
Every zip code is equally in need of the gospel.
Our feeble efforts to share the gospel with someone may quite literally and possibly by the very moment God has ordained to change a person's eternal destiny forever. We won't know this, nor do we worry about figuring this out, but this is a potential reality.
Have you ever though about that? Do you believe that could happen?
If you're a Christian, you've been commanded to go, make disciples, proclaim the gospel, be witnesses of what Jesus has done in your life, and to "live sent" lives everyday. (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, Luke 22:44-49, John 20:21, Acts 1:8)
How are you doing with that?
What if you purposed to have one gospel-centered conversation everyday?
What do you think God could do in those scenarios? What do you think God wants to do in those scenarios?
To be honest, I lived the vast majority of my life very ashamed of the gospel because it offended people (because it's very nature is offensive to our sinful nature) and because I don't like drama or conflict - and I like to be liked - I almost went out of my way to NOT share the gospel. I'm ashamed of that reality. I regret that I lived in so much disobedience with a cold and harden heart towards the millions of people who die every day and spend eternity in hell.
Romans 10:14-15 - "How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[c] And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
Over the last year, God has softened my heart for lost people. Ironically, I was even convicted about this topic by a sound logical observation from an atheist in this video.
Today, I'm honestly ashamed when I don't take advantage of every possible opportunity I have to pray for someone, share the gospel, leave a gospel tract, or give someone a Bible. This has been a growing process but I'm convinced now, more than ever, that if we truly want to see revival and awakening in our city and our nation and our world we, as ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, must be relentlessly practicing any and every form of evangelism there is, trusting God with any and all results.
Because eternity is at stake. Let's live like it, Church.
- Who do you need to share the gospel with this week?
- Are you prepared to give someone an answer for the hope you have? (1 Peter 3:15)
- Are you prepared to present the gospel if someone asked you about it right now?
*Find more biblical references, resources, methods, and videos on the topic of Evangelism here