This article details a time of Christmas outreach / evangelism in Salisbury. Specifically, about a secret weapon that should encourage all who carry out such work.
It's probably been about 10 years since I last stepped foot in Salisbury. I decided to join Josh Williamson and a team there (Open Air Mission) to attempt to make Christ known to as many people as possible, just before Christmas.
This involved, open air preaching, the handing out of Christian literature, a free Bible table and conversations.
I had no idea where we would be in the city, and the spot we all met at seemed unfamiliar to me.
Just as we started, a complete stranger approached me and asked me if I knew where there was a Greggs bakery nearby. To which I instantly replied, that I was not local and did not have a clue. The stranger moved on.
Then, suddenly, I looked around me and a memory came back to me that I had been in this area before. I even started to remember that there was a Greggs nearby (but I initially doubted I would remember such an apparently trivial thing). I really felt that I had to walk a few meters down the street I was stood at, just to satisfy my curiosity about this. Then a memory came to me of actually going into the Greggs I was thinking about. So I walked a small distance, and there it was, exactly as my memory recalled it!
What has Greggs got to do with evangelism, you might ask?
An evangelism principle from this experience came to my mind straight away. God can bring back to our memories anything He would see fit to. Even if it's as mundane as a shop we walked into 10 years ago. What's the principle?
If you really believe this for anyone, then it should really help you in seemingly fruitless evangelism.
Visualise: You hand a Gospel flyer to a stranger. They may glance at it for one minute and throw it away (you watch them do this). Ten years later, the memory of the words they read may come back in God's perfect timing and cause them to seek Him. What appeared to do nothing, was of great spiritual value to that stranger.
The principle can be found in scripture:
"we walk by faith, not by sight" 2 Corinthians 5:7
Again "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase." 1 Corinthians 3:6
We never know what God does with a Gospel seed when we faithfully place these into the hands of individuals. We can trust that His Word never returns void (Isaiah 55:11).
This does not mean we won't see fruit from our labours. But there will be days when you don't see anything. You might not even have a conversation with anyone about the Lord Jesus. But regardless of this, remain faithful. Trust He is working out His plans and purposes and keep serving your King by faith.
We did have some conversations in the outreach. People listened to the preaching. but many Gospel flyers were handed out that we have no idea about how God will use them. May He be glorified through this work!
"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21