News and Articles
24 March 2018
What does it take to speak about Jesus to a complete stranger?
It was late February. A team from Above Bar Church set out on a journey to the South-East corner of the country for “STORY Canterbury”.
Beth Devonish, Cameron Black, Tom James and I set out to team up with the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics (OCCA). We were working with the Christian Unions from universities in the city for their second annual events week.
I’ve asked Beth to share her story with us, and the rest of this post is her account of the week.
This was a hard-core week of standing out in the cold chatting with people, inviting them to talks – sharing the amazing grace on offer in Jesus.
It was also scary. I don’t think I am alone in saying that it can be intimidating and nerve-wracking to try and share your faith in Jesus with others. Whether it is at a university mission or in everyday life situations, sharing Jesus is vitally important but often feels difficult. (At least it does for me!)
I was praying for an opportunity to chat to whoever God pointed me to next. A little while later, I saw C, the girl that Tom and I had spoken to a few nights before. We were convinced that if she came back, she would become a Christian.
I saw her, and this was where faith came in to play: I was petrified.
Faith came into play
It took me a few seconds to work up the courage to approach her. She’s walking pretty quick and my legs are in a bad way, so I pray to God, “If you want me to talk to her, let her look at me.”
As I look to my left, I see another person, T, who I’d spoken to on the Monday. She was sitting on the floor, alone. I stopped. God said clearly to me, “Talk to her”. I said, “Hello”, sat down and we talked for over an hour about everything: my story, her story, suffering, God’s sovereignty.
Then, I suddenly remembered the agnostics' prayer and I think to myself, “Let’s give it a go”. It was the first time I’d ever invited anyone who wasn’t a Christian to pray with me personally.
I asked her if she’d like to pray this prayer: “God, if you’re real, would you show yourself to me?”
It turned out she prayed it six times already and every time God has showed up and showed her exactly how he’s working in her life and that he is real and good and faithful and trustworthy!
This took absolutely no prompting from me – she just poured forth story upon story of God at work in her life. So I asked her why she didn’t call herself a Christian.
She explained that she is afraid of making a commitment. And I told her the gospel – I told her how Jesus died on the cross for us in exchange for one initial moment of faith. How he does all of the work after that, with us obeying his will and prompting. As we parted, she said that she would think about it all, and I am still praying that she has!
As I stood up to walk away from T, I pretty much collided with C, the girl I had prayed earlier to speak to. She looked at me, we chatted and exchanged numbers. Thank you, God!
Reflections on the week
What I’ve learned above all else is that when you step out of your comfort zone in faith, and in obedience to God’s prompting through His Holy Spirit, you will see his faithfulness at work in so many ways. When I stepped out in little ways, God was faithful in big ways. He definitely has the eternal perspective way more than I do! And it was great to participate just a little bit in that!
Something else I’ve learned is that when we partner with God, we make a difference for eternity. He is in the business of changing lives and definitely has a plan for the rest of time. It was great to see his plan for our time in Canterbury, and to be used by God to make a difference for other people. A difference forever.
I learned that God equips us when we don’t feel equipped. Before last week I was freaking out: will I have the right answers? Am I good enough at evangelism?
But I experienced and encountered God’s Holy Spirit when I depended on Him. I was definitely more equipped by Him than I thought I was – and all God gave me made a difference for him. Join me in praying for T and C – and many others like them that God will change their lives forever.