I want to post a “guest-blog” from a friend (we’ll call him “G”) who wrote something about his efforts to share the good news of Christ with his brother (we’ll call him “B”). I thought is was an interesting metaphor. This is an ongoing effort so tune your instrument and pray!
I’d like to share with you some thoughts on what I’m calling “Orchestral Evangelism.” This is what I think I would call my experience with my brother, B, this past week.
In our youth, God mostly used the “Soloist” to communicate the Gospel. Some soloists had amazing talent; Billy Graham, Dick Halverson, Russ Cadle, Jack Miller, etc.. while others were part of a program or organization like Campus Crusade, the Navigators, 4th Presbyterian, Evangelism Explosion, etc.
Soloists use one-on-one Gospel interaction to carry the Gospel message with great results. But this way of communicating doesn’t work like it once did. Most people won’t pay much attention these days to a soloist who presents the Gospel to them.
Likewise, exhorting the congregation to “go out” and share the Gospel “as soloists” is met with … sporadic attempts, modest if any fruitfulness, confusion, guilt, and a sense that “I’m just not good at this.”
I know I’m not good at “this” either! But I was desperate to try and reach my brother. I knew the task was much bigger than my abilities. Where to start?
Well, I thought “I’m a pretty good encourager and a pretty good friend. I’ll start there.” I imagined myself as traveling to visit my brother inviting him to also experience the Gospel of grace as I once did. How so?
By inviting lots of Christian friends like you to do a little within their busy schedule. I took a page out of a friend’s playbook and recruited prayer, lots of prayer. Over 100 people praying. I think of these Christian friends as the “Wind section” of the Gospel Orchestra sending petitions heavenward.
Another 20 to 25 people sent cards and letters; so many letters that B had not been able to read them all by the time I got to Hawaii. I think of these Christian friends as the “String section” of the Gospel Orchestra sending love and concern to an unknown needy soul.
I see the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as the Conductor orchestrating B’s grave illness, with my ability to fly to Hawaii, and the body of Christ praying and caring, into a symphony of Gospel grace.
But the Gospel does have content. How to convey the content? Never in a 1,000 years would B listen to a sermon if I just handed it to him. Even if the preacher were Jesus himself. No way.
I see the Gospel content as the “Percussion section,” which, among other things, helps you understand and feel the music. Using messages from an online preacher I was familiar with I chose three Tim Keller’s sermons that spoke to where B was at spiritually. Because listening to this “guy” was just part of my week long visit it was not like going to church but more like just watching TV together.
The first sermon was “The Healing.” I said, “Hey, this guy really speaks to what you’ve been through with your sickness. I think you’ll find it helpful.” B nodded off through about half of it. But at the end he said, “Hey, that guy is really interesting, can you download it on my computer so I can listen to it again? I nodded off during some of it.”
A few days later he asked if we could listen to the second sermon. “Finding God” had him fully awake and on the edge of his seat. “Is this guy a preacher? He sounds more like a teacher. (I think what he was trying to say was “this guy is not preachy. What this guy is saying is interesting, and I’m surprised that I’m interested! I think I’m feeling the music).”
We didn’t get to the third sermon before I had to head home. But the Holy Spirit has begun a work. Thank you for being part of the orchestra and part of this story. And this story isn’t over!
Thank you for your prayers!