Manspeak


Q&A With David and Beth by tmaples
February 3, 2007, 6:11 pm
Filed under: Evangelism

dd-and-beth-cruise.jpg

by Travis Maples 

Today I interviewed my cousin David, some of you may know him as DD, and his wife Beth.  They came down to stay with Amy and I for the weekend.  They lead ECHO(the young adult ministry at their Church)in Lansing Illinois and are actively seeking to reach the lost with the gospel on a consistent basis.  I hope to post several interviews in the following weeks with people that I highly respect and admire to find out how they tick evangelistically.    

What experiences have shaped your passion for Evangelism?

DD: At a young age, I saw people like my Uncle John taking the time at restaurants and gas stations to share the Gospel with people.  I didn’t understand it at the time, but looking back, it has really made an impact on me.  It has helped me to see that I can’t keep my faith to myself.  It has also influenced me to see people I respect living out their faith in all walks of life.   

 Beth:  At 14, I had an opportunity to go to
Ecuador on a short-term mission trip.  Seeing such a wide array of people that had no clue about the Lord in comparison to the overflow of what I’d experienced in my own home opened my eyes to see how many people needed to hear about Jesus in the world.  Being on a mission trip with our sole purpose being to evangelize empowered me to come home and talk about the Lord to my peers. 

What do you enjoy most about it?

 DD: Walking away from an evangelism encounter and knowing that I had the privilege to share something eternal with people—something that is lasting.  I come away with a sense of awe that I got to share these truths that are eternal.  The best part is getting to be that person that gets to bring them to the point of realization that they don’t know God and need him.  It’s humbling.

Beth: I don’t want to give the illusion that evangelism is always easy.  But when the Lord gives you the boldness to actually share the Gospel and to feel like he’s using you to make an impact in someone’s life is really exciting.

Are there specific people on your heart?

 DD: People I work with because there’s a depth of friendship that’s created when you consider the amount of time spent rubbing shoulders with them everyday.  These guys I deeply care about and it’s scary to think of their place before the Lord right now. 

Beth: He has you there for a reason!

DD: Yeah—I’ve been blessed with some great friendships at work.  It’s amazing. 

Beth: I’m really praying for the people that I run into everyday at work.  I always feel a sense of purpose that God has me in specific places at specific times for a reason—that I can make an impact for his namesake. 

DD: The Lord has really put Muslims on my heart, too.

What is your biggest evangelistic blunder?

 DD: Once when I was living in
Wales, a friend and I would go with the Salvation Army to evangelize in the clubbing district on Friday nights.  Sometimes the Welsh accent is very difficult to understand.  I started sharing the Gospel with a guy who wanted to fight me, but I didn’t understand that he was wanting to fight me so I kept sharing.  By the grace of God, my Welsh friend understood and pulled me away before I got pummeled. 
 

Beth: It’s a hard question because it seems like God’s grace is always there even when I mess up.  So for me the biggest blunder is when I don’t trust God and don’t speak up when I feel like he’s told me to.

What is one thing you would caution people against when sharing the gospel with others?

 Beth: The biggest thing is to avoid debating specific points about religion or doctrine.  Someone who wants to debate doesn’t have a heart to receive.  Stick with the simple Gospel message and allow the Lord to work out the details.

DD: Not having compassion with people you’re sharing with and going more out of a sense of duty than a heart and passion for the lost is dangerous.  In I Corinthians 13, Paul talks about being a clanging gong when we speak without love.  That needs to be our underlying motive.  [Only Love Can Make a Miracle –book about man reaching mentally handicapped people with love and compassion from God.]  

If you have someone coming to you that is a new Christian, what is a resource or source of help that you would direct them to?

 DD: Take them out and show them how you share your faith.  Not that you’ll do it perfect, but it definitely will help them to take the wall of mystery down in regards to evangelism.

Beth: Know the Gospel and a couple Scriptures, maybe from Romans.  There are a lot of resources out there like the “Four Spiritual Laws” or “Romans Road” that will give you rough outline and help make your message clear.

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4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Thank you Travis for sharing your family with us.

(One thing you would caution people against when sharing the gospel…Beth: “avoid debating specific points about religion or doctrine. Someone who wants to debate doesn’t have a heart to receive.”)

I agree and disagree. I’d say absolutely for a neophyte. However, as we mature in our walk my recommendation would be to grab a few good books on apologetics and follow the Holy Spirit. He’ll guide you on differentiating those that truly don’t have receiving hearts (because yes, I agree, they are plentiful) from those that have taken the time to study other doctrines and points of view and are willing to listen to us explain ours as well. From my experience, the hardest to win are the most passionate for the Lord. Example: Saul to Paul.

As for DD’s response to this same question, I agree whole-heartedly.

(…a new Christian, what is a resource or source of help…)

As a couple you have captured the two most important factors. Give them the source – God’s Word. Then offer them a resource – ourselves. Discipleship, after all, is what Jesus taught us. See Robert E. Coleman’s “The Master Plan of Evangelism”.

Keep up the good works.
Be blessed. More importantly, be a blessing.

Comment by Morgan

DD & Beth- it was so neat to hear your heart to share the Gospel with people! Thanks for sharing this with all of us.

Comment by Amy Maples

I agree with you Morgan. I think that in our postmodern age it is helpful even essential to have a good apologetic at the ready in our evangelistic efforts. Albert Mohler posted a great series on on his blog about the necessity for apologetics to accompany evangelism(You Bring Strange Things To Our Ears). We have to call people to articulate what it is they actually believe and why. I got the sense that Beth was referring to the temptation to get sidetracked into merely winning arguments. On that subject I appreciate your desire for clarity.

Comment by Travis

Awesome responses! I’ve had a lot of spiritual conversations on campus and in the dorms here at Purdue. I haven’t used the Romans Road much, but the Four Spiritual Laws or Knowing God Personally books are super helpful. They clearly present the gospel to people who may have a strong misconception of what the message truly is.

As far as apologetics go, I sometimes don’t have answers or have never even heard arguments people try to make. But one thing remains, in those situations its okay to ask why, what, where… A simple question on our part really gets a person to analyze why they believe what they believe, where they got their information, or what led them to think the way they do. Like Travis said, I get preoccupied with winning the battle sometimes, but how much more effective is it when the person themselves sees can see the way that they are thinking really doesn’t make sense.

As another resource, there are a ton of great, simple, and clear evangelism tools (more geared towards college students, but helpful in almost any situation) at http://www.godsquad.com. There are discipleship resources as well.

I look forward to the upcoming interviews!

Comment by Blake




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