It is summer and you may be dreaming of a break -- hitting the beach, working on a tan, or watching a few extra movies. But summertime also provides natural opportunities to grow in evangelism. Here are a few ways to do this.
Connect With Old Friends
When I became a Christian in college, one of my first thoughts was about the people I was going to see when I returned home for the summer. If you go to school in a place different from where your family lives, then think about a few people to intentionally spend time with when you’re home. Find an appropriate time to tell them about what God has been doing in you this year.
Here is what I said to my high school friends over the summer: “Hey, I am home for two months and I’d love to talk to you about what God has been doing in my life and how he could be part of yours as well. No pressure; I am not going to bring this up every time we hang out. But if you want to talk deeper about the topic, I’m available. You wouldn’t be bothering me one bit.”
Some of my friends were curious and took me up on my offer. Others couldn’t have cared less. None were offended.
If you really want to grow in evangelism over the summer, put yourself in a very secular environment with people you don’t know and that aren’t Christian. Forget about working at that Christian camp or for your church and grab a job at a café, a pool, or somewhere not inherently Christian. Make it your ambition all summer to dive deeply into these people’s lives and to really get to know them and share the gospel with them. Learn to serve them and build trust with them. Practice having spiritual conversations with them. Figure out how to bring up the conversation about Jesus. Learn how to ask really good questions and actually have a vibrant conversation that doesn’t fall flat.
If you displace yourself for two months, take risks in your relationships, and experiment with conversation and putting yourself out there, you will come back to campus bolder and more perceptive.
Study the Gospel of John
One of the best things I did over the summer of my junior-senior year was study the Gospel of John deeply. I bought Kay Arthur’s Study Bible with great inductive Bible study guidelines. I studied John about two hours each day. I had several commentaries on John as well and I read through those after I studied my brains out. The Gospel of John is an evangelism gold mine. The first 11 chapters are all about the seven signs of Jesus that are designed to help people believe in him. If you spend your summer becoming fluent in John, then you can go back to campus with multiple insights about Jesus. As you to talk to your friends about these narratives, you will become a much better evangelist.
The best evangelists are the people who know how to talk to others about Jesus narratives in simple but powerful ways. The only way we can become like that is to really study and know these stories inside and out.
Because of those deep times of study, I frequently can recite story after story in John and I can walk my friends through them with little prep. They just flow out of me. Not only did I get such a bigger glimpse of God’s heart for the lost, but I also really learned some great Scriptures and stories to share with friends back on campus.
Be intentional about connecting with old friends, growing in secular environments, and studying Scripture deeply. See what God can do through you this summer.
Which of these ideas do you want to put into practice this summer? Do you have any other ideas? Leave a comment and let's discuss!