Let’s talk about Evangelism and the city of Chicago. When I say “Chicago”, what do you think about? Michael Jordan and the Bulls, the musical named after the city, or perhaps the terrible rate of violent crime in the city? Well, here’s a new thing that you should know about Chicago: I am going to the inner city of Chicago this summer with Cru as a missionary and that the process of deciding to go there has been a long one. The truth is that I am a grown man of God, and when I was asked to potentially go on a mission trip this summer, I threw a massive hissy-fit. Why did I do this? Because I failed to realize just how important Evangelism is.
As a man of God, I try to go wherever God tells me to, but I also am a sinner who often tries to give God terms and conditions.when I pray. Of course, I want to leverage all of my life to God’s Glory, but I often do it inside my own worldly mindset. When I was first asked about potentially going on a mission trip I said to myself, “Mission Trips are great and Godly, but they do not work with my timetable, so the lord can use me another way!” I thought to myself, “Surely the Lord needs me to stay close to home this summer! Perhaps typing this blog in coffee shops as I apply for an adult job. Can he not work all things according to my will into his will?.” Because if he could have, that would be great for me. These aren’t necessarily things I have said to God, but these are feelings that had been hidden in the foundation of my faith. I had to (and still must) learn that obedience to God is on His terms, and not my own. Choosing to go on this mission trip has started to really open my eyes to this blind spot in my faith.
Despite the nice things I have said about mission trips to others in the past and what I stated earlier, I always have had secret feelings about them. In my eyes: Mission trips have usually been an expensive and time consuming, waste of time. I always felt like churches would spend insane amounts of money to go to a foreign country for a week to share the Gospel with people they would never see again. I have also felt as if many churches force their congregants (especially those under 18) to participate in their mission trips in order to validate their faith. This usually results in luke-warm believers sharing a gospel they know very little about in a place they know even less about. There are strong elements of truth in these views, but the strongest truth is that despite all of that, I nonetheless have still had the wrong perspective on mission trips. I have wrestled with these feelingat times and suppressed it at times for years as well. Now it is time to clear the air.
The truth is, God uses the broken, and He qualifies those He calls instead of just using the qualified. Because the truth is, none of us are qualified to preach the Gospel without Jesus anyways. As Christians, we come to faith, and then have the mission of growing in our faith which enables us and commands us to share our faith with others. All of this being done by the Holy Spirit. The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 is an extension of God’s command to love Him first and then our neighbors as ourselves. We should start with loving God and growing in our understanding of Him, then love ourselves as God’s creation that Christ died to redeem, and lastly love our neighbors with that same sacrificial love. This is something we are ALL called to do.
If the Gospel is true, then we are required to share it with people if we want to love them. It is often said that the Gospel is offense, but the truth is that we do not have to be as well. A scalpel can be used to kill someone and can be seen therefore as an offensive weapon in that context. However, we all know that a scalpel is used for making direct and intentional cuts that in the long run are intended to help someone heal. We need to learn to preach the gospel in a way that cuts people with the intention to heal them. We also need to realize that non-believers will also naturally reject the Gospel, and that it is usually to be expected.
Read these verses 2 Corinthians 3:14 and Romans 1:18. The enemy, Satan, puts a veil over the eyes of people, specifically the Jews in Pauls day, so that they can not understand what we tell them about God. The enemy also has reign and rule in the hearts of many non-beleivers today so they can not see the evident Truth of God that is in Creation (Romans 1:18-23). Even if we give them rational, logical, intelligent arguments ( as called for in 1 Peter 3:15) they will reject it because they are blinded. So, we need to pray that the Lord reveals the truth to them through God’s Holy Spirit as we evangelize to them. We also need to realize that people suppress the Truth in their unrighteousness.
Ask anyone who struggles with porn how much truth they suppress when they watch it. They know their sexual fulfillment it is not real, they know it isn’t genuine, and they know it will not satisfy them, but still, they watch it. Many of us know the damage of porn, but we ignore that truth when we watch it. I’m not just talking about the traditional meaning of pornography: where we go where we shouldn’t online to watch what we shouldn’t. This can include the times where we are sizing up someone sexually as they walk by. Or when we keep watching a TV show that we know is loaded with content that is enslaving us to our sexual desires. An example? Dare I ask whether Christian women have ANY business watching the Bachelor? A show where women throw themselves at the feet of a man and tear down one another to get his approval. I do not want to ruin my shot with every girl by calling them out on this idol, so I will leave that be and return to my main point. Braille of Beautiful Eulogy puts it very well in Jackie Hill Perry’ s song Hymn, “The Gospel is Offensive because it deals with our offenses”.
I love the Good News that Jesus came to die for my sins, I recognize that it matters, and I realize now after really coming to terms with all this I need to give every fiber of my life to God’s mission without putting any terms and conditions in my prayers nor actions. I was challenged to rethink my earlier stated view on mission trips by my discipler Julian Carter and together we decided I should go on a mission trip this summer. He did not twist my arm nor judge me into going. He presented the truth of the importance of the Gospel to me and He asked if that was worth sharing so now I am thrilled to say that I am going to Chicago.
Going to Chicago will not be easy, I am attempting to fundraise $3000 by mid-May. I am also trying to get a job after college, so the timing of this trip is not perfect. I will be in Chicago for about a month doing evangelism serving underprivileged communities. It was not an easy decision and it has been brutal for my parents who worry about my safety always. So, pray for them that they are secure in knowing the Lord will go before me and protect me according to His will. Pray for me as I take this big step and if you can please donate to my mission trip! I hope this article has convicted and challenged you! If you can not go right now on a mission trip, you most likely can afford to send someone who can like me. Nonetheless, I hope this article blesses you!
Here is a link to support me if you would like to (PLEASE): give.cru.org/1034201
Appendix: If you are not a Chrsitian and you are reading this
First of all, thank you for your time and consdieration, I am honored that you have read my blog. My hope for you is that you realize that what we are doing as Christians when we tell you that you are a sinner who needs God. It is not a judgement that is intended to make you feel inferior. Every Christian is a failure who knows that they are a failure and therfore needs God. So, when a Christian says you need God, so do they. They often fail to convey that in a loving way because they themselves need God. I would ask you, do you think then what we are doing is wrong? If there is evil in the world trying to control you and prevent you from knowing you were created with a purpose would you be thankful someone tried to warn you? There is a plethora of evidence for God that I will write about in the future. If you want to potentially follow the Lord please reach out to me, and if you have questions I am here!