“When we’re rubbing elbows with the masses, we’re on mission. When we accept others where they are and show them the love of Jesus, we are revolutionary. When we invite people to hang out with us, we get to see the metamorphosis of those who belong to turn into a legacy of those who believe. It just doesn’t get any better than that.” – An excerpt from A Trip around the Sun
Dr. Dick Foth says the gospel is meant to be incarnational rather than merely informational. We can’t share a Bible verse with someone and not have the heart and presence behind it. Jesus came to reach sinners – so should we. It’s called a “proclamation by presence.”
“We’ve sort of have bought into the idea that the good news is informational.
If it had been informational, Jesus could have written ‘Jesus loves you’ in the northern lights and let it flash for two thousand years. Those in the northern hemisphere would pick it up and take it to those in the southern hemisphere. But He didn’t do that. Scripture says “He came to be with us and walk among us.” Now that He’s done that for us, He calls us to do it with others.
How do we practice the proclamation of presence?
Dick credits Richard Howardson, former chaplain of the Senate, with this good word. If one person is following Jesus, and they make a friend, that friend starts following Jesus, in one sense.
“I don’t know I’m following Him; I think I’m just hanging out with you.
But over time, I watch you and I start asking questions. ‘Why do you think like that? How come you treated that people that way?’ And that kind of engagement changes how we do life.”
The proclamation of presence is something every believer can practice; it’s not dependent on how many verses you know or how many committees at church you’re involved in.
This type of evangelism is powerful. Dick suggests that most people who walk forward to accept Christ at a crusade were primed for it early on by the proclamation of presence.
“They had an aunt or grandma back somewhere where they went on a summer afternoon. And she’d fix cold milk and hot cookies for him. And she looked a lot like Jesus… and she may not have said the words exactly.
But that was setting Johnny up for when he walked into a meeting where the words were said [Come to me, and I will give you rest]. And he responded – because he’d seen that before.”
Key Scriptures: Hebrews 11:6
Featured Songs: Your Grace Finds Me by Matt Redman; Something Beautiful by Steven Curtis Chapman; Victors Crown by Darlene Zschech