Why the Church Isn’t the Only Place for Preaching the Gospel
Why the Church Isn't the Only Place for Preaching the Gospel
Most people would never guess I used to be an introvert. Karen, who's never known a stranger, was my gift from God. Whenever we were in large crowds, I literally hid behind her until she broke the ice and I felt comfortable to join the conversation.
I get a kick out of people who say, "Well if I had your personality, I'd be sharing my faith." Somehow, I missed the "go ye into the world if you have the right personality" part. I learned to share my faith in spite being an introvert. Sharing my faith led me out of being an introvert.
By 1973 I had transitioned from agonizingly sharing my faith on rare occasions to always being ready and excited for the next opportunity. It was as if God was sending more people to me now that He knew He could count on me. Every encounter was bringing me more joy and more confidence -exactly as the Scriptures promise -to the point I felt God was leading me into full-time ministry.
How to Share Your Faith
Here's how you do it. Always, always watch for where you can insert God into a conversation without raising eyebrows. It's like sport, and it keeps you on your toes spiritually. You can spontaneously thank God for the beautiful day or repeat a joke that your pastor said on Sunday or talk about one of your friends from church. It's not about a spiritual message. It's about letting everyone know, without making it an issue, that you're a Christian.
Here's the great added benefit: all of us need extra incentive to live our lives for Christ out loud. It can be tiring being good for the sake of being good and reading our Bibles and praying out of obligation, without purpose. Doing it simply for the sake of doing it is religious and deadly. Ah, but doing it knowing you're in the game, God is using you and people are being drawn to God because of you, brings purpose to everything you do. This is why loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself completes the entire law: doing all the right things for the right reasons! It's fun!
You Don't Have to be a Pastor to Lead Someone to Christ. Your life is Your Pulpit!
I told God that I felt He was leading me into full-time ministry, and I was all-in if that's what He wanted me to do. I loved my business, and it was on the move, so I had to know for sure God wanted me to leave it. It was a huge decision for me. I told Him what He already knew: I had two little girls to feed, and our family business would probably fail without me as the third-generation leader. We were doing about a million in gross sales at the time.
To cap it off, I said these exact words: "You're almost going to have to speak to me in an audible voice for me to make this radical change in my life. But once I know, I'll never look back." I was ready to give up my passion and dreams for my business to go to wherever God wanted me to go. Most importantly, He knew that!
Twenty minutes later Dave McNutt walked into my office. Even though Dave went to my church, we had never talked or even exchanged a glance and he was in my office. He explained that he was in the area and thought he should stop in and ask, "How's it going?"
Knowing that he's grown up as a MK (missionary kid) in Africa, I made a snap decision that he wasn't interested in cool cars and shiny paint finishes. So, I began telling Dave some of my faith-sharing adventures. That's when he leaned forward in excitement and said, "God's given you a wonderful ministry here, hasn't He?" I couldn't believe what he just said, and I asked him why he said it. He replied that pastors can't reach the people I was reaching as a businessman. Then he concluded with this amazing statement: "It's obvious that your business is your pulpit." Now I knew my business and ministry overlapped, but it was an entirely new thought that they were one in the same.
I was in shock at that point. I quickly explained what I had just prayed to God about, and he said, "That explains it!" When I asked what he meant by that, he explained that he had just dropped missionaries off at the Orange County airport and was driving up Red Hill, the closet Main Street to my office, when God told him to go see Barry Meguiar. He immediately told God, "I don't know anything about Barry Meguiar, I have no idea what kind of business he's in, and I'll make a fool of myself." But God didn't stop until he entered my office.
It's so easy to pray and ask God about what He wants you to do in the future. But wherever you are right now, that's your pulpit. And it's your responsibility to use it, in every way possible, to move everyone you influence close to Jesus. "As each one has received a gift," wrote the apostle Peter, "Minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold Grace of God" (1Pet. 4:10, NKJV).
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