Duane and Janice Shelton of the Anaheim church have begun meeting at McDonalds every week for what I call a Community Outreach Study – studying the Bible in public with a sign inviting people to join. They meet in a McDonalds in their neighborhood.
Every week they grow stronger as a couple in their witness to their community, as they reinforce the first two phases of evangelism in their walk with the Lord – Awareness of opportunity and Confession of Christ. Their persistence has led to a few brief conversations with people about Bible study as well as one conversation lasting over an hour.
Janice writes, “The man we were speaking with, Jay, said initially that he did not believe in hell, though he believed in angels. He said that going to church made him feel good afterwards, but he didn’t really believe in God. He said he wanted to live his life his way and that he would think more seriously about God when he was older. We then spoke to him about Solomon, who he was, his wisdom, his many wives, his accomplishments, fame, and wealth, and finally what he concluded about it all being in vain: All that counted was fearing God and keeping his commandments. We also spoke, among other things, of reasons to believe that Christ had risen from the dead, and was Jesus Lord, liar, or lunatic. And before we left, Jay told us we had changed his way of thinking and seemed eager to meet with us again. On the same occasion we were able to give good answers to a skeptic who was present and trying to take the conversation in another direction by asking questions like, “Can’t God, after all, do anything he (or SHE) wants to?” (a trick question if I ever heard one). I responded in a way he didn’t expect – an answer I remember hearing from Rick Sparks long ago: “No, God can’t do anything that is against his nature. For example God cannot lie.” The man, who had plainly been expecting a “yes” so he could stump me with a brilliant response (like “Then why is there sin and disease in the world?), seemed taken aback and had no ready response for that and ended up giving up and leaving after a bit. We hope we gave him something to think about.”
No personal Bible study was initiated on the occasion mentioned above, but Jay’s comment about the Shelton’s helping him change his thinking is encouraging! I got the impression from the Shelton’s that Jay may be a frequent visitor to that McDonalds. This may allow a friendship to be cultivated with him over time. A great spiritual foundation that has been laid for such a relationship!
How about you? How could you offer a regular witness in your neighborhood or community that might lead to spiritual conversations with others? How might you improve the witness you already have to make an even stronger impact on those who experience it?
“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (emphasis added)
God speed my brethren!