A lot of people, when speaking about this subject, like to use the metaphor of planting seeds. I do it too. It’s a great metaphor, founded in scripture (Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, Luke 8:1-15) But if we're honest, most of us are not content with merely planting seeds. When most of us think of evangelism, we often put so much pressure on ourselves to not only plant the seed, but also to water it, manufacture sunlight, and harvest it all in a five minute conversation, or a single sermon, or one small group meeting.
If you think of a spiritual journey like it’s on a timeline from 0-10. 0 being completely estranged from God, and 10 being a fully devoted follower of Christ. Many of us have this picture of evangelism as having to take someone from 0-10 all by ourselves. This is SO MUCH PRESSURE. No wonder the topic intimidates us.
If you think of your faith journey though, how many people played small roles in bringing you from 0-10, or from seed to harvest? I guarantee you it wasn't just one person. It was probably hundreds, maybe thousands. Discipling the lost is a team effort.
The truth is, you are not going to be the main character in someone else's testimony. I know that might sound harsh, but I believe that it’s actually a good thing. If you were the main character, if you were the hero in their story, then they may come to have faith in you rather than God. The truth is, many of us will at most make a cameo appearance.
You don't have to bring someone all the way from 0-10. Maybe your job in that conversation or in that relationship is to simply move them from 3-4, or 7-8, or even 0-0.5.
So if we return to our gardening metaphor, we do not have to feel this pressure to speed up the whole evangelistic agricultural process. In this moment, maybe God is simply calling you to plant a seed, or provide some water, or even just to prepare the soil so that it's good and ready for the seed that is coming weeks, months, or even years from now. Maybe God is setting you up the be the one to do the harvesting. Who knows? But we do know that you don't need to take someone through the whole process in order to witness to them.
Hopefully this takes some of the pressure off, and removes some of that fear in thinking that we need to do it all ourselves.
I also hope that it helps eliminate some of the excuses we make. When we believe we have to bring someone from 0-10, it’s very easy to step back, call it impossible, and resolve to not share our faith at all. I believe that all of us can bring someone one step closer to God by loving on someone and engaging in an open conversation.
So may you go out and play cameo roles in faith journey's all over your community. May you bring people from 2-3, or 5-6. And may you plant seeds.