I have a really good friend who is incredibly outgoing. She can be walking the dog in the park, and she can have conversations with 10 different people in 30 minutes. And in those conversations, she can get to the deepest longings of the person's heart. For example, just today she got a guy talking about his recent divorce, how much he is hurting, and how much her dog reminds him of his dogs who now live with the ex-wife. She consistently is able to bring conversations like that to a spiritual level where she's able to share a little bit about who God is and the kind of abundant life he offers to all who follow him. In 30 seconds she gets people talking and within 10, she's sharing deeply. She's like a microwave oven--just pop it in and 30 seconds later it's all done.
I'm not that girl. I hate talking to strangers, except in the very rare situation where they're coming onto my turf and I see myself in the role of hostess, and then it's ok. Then I can make them feel welcome and comfortable. Other than that, I really don't like to talk to people I don't know.
I used to wish that I could be her. I used to wish that I could turn into someone who could just walk up to someone and get them talking about deep things until I had the opportunity to share about Jesus. But I'm not that girl, and I'm never going to be.
One of the most freeing and amazing things has been for me to realize over the past few years that God made me who I am on purpose. I have particular inclinations and gifts and abilities that he's given me. When I walk in those things prayerfully and am sensitive to those who are in my world around me, I have found that I have all kinds of opportunities to build relationships. And these relationships are deeper and wider than just conversations about faith. These are real people who've become my real friends and with whom I am able to share in tiny pieces over a long period of time. These are people who invite me over for Thanksgiving dinner and hang out with me on weekends and who come to my dad's funeral. These are people who are getting to know the real me--all the different quirks and passions and interests that I have. These people are my friends.
I consider it an incredible privilege to share about my experiences with God with them. But I also consider it an incredible privilege to share life with them. The heart-to-heart conversation my friend has in 5 minutes takes me 3 years and 500 conversations to get to. This is the kind of girl that I am. And that is my style of evangelism. I'm a crock-pot evangelist.
So... what about you? Are you a microwave or a crock-pot evangelist?
I'm not sure that it really matters, except maybe it matters that you know that it's ok to be either. God can use both because he created both, and different people need different types of conversations at different times in their lives. What does matter is being open and available and prayerful about the people in our lives, so that we can always be ready to answer for the hope that we have inside.