I’m amazed by just how much evangelism Student Life gets up to. Every week it seems a new email comes in with news about some incredible feat the students have got up to (whether it’s taking turns over the course of a whole week to fast and pray for God, or the passion individuals have in supporting new believers, it’s a great inbox to be running!)
Even more impressive is the fact they don’t take time off in the holidays either. Each year, Student Life takes a team of students down to Nelson over the summer to have a go at sharing the Gospel with anyone who’ll listen.
Here are some of the best stories – I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
“As part of our training, us students were left to run our own outreach day. While brainstorming for ideas, I was thinking that perhaps we didn’t always need to do the approaching…and God popped an idea into my head: why not run a stand where people could “Ask a Christian a Question”? The next day we had just set up when a man walked over, looking at the sign. I asked if he had a question. “It would be too confronting for you” he replied. Before I knew it, Sam and I were deep into what would be a two-and-a-half hour conversation!
He [the man] said we were the only Christians he had ever met who were willing to have a real discussion with him, rather than simply pushing their beliefs. Near the end of our conversation I discovered the reason for his animosity towards religion. I knew I had to tell him the Gospel.
“Christianity is not about following rules, but following Jesus” I explained. “I’ve never heard that before,” he said, “that sounds nice.” My friend Sam got his email address so he could send him some evidence for the bible, and I invited him to church the next day. He came! He seemed to like the service, saying “there was good energy around”.
Please pray that God will open his spiritual eyes to the truth and that he will find new life in Christ. Praise be to God!”
– Abigail Marshall, university student from Wellington
If you’re more familiar with getting shut down when evangelising, you might find this encouraging:
“On new year’s eve, Lume and I were looking for people to talk to. We just wanted to have a normal conversation that could perhaps lead to a spiritual conversation, but we got rejected multiple times.
We went back to the sausage stand to see what was happening and then across the road we saw this guy just sitting alone, so we approached him. His story was that he’s been working alone in New Zealand for a couple of years and he’s been waiting for his family to migrate here. That opened an opportunity for us to talk about what it’s like not spending time with family on Christmas eve and not going to church with them. After that, we transitioned to the KGP (Knowing God Personally tract).
“We went through the whole thing and he said that at the moment he is definitely not a Christ centered person, but that he would love to be.” I asked him to read the prayer of acceptance afterwards and asked if he could mean this and say it to God, he said yes. So, we went through the prayer and I got his number and he got mine.”
– Ryanel Reynon, university student from Auckland.
If, like me, you ever wonder why your spiritual conversations don’t end in conversions, the answer is to be patient. Check out the numbers below of all the chats on the Nelson Beach Mission trip:
While only six people converted on the spot, almost half of the 800+ people approached were interested in having a spiritual conversation. This is incredibly exciting, as it shows how we have opportunities to sow seeds of truth, even if people aren’t ready for a full gospel presentation yet. If you are frustrated that you haven’t managed to share the full gospel yet, don’t be discouraged! The seekers are out there, even if they’re only at the beginning of their journey.
If you’re not sure how to start spiritual conversations, or would like some extra tips and tricks, check out Doug Pollock’s God Space. Many people have found it’s made the difference between wanting to have spiritual conversations, and actually having them!