“Seed week – learn to share the gospel with the unreached people groups of NYC!”
When I first saw the above short-term missions trip opportunity in New York City, I thought, “I am a Christian, of course, I know how to share the gospel with someone.” Right? Why do I need to be here to learn how to share what I already know? This was the thought that ran through my head as I sat down for my first gospel evangelism class in New York City. Our instructor then proceeded to draw out a simple presentation of the gospel in 30 seconds, and I realized I did not know how to share the gospel at all.
Of course, I knew how to love my unbelieving friends and co-workers. I knew how to share with them how important my faith was to me. I even knew how to invite them to church. But that was the end of evangelism to me. Bring them to church. There the preacher will tell them the gospel and they will do it in such a better way than I ever could. I do not want to mess up the gospel by telling it from my untrained lips. But is that what Jesus asks us to do?
A call to action
In reality, Jesus asked us, his believers, to go into all the world and make disciples (Matt 28:19). This is the Great Commission, not “go into all the world and bring people to church.” Bringing people to church should be the result of our making disciples, not the beginning. Jesus asked us to go. It is a call to action. It is a call to tell the lost the Good News. And what a privilege this call is!
So, why go to Seed Week?
Surely I can learn how to share the gospel at home, can I not? Perhaps. But right after the simple gospel presentation was shown to us, we were expected to go out two by two (hurrah! hurrah!) and share it with strangers on the street — people of all sorts of ethnic backgrounds and beliefs. Intimidating? Absolutely.
This is the major benefit of short-term missions. You are placed so far out of your comfort zone that it is sink or swim. There is no, I will do it “later,” or I will try that technique when I “get the opportunity”. We are all fantastic at making excuses of why we cannot apply the teachings we hear. In reality, we do not make it a priority. We do not set aside the time to practice until it becomes second nature to share the gospel in its entirety with the person next to us on the park bench. Life happens and the opportunities to answer the call to action slip by.
Here in New York City during Seed Week, you immediately practice what they preach. And guess what? Despite how intimidating it may seem, it is amazing what God can do through your stumbling speech. The harvest is ripe, I learned. I just had to go out there and open my mouth to see it.
Short-term missions opportunities
Seed Week is an opportunity for you, whether you are a family, a college group, a youth group or an individual, to participate in short-term missions, learn how to get out into the harvest and share the awesome news of Jesus Christ. It is not something you learn for the week. It is answering Jesus’ call to action in all areas of your life. This training, if you let it, will change everything. Not only will it burden your heart for the unreached peoples of your city, your nation and the world, but it will be a reminder of the beauty and power of the gospel. The good news for all peoples everywhere.