Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Evan-JOY-lism - Finding Joy in Evangelism from a Woman’s Perspective

As I travel with the Living Waters team and other ambassadors in the ministry of the gospel, I have seen an encouraging increase in the number of women engaged in evangelism. I have met many dear women who passionately glorify God in their evangelistic efforts—whose faces and voices, whose stories and testimonies, fuel a desire in me to not only join them in the effort, but to also encourage other women to serve Christ through evangelism.

How It All Started for Me

God reached me at a very young age (around age 6) as my dad read the bible to me at night. Though I am not convinced that I was saved at this age, I do know that from that point forward I had a fear of God and an understanding that one day the World as we know it would end. However it wasn’t until my early teenage years that God really convicted me of my sins against Him, and brought me to an understanding of His righteousness and judgment (through the reading of His Word - Eph 5). It was during those extremely crucial years that my relationship with God began to deepen as I made huge breaks with sin and trusted in Christ as my only hope for forgiveness.

When the Lord saved me, He immediately gave me a zeal for following Him and a passion to glorify Him in my life. Knowing that many of my friends and family members did not know Jesus as Lord and Savior, I became burdened with the need for and developed a passion to be engaged in evangelism. The inevitability of God’s judgment of the lost, and the reality of Hell for the same, broke my heart! I got involved in evangelism with my church. Doing outreaches, door-to-door evangelism, and other forms of reaching the lost, was all part of my walk with God early in my Christian walk.

Unfortunately, I was proclaiming a false gospel that said a person should come to Christ “because something is missing in your life.” I believed what I had heard—things like: “You have a God-shaped hole in your heart that only God can fill. And God has a wonderful plan for your life.” Of course, there is no biblical precedent for a message of life improvement upon conversion. In fact, the Bible says that you will have trials, tribulations, temptations and persecution. But it wasn’t until I was introduced to a street preacher at the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California, that my views on evangelism would be radically altered. Initially I was skeptical and pretty angry at this little man with the funny mustache and catchy accent. I thought he was being mean. “How could he tell people they are going to Hell?” I thought. The way that Ray Comfort spoke the Word or God with fire, conviction, and no compromise was shocking to me. I had never seen or heard such preaching on the streets.

While I first thought Ray was just being hard on people, the more I heard the message and considered the Scripture, the more I realized that what he was preaching was the Gospel truth. Shortly after I started going to the Promenade someone gave me a message called “Hell’s Best Kept Secret.” It changed my life. I saw that God actually had established specific laws that serve as the standard for righteousness. I learned that I had my Creator’s Law. As I returned week-after-week (for years) to the Promenade, it was under Ray’s preaching that my understanding and practice of evangelism was changed forever. That was about 13 years ago.

Are You Feeling Bold Today?

Although I had been long term subbing for K-12 for a while and student teaching, I had long been praying that somehow I would be able to become connected to Living Waters—the ministry I had come to love and appreciate so much. That finally happened in the summer of 2005. After talking it over and praying about it, my husband and I felt that God was opening the door for me to take a position with the customer service team at Living Waters.

Then one day, Ray Comfort stumbled in to the lunch room where myself and other associates where eating and he said, “Trish, are feeling bold today?” I hesitated a bit, not knowing what on earth he was talking about, but quickly responded, “Sure....what is it, Ray?”

Little did I know that would be the beginning of the “street fishing” for what was then called, "The Way of the Master Radio" to find lost souls for Todd Friel and Ray to witness to, live, on the radio. As a result of this opportunity I have met so many interesting people and have had some extraordinary witnessing encounters with individuals from all over the world.

America, being the melting pot that it is, has given me the opportunity to witness to all sorts of folks. The message is always the same. However, each encounter is unique because every person is different and special.


There Can Always be More

As I noted previously, there are a growing number of Christian women who share their faith on a regular basis. However, I know that there can and should be more. My burden is for more women to rise up and echo the call of the Great Commission by consistently sharing their faith. This doesn't mean that we are to shirk our responsibilities as wives, homemakers, and mothers. By no means! We are to make sure that our homes are taken care of, our husbands are well fed are children are clothed and our duties at home are tended to (Titus 2:3). But a woman who fears the Lord can certainly incorporate sharing the good news in various ways without neglecting her duties at home. For example: handing out tracts as she runs errands, preaching the gospel to the telemarketer who calls, talking about the Gospel as she rises and walks along the way with her children, joining the church door-to-door evangelism team once a month or the weekly street ministry, visiting old folks at a local retirement facility and sharing the good news, and the list can go on and on. All of this presupposes that your husband is okay with you going out door-to-door, on the streets with a team, etc. If he is not, then honor him. There are plenty of other ways to be a gospel witness via passing out tracts as you go along your way running errands and as you teach your children. Remember that Jesus' Great Commission (Matthew. 28:18-20, and Mark. 16:15) to preach the Gospel and make disciples throughout the world was given to the entire church.

Ladies, God can be glorified in and through you when you are obedient to proclaim the Gospel. Just ask Him to give you spiritual eyes to see and spiritual ears to hear the lost, hell-bound people all around you. May He burden your heart for the lost. See that the harvest is plentiful but the labors are few (Matt. 9:36-38).

It was the “Prince of Preachers,” Charles Spurgeon, who said these sobering words: “Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that.” A Christian cannot be apathetic about the salvation of the lost. The love of God in him (or her) will motivate him to seek and save that which is lost. My burden is simple. I long to see women set free from watching endless TV, spending hours on facebook, shopping excessively, and doing things that really are of no eternal value. They can impact this world for time and eternity if they see that they, too, are called to be ambassadors of Christ and His Gospel.

Many mothers in the ancient world, just like today, had very busy lives in the home and tending to the kids. But this did not stop them from proclaiming the gospel to the lost. Being busy with kids or the home is no more an excuse for not to proclaiming the gospel than a person who is busy at work. If a Christian stay-at-home mom can make time to witness and preach the gospel then so can a busy businessman (or woman)—and vice versa. Witnessing should be a way of life for every Christian. It is something you do if you are truly born again (Acts 4: 31). It's one of the greatest signs that you have been filled with the Holy Spirit. Evangelism should be like breathing air. You shouldn’t even have to think about it. Witnessing is simply part of who you are in Christ. Your passion should be to make Him known. In doing so, you will try to reach the lost with the Gospel by whatever means necessary, regardless of the season of life in which you find yourself.

He Has Chosen To Use Us

I am reminded of the old hymn, “Amazing Grace”, by John Newton. The lyrics are based on his reflections on an Old Testament text from which he was preparing to preach—to which he added his perspective about his conversion while aboard his slave ship, Greyhound, in 1748. "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see." And in Robert Robinson’s great hymn, “Come Thou Fount,” we find these words, “Oh to grace how great a debtor…”

We must agree with Paul that we are debtors to all men, we must preach the gospel to every creature and obey Christ’s command to tell of this glorious gospel to the ends of the earth and reach every living person that we can for Christ. Though we will never be sufficient for all of these things, we can rest in the Sovereign hand of God that He can. So much joy abounds when we are faithful to preach the Gospel. There is never a single time where I have regretted telling someone about the Lord. Christian, He has chosen to use us - all of us. So, Go! Share the Gospel One Person at a Time

8 comments:

Anna Havanka said...

Excellent! Thank you for the encouragement! :)

Beth said...

Amen!

Thank God for your example!

Women in evangelism fullfilling - Acts 2:17, "in the last days . . . your sons AND daughters will prophesy . . ."

Charlene said...

Amen! We so need to hear these exhortations. Trish, may I post this on my blog?

Fish with Trish said...

Charlene, for sure. Go for it. God bless you, sis.

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Lori Williams said...

Thank you so much for this post. My husband and I were reading through 1 Timothy Chap 2 in the verse where its talking about who women should present themselves as modest godly women and the commentary from John Macarthur asked the question-who are some of the godly female examples you look to and why. My answer was Trish Ramos, Kay Arthur, and Ingrid Schleuter from Crosstalk. I thank you ladies for the lessons I've learned from you all and what an example I strive to be like. You have been a key role model in my life especially with evangelism and representing Christ with my life. Thank you for this post! God Bless you Trish.

Fish with Trish said...

Lori, thank you for your kind comment.

Humble Smile :-)

Trish

M said...

I cant imagine that women shouldn't do evangelism! Look at the life of Corrie ten Boom! (and the others named in previous comments) :)