This is an overly generalized description of a typical street evangelism encounter or event.
But what’s the protocol supposed to be for those interactions we are destined to have with those with whom we’ve shared the full gospel and we have to see them again the next day at work, or the next week at the cash register, drive-thru window, or local restaurant, or the next season at the next family holiday gathering?? It was already a somewhat awkward and coldly, but politely, received interaction; but, now, I’ve got to have more interactions with this very same co-worker, waitress, cashier, cousin!?
I’ve found that it’s a lot easier to share the gospel with a bunch of strangers on the streets or at an outreach event than with everyday friends, families, coworkers, and ongoing acquaintances. Why? Because once the gospel proclamation has been made to strangers, everyone just kinda’ disperses and ponders what just happened. With everyday folk, especially if the gospel wasn’t well-received or was, at best, just politely heard, we still have an ongoing relationship that just got really awkward.
Well, here’s my humble 2 cents…..
First, since we know we’ll likely see these people again and knowing that we’re the ones who took the initiative to share the gospel, we also need to be the assertive ones the next time we see each other. So, for instance, with a coworker who we plan to see every day, our assertive stance can be to help put them at ease by talking about other things during our next encounter, particularly if we were alert enough to end our last interaction with an assurance that we would always be available to them should they have any further questions or comments. The “ball’s in their court” to discuss it again anytime soon; and they will feel much more at ease with you if you leave the “ball” there for the time being.
Second, from the moment you share the gospel and see them at any point onward (and this will be the case whether it’s your local grocer, the restaurant waiter, extended family, etc.), you will be watched like a fish in an aquarium to see if you “walk the talk.” This is when you will actually “live the gospel without words,” but only because you actually shared the gospel with words. With this in mind, you must do your part in living what you preach. It seems like a no-brainer; but we are incredibly self-deceived about how we come across to people, and you can be sure that God will expose you if you are not truly living for Him. (This goes for your spouse and kids, too! You may not like being scrutinized like that, but, fair or unfair, the world will hold it against you if you’re a condescending jerk to your wife or if you’re someone who has his face planted in his phone or tablet while his kids run all wild around you!)
Finally, pray for that person each time before you encounter him or her. Sure, there will be surprise run-ins with some people; but as much as you can know as to when you will see these people next, pray for them. Pray that God will continue working on them, and pray that He will continue using you as a living example of someone transformed by His life-altering gospel.