Sharing the good news of the gospel is an essential expression of what it means to follow Jesus. He lived, died, and rose from the grave to make disciples of all nations and he bids us to follow him by doing the same (Matt 28:19). Evangelism, in that sense, is an act of worship. To talk to someone about Jesus is to say, “Lord, I delight in who you are. I commit my life to joining in the work you’re doing. I want to follow you!”
So if evangelism is an act of worship, why is it easier to sing songs on Sunday morning than talk to a co-worker about Jesus on Monday morning? One of the reasons (among others) is that we separate evangelism from friendship. We put the people we know into two categories. We have our friends who are Christians. And then we have all the “other” people we know out there who need evangelized.
That’s not how Jesus looked at the world. He seemed quite comfortable hanging out with non-Christians (Mark 2:16). Apparently they were no less reluctant to eat and drink with him (Matt 9:10). His example prompts me o ask, “Are there any non-Christians who consider me their friend?” Fruitful evangelism starts with faithful friendship.
Over the next few months, I’ll be highlighting testimonies from members of our church who are finding ways to love their neighbors simply be being a good friend. If you have a story to share or recommend please let me know. This week, we’ll hear from 21 year-old Quinton Cools. I asked Quin to tell us why he recently joined the local YMCA and how he think of his time at the Y as an opportunity to share the love of Jesus.
I joined the YMCA so that I could build a disciplined lifestyle, which I believe includes my physical body. Working for a Christian ministry, I have little-to-no outlet to interact with unbelievers. The gym gives me the opportunity to meet and compete with other guys through sports and build friendships with guys that I would not be able to interact with otherwise.”
Working out upstairs doesn’t produce many results when it comes to meeting guys and having an impact on their lives. Now I play basketball. I meet people. I remember names. I lead and facilitate picking teams and playing the games.”
I’ve only consistently gone to the YMCA for a couple months now. I have not, as-of-yet, had the opportunity to share the Gospel, but I do believe that I am reflecting Christ in my attitude and conduct. Pray for continued discipline. Pray for an eagerness to meet new people. Pray for boldness to speak about Jesus.
We’re grateful for your example, Quin!