Evangelism in Chicago

Every week I carve out time in my schedule to hit the streets of Chicago and share the good news of Jesus Christ with strangers. What began as a terrifying prospect has become some of the most anticipated moments of my weeks. I keep a notebook in my office that is slowly filling up with names and notes about the people I’ve had a chance to share with. Precious souls, many who have never heard the Gospel with clarity. And many more who have questions and doubts about Christianity but have never met someone who would engage them in their doubts in a meaningful way.

Every conversation is different, and the reality is that when it comes to “initiative evangelism” the evangelist is not always able to see the fruit of their ministry. It is not as if people come to saving faith in Jesus each time I go out. But conversion is not the only mark of effective evangelism. I’m trusting God that in the midst of our conversation, walls are being broken down in their hearts that have hindered them from believing in the gospel, or for some living into their hope in the gospel. Plus, I really believe that there is power in the Word of God. Just hearing the Word and communicating the Word carries weight.

This week I spoke with two separate men who both claimed at the outset of the conversation to be Christians, it became clear over the course of the conversation that each man had varying degrees of understanding of the fullness of the gospel. With the first man I asked him what he believed would happen to him after death. His response was, “None of us really know. I can’t be confident about the afterlife the way I am confident about Jesus.” What a joy to explain to him that to believe in Jesus is to believe in what He taught about the afterlife, and that we can have confidence about our entrance into heaven if we have truly repented of our sins and trusted in Christ! With the second man when I asked him who he thought Jesus was. His response was, “I believe that Jesus was the Son of God, and that in various times and places God can make other people to be like Christ.” I explained to Him that Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.” What a joy to get to share the reality that Jesus is comparable to no one. He is the one and only propitiation for our sins.

I share this post with you this week to encourage you. You don’t have to have all the answers to talk to people about Jesus. Yes – it is intimidating. And yes – some people will reject you for asking if they’re interested in a spiritual conversation. Big whoop. Getting the opportunity to help people see Jesus with clarity is well worth a moment of rejection.

Written by Raef Chenery

I'm a pastor in Chicago at Park Community Church - South Loop. I'm a husband to my beautiful wife Sara and a dad to three sweet girls, Ruth, Joy, and Mira. I'm blessed to be surrounded by a number of men and women who love to think about the ways that our faith interacts with our culture. This blog is as much for me to get my thoughts in order, as it is for those who might benefit from it and engage in the conversations as well. I would love to get your feedback through the comments on each post.

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