I wrote this last night and I’m still not sure whether to post it, as I’m feeling challenged and really unsure about what to do with it.
Our faith as Christians is meant to be shared. We are called to preach the gospel…the good news that is Jesus our saviour…to the world.
I used to think the work of an evangelist was someone else’s job. I was sure my job was ministry within the church, helping others find their way on this spiritual journey and travelling my own road of discipleship alongside them.
I’ve listened to some people like Roger Carswell and Glen Scrivenger lately. They do evangelism as a job. A good job they do too. But me…I could never do anything like that. I know the gospel, I have my own testimony and have loved Jesus with all my heart since he saved me at the age of 21. But I always felt that evangelism was something I just wasn’t gifted at. I don’t mind talking to people about Jesus and telling them the gospel, if they ask, that is. But evanagelism…well that’s someone else’s job. I’m not gifted like they are.
It doesn’t take much to learn about people who are excluded. You just need to look, and listen. Excluded from school, excluded from society, even excluded from church. They don’t fit in, they behave differently and people don’t want that. So they give them a label and say we can’t meet your needs here…so go somewhere else. So we segregate them and then we don’t need to think about them. And some end up in the worse places, the forgotten places. They are the kids in secure homes for behaviour challenged children, the adults with autism who can’t get a job so they stay in their rooms all day because they aren’t included in society. They are the young people with additional needs who end up refusing to go to school, some are in prison or homeless because they were excluded from families, education and life. They are the ones social services aren’t helping. They might be refugees, trafficked children or modern day slaves. They are the mentally ill in secure accommodation. They are in our midst but we don’t see them. They are the excluded.
Having your eyes opened to the excluded people around us is uncomfortable. I want to run and hide. I want to stay where it is cosy and ‘nice’ and minister to people who appreciate and respond to all my efforts. But in the background are the excluded. They are in need of a saviour.
But they’re unlikely to come to us. We open the church doors but some instinctively know they aren’t included. They aren’t welcome anywhere else, so why should a church building, filling up with its well dressed people, be any different. You’ll expect them to be quiet and follow the rules, when their lives cry out in confusion and pain. They can’t stand another rejection. Even though we want to love them as Jesus loves, we try to tell them…but they won’t come to us.
So we need to go to them.
Will you or will I go and preach the gospel to the excluded? Or shall I ring Roger or Glen and ask them to do it? Oh Lord, I am so in awe of those who are doing this work, preaching your gospel to the excluded.
I’m not feeling comfortable. I’m feeling convicted of God’s heart for the excluded.
Not sure what to do next.
More prayer needed.