I wanted to take this Saturday in the series to talk about training. Many of you who know me understand how I had to make some adjustments to my workaholic life flowing out of my Type-A personality (among other issues). After a season of learning, evaluation, and developing the habit of regular sabbath days, I’ve gotten back in the saddle to doing more travel. It’s actually a very real calling, and one I enjoy. Ephesians 4 tells us God gave the church evangelists (and pastors, etc) to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry. I love equip the saints in sharing Jesus.
Nowadays I’m very focused on helping believers and church leaders become more effective in evangelism in general and personal evangelism in particular. That’s why virtually all the speaking I do currently revolves around my newest book, Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out.
This week I flew to Atlanta to speak to the Georgia Baptist Association of Religious Educators. Apparently the weather in Georgia didn’t like the fact that I’m an Alabama fan, so it got snowed out. Next week I’m on the road –– or in the air, as it will be –– to Arkansas and then to Florida. I’ll be teaching my book to a lay institute in two Arkansas cities Monday and Tuesday, flying home in time for my first class of the spring that night. Next weekend I will be in two churches, First Baptist Naples and South Tampa Fellowship. Oh, and enjoying some warmer temps I hope. Following that I will be doing a makeup at a church in Virginia because of yet another snow event at the start of the year. Later in the month, and the months to come, I will be with several state Baptist convention evangelism conferences teaching, you got it, my book some more. In the middle of that I will fly to Lviv, Ukraine, to teach for a week at the Ukrainian Baptist Theological Seminary. I will also be teaching this same book as a part of my classes this spring.
You may think I would get bored or tired of talking about the same thing over and over. Talking about sharing Jesus without freaking out, about how anyone can have evangelistic conversations, and about the importance of grasping the wonder of the gospel might get old., when I do it again and again, right? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I can never get tired of this.
Paul was a one-trick pony. He preached Christ and him crucified. Again, and again, and again. I want to be like Paul. I want to give my life to helping believers, whether a new believer or a veteran pastor, young or old, introvert or extrovert, to share Jesus. I’m convinced the church has unnecessarily muddled the urgent gospel message in our pursuit of so many important things.
Here’s the good news: there are many, many pastors and leaders who want this. It’s almost like we went through a bit of a void for a season. Evangelism got pushed to the curb. Other important things were emphasized, from church planting to global missions to social justice. All these matter of course. We should give them attention, but not at the same of the Great Commission. It’s time to remind people of the obvious, because sometimes the most obvious things are the most easily neglected. You can’t really plant churches well if you aren’t evangelizing the lost in your area. You can’t do global missions if you aren’t sharing Christ and seeing people saved in the 10/40 window and beyond. And you can’t do social justice from a biblical standpoint without beginning with understanding the greatest injustice in humanity is our rebellion toward God, and sharing the gospel is our way of confronting this.
So, I’m traveling more. I’m still trying to be careful and not overdo it. I’m going to stay focused on the main thing God has called me to. I’m grateful God allows me to encourage others to share Jesus. God may call you to focus on other things, but you don’t have to do so to the neglect of this.