We all know how easy it is as Christians to unintentionally cocoon ourselves inside the safe and familiar confines of the church and Christian relationships. These are, or at least should be, our most important relationships. But as Christ's ambassadors we are called to represent our King and his Kingdom to those among whom we sojourn. As the witnesses of Jesus we are called to testify of him through word and deed to the people he has sent us to. And yet, for many Christians witness-bearing is removed from the everyday life of faith and the normal relationships we have, and is relegated to the occasional evangelistic presentation offered to strangers. If we even do that.
For most Christians it will take more than desire to connect with the lost around them in meaningful ways. For many it helps to have a common ground. This can be a place or a recurring event that allows you to connect to others relationally. Merely being present isn't enough, here we have to engage.
The local coffee house can be such a place, but only if that becomes a place where you can cultivate new and ongoing relationships. For others the gym is a great common ground. Others like a running club that meets outdoors. It can be a book club, a sewing group, the barber shop, the shooting range, or the office. It can even be your neighborhood! Imagine your actual neighborhood being the context in which everyone knows your name and the name of your God; where they receive you as a friend.
For me, it's our local tobacconist (think, very nice cigar shop). I've been a regular there for 13 years, and count the owners and the regulars as my friends. And we talk, openly, about everything--including church, God and the gospel. Everyone knows who I am, what I am about, and that I'm there most Thursdays at 2pm (and if God allows I'm there a couple other times during the week).
The Work of Evangelism
If someone were to ask me how I "do the work of an evangelist," I would say by God's grace I am afforded many spontaneous and surprising opportunities to share the gospel. But I do this most strategically in the pulpit, in counsel, in the home, and in the cigar shop. I know men who are everywhere-evangelists, and easily preach Christ crucified to anything that moves. I praise God for them. But there is an advantage to having a context, a common ground with others in the community, that affords long term relationships and opportunities to not only share the gospel with others, but follow up with them as well.
Where in the world does everyone know your name? What is your favored common ground for developing relationship outside of the church and bearing witness to our risen Lord? I'd love to hear! Please share in the comments.