Turn To Your Neighbor: Bless The World

Turn To Your Neighbor, reimagining evangelism, valuing the thresholds of the journey that lead to a deep encounter with Jesus.

This week, Chelsea Tyson shares her thoughts and reflections on Sunday's message.

It’s funny how we don’t expect newly planted trees to bear fruit the next day, or even the next year, but when it comes to sharing our faith with others, we get discouraged and quit when things don’t happen in our time or according our plans. Taking this analogy one step further, this Sunday, Pastor Rich used the Parable of the Growing Seed (Mark 4:26-29) to set the stage for our new series on evangelism called, “Turn To Your Neighbor.”

The word “evangelism” is not necessarily a word we use in everyday conversation, even among Christian circles. Why? Because it lies at the intersection of all the things we try to avoid the most: lack of control, waiting, and uncertainty. Sharing our faith with those around us tends to launch us out of our comfort zones, at least, I know it does for me. It demands of us to step out not knowing what the result will be, but trusting in what we can’t see because, as Pastor Rich pointed out:

“The journey toward meaningful relationship with Jesus is mysterious.”

Every farmer knows that there are certain measures he needs to take to plant and cultivate a seed, but there are certain parts in that process that remain unseen. In the same way, evangelism is not something that happens because of us.

Our tendency is to assume that something is birthed or grown because we worked long enough, hard enough, and right enough.
— Pastor Rich

This perspective trips us up as Christians, especially when it comes to evangelism, and unfortunately, it has a twofold consequence. First, we give up, discouraged that, despite all our hard work, we don’t see immediate results. Second, others have a hard time trusting Christians. Instead of seeing lives full of hope and love, they see people trying to manipulate or “push their agenda.” That’s what happens when we forget that the whole change of heart thing is ultimately God’s doing, not ours.

It is our job to make disciples – help people engage with Jesus and what He has revealed – but the Holy Spirit is the one who makes converts.
— Judy Wu Dominick

So then, are we to just sit back and do nothing? No. Instead of trying to carry this whole burden of transforming lives, thinking we have the capacity to do so, Pastor Rich gave such a simple, yet, much-needed reminder. Evangelism really comes down to living a life that is fully inspired by the hope that we have.

We inspire by what inspires us.

Evangelism, then, is about consistently striving to live a life centered around the Gospel. Before we try to speed the process in “making converts,” we need to step back, and realize that life, especially as a follower of Christ, is a journey. One that is mysterious, because there are some things that simply are out of our power and control, and also, one that is organic and takes time. With this mindset, we can go forward and not just “make converts,” but simply make neighbors.