It seems strange to me how often people think that they “automatically” have an audience because of who they are or what they have to say. Just because you may have a title beside your name or a list of degrees that trail your name or does not necessarily give you an automatic audience with people.
As a Christian, I feel that too many times I fall in to this category of thinking I have an automatic audience. I mean, there is a huge epidemic that is effecting every single person on the face of the earth (sin – Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23), and I have the remedy (the Gospel of Jesus Christ). Why wouldn’t I have an audience? Not only am I a Christian, but I’m a pastor!
I was listening to a radio program on the way to my office this morning. I caught the program about halfway in so I’m not quite sure who it was that was talking about what I heard. That didn’t matter really because what was important was what I was hearing not who was speaking. I believe it was a church leader in Oregon who was talking about different ways in which they have reached out to their community (cleaning up of local public schools, mentoring, foster care for homeless students and more). The guy on the other end of the radio was quick to say that they do not barge into the schools preaching, but rather share the Gospel one-on-one as a relationship is built with whomever God allows them to serve.
This got me to thinking some more… How often do we as Christians actually take the time and make the investment to earn an audience? The Gospels of the New Testament are accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ while He was here on the earth. When one reads through them, it is interesting to see the times where Jesus would actually meet someone’s physical needs before talking to them about their spiritual needs (Matthew 8:1-17; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 17:11-19; John 9).
The old cliché rings true: “People don’t care what you know until they know you care.” Sadly, many people are turned off to hearing the Gospel simply because the people who have come to “share it” with them in the past were only worried about getting another star on the “conversion chart”. People need the Gospel of Jesus. They need to hear it (Romans 10:8-15). Without hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, people cannot be redeemed from the sin that has left them spiritually dead. The question becomes then, “Are we making it easy for them to hear and receive the Gospel?”
I believe that when we take the time to actually build a relationship with a person and use the gifts that God has blessed us with to meet their needs, they will be more receptive to hearing what you have to say. As Christians, we have the most important message in the history of mankind: Salvation is here and available in Jesus Christ! May we not stand in the way of that message by thinking we are above serving those to whom we share this message with. Remember the words of Jesus…
You know that the rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and the men of high position exercise power over them. It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life – a ransom for many.
(Matthew 20:25-28 HCSB)
What are some ways in which you are “earning an audience” with people to share the Gospel?