Monday, August 13, 2012

Proclaim the Gospel

There are groups of Christians who send teams out into society to pray for people. The pray for: God’s blessing on the individual, physical healing and relationships. From reports I have heard, most people who receive this prayer are blessed encouraged and grateful. Sometimes, a conversation ensues. Those praying can talk about why they are doing this, what God has done in their lives, and how God views those receiving prayer. But often there is no conversation.

When I first heard about these prayer teams, I thought this was an interesting segue into evangelism. I was familiar with evangelism teams. The purpose of these teams was to engage people in a conversation about Jesus. The intention was often to make a complete, clear presentation of the gospel, coupled with a challenge to receive the gospel.

The main challenge to these conversations was getting one started. People have taken surveys. (Which always seemed a bit deceptive to me, because the results were never used.) People have given a cold, straight-forward invitation to a conversation.

The prayer teams had a more open-ended purpose. The team wanted to demonstrate the love of Jesus for people. Showing Jesus’ love was the intended purpose for the evangelism team also. The Bible says people have a problem, and the problem makes them God’s enemy. Jesus provides the solution to that problem. Knowing this – the problem, the results of the problem and the solution – Jesus’ followers should be motivated by love and compassion when they shared Jesus’ message. Unfortunately, these conversations frequently end up in a debate about who is right and who is wrong. With lots of finger pointing about wrong things Christians do and have done.

I have found a place in Scripture where Jesus sends his disciple out to “proclaim the Kingdom” and “heal the sick.” It seems that Jesus encouraged his disciples to do the best of both.

A man I know defines “grace” as “God supplying whatever it is a person lacks to meet whatever need or situation he is facing.” Maybe what we need to form is “grace teams,” go and encounter people, listen to God and give what is needed. If they need to hear truth, then speak truth. If they are sick, then pray for healing. If they need to talk, then listen. If they are hungry, then feed them … both their stomachs and their souls. If they are lonely, the a community to belong to.

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