Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Where Were You?

"Excuse me, Ma'am, are you saved? If you died tonight, would you go to heaven?"

"I don't know, and I don't care," she mumbles as she strides quickly past me, trying to escape, not only from the cold, but from the piercing question as well.

Street evangelism is not easy. In fact, it's a snapshot of what the entire Christian faith is like - frustrating, humiliating, dying to self, characterized by rejection, and filled with grief. It's easy to feel like giving up, but that is the only easy thing about it. I felt wholly inadequate while street witnessing with a group of students from my school tonight. It seemed we were even less successful than usual, but then, how can we even define "success" within the context of the Bible?

I came back to campus with a weight on my heart, for all the individuals who had politely refused our outstretched Gospel tracts - tickets to heaven; for all the individuals who sped by pretending they didn't hear our offer of hope; for all the individuals who flatly told us they didn't care where they would go when death found them. Anyone would feel a bit discouraged after such an "unsuccessful" night; usually we are at least successful in starting civil conversations!

I came back to campus wondering how on earth the Lord could be calling me to foreign missions thousands of miles away when so many people stumble in blindness right through my front yard. The spiritual state of mankind was suffocating me, and I felt as though the hour that a dozen college students had spent street witnessing on a Wednesday evening had done nothing to alleviate that deadness. "Lord, where were you tonight?" I asked. "I don't feel like I'm doing a very good job. My heart is breaking for these people, yet when I tried to talk to them they walked off into the cold night with their hurt and their pain when I have been blessed with Your words of life. Why? Lord, I need more practice at this; a lot more practice!"

Suddenly, through tears, I realized where He had been all night. Tonight was not a night ordained for me to see the power of the gospel to convict and save those who have not yet believed, but a night for the gospel to powerfully convict the person handing out the tracts. God had shown up where I least expected Him to: in my own heart. Silly me; why did I not see His sovereign hand and guiding Spirit, convicting me of selfishness, and grieving my heart for the spiritually dead within my reach? He had answered my prayer before it had been uttered. What a good God!

Lord, continue to increase my burden for the lost. Place a weight on my shoulders too great for me to bear, so that I might be forced to rely completely upon You to speak Your liberating truth through me into the lives of all with whom I come into contact. Thank you for working when we are not looking, and where we least expect it. Thank you for being at work even when we cannot see, and for sovereignly orchestrating all things together for Your glory. I love You. May I grow to love You more.


  1. I thought this was an interesting post, since I've been doing some evangelism of my own lately. However, just as one evangelist to another, I think some tactics work better than others when getting people to stop and listen.

    The immediate conviction of "Our you saved?" is a bit of a turn off to most non-Christians who have been berated in the past by street evangelism which is more hell bent than heavenly minded to save souls. I'm not saying you are that way, but there may be other ways to encourage non-Christians to stop for a moment rather than the sometimes disappointing and frustrating attempts at simply 'convicting' the person on the spot.

    Check out Way of the Master;s evangelism methods(, or CRU's (Campus Crusade for Christ) Soularium packets ( I've been trying out Soularium with some friends of mine and they are a GREAT way of sharing the Gospel in a non-offensive, friendly, effective manner. Instead of saying "Are you saved?" you ask the person if they would be willing to take a spiritual survey which includes pictures they choose and explain to you of what they believe in regarding God and Christ. This helps you figure out where they are coming from and share the Gospel with their background in mind.

    Keep being bold and living for Christ, my sister in Him!

  2. Thank you for sharing! I agree with you and do often use various survey methods in street evangelism. In this case, though, I needed to use a method that might work better at stopping people in their tracks, as it was a very cold and windy night on the streets and everyone was swiftly walking to their destination with no intention of halting. I do prefer survey/conversational approaches the majority of the time.

    It is good to know that others are also boldly proclaiming Jesus. Thank you; press on in His name!