I wrote this blog for The Baptist Union of Great Britain web site: http://www.baptist.org.uk/blogs/big-hearted.html
Rock stars go on tour. As do authors and artists. Comedian’s sell-out stadiums night after night, on tour. Even though I may sound a bit like Michael McIntyre now and again, my big hearted tour is far from a sell-out! In fact, some events I speak at only just about attract double figures. Evangelism just isn’t a popular topic and while I have tried to disguise the fact that I am indeed an evangelist and therefore what I do is evangelism by calling my tour ‘big hearted,’ many Baptists seem to have caught wind that my tour contains that dreaded ‘e’ word. And for most of us evangelism is just plain downright uncomfortable. And scary. And embarrassing. And… anyway, you get the idea, the list could go on.
This discomfort was epitomised over breakfast before a training day I led recently with the students at the IMC in Birmingham. “So, I hear you’re an evangelist.” One young lady said as I munched on my muesli.’ I nodded. “I hear you’re going to make us do some evangelism on the streets.” I nodded again. She looked alarmed as I confirmed her greatest fear and with panic in her eyes she cried, “so, you’re going to make us preach on the streets?!” I reassured her that we were going to have lots of fun and we wouldn’t be bible-bashing people, rather prompting people’s questions as to why we were doing what we were doing. I’m chuffed that over the long day the students had a great time and we were able to meet lots of people who were willing to hear good news and they even met some people were grateful to have met Christians who were prepared to pray for them. I love it when we realise that not only have we got good news, but there are heaps and heaps of people who are gagging for hope and are pleased to hear it.
Anyway, back to the tour. One evening event I spoke at recently only attracted a small amount of people and I must admit that my attitude stunk. I thought ‘where are all the people?!’ I had to pray and confess my stinky outlook on the evening. As I did so a thought rattled around my mind about not ‘despising the day of the small things’ (a somewhat obscure verse from Zechariah.) After the service rather than everyone galloping off to get their biscuit and brew they spent time talking and hanging around, I was asked to pray with a young man who wanted Jesus to heal him and then another young man who asked to be filled with the Spirit and then another man who was on his third visit to the church who wanted desperately to become a Christian and then another who needed to talk and pray through some tough times. I was somewhat humbled. Especially when I received an email a couple of days later saying: ‘I believe you came at the right time. It could always be coincidence but it would be an unlikely one that you are brought to the church on the day that I find myself carving open my mind and heart to God.’
The next leg of the tour is in the West of England Baptist Association on the 12th-15th October and then heads to Scotland to join in with the SBA assembly in Dundee on the 25-27th October.