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Make disciples? Who, me? How?

I was about fifteen years old, working at my summer job as a babysitter for Aaron and Brian. It was a hot, summer day, and we all needed a walk, a change of pace, maybe a distraction. So, I put Aaron in the stroller, held Brian’s hand in mine, and we ventured out. 

Just as we got to the end of the driveway, a car pulled up beside us. In the car was a man who leaned out the open window and asked, “Have you asked Jesus Christ into your life?”

“Maybe, ummm, I don’t know. I go to church.” I replied. What is the difference between going to church and asking Jesus into my life, I wondered. 

“Pray with me right now and ask Jesus into your life. If you do you will be saved.” He urged me. 

Saved? What does he mean by that? I was baptized as a baby. I go to church. What is he talking about? I continued to wonder, but didn’t want to ask, especially with two hot, rambunctious kids on my hands. This is not the time to talk to this man or to anyone else. I was a little embarrassed. What? He wants me to pray right here on the street corner? What if someone sees us? Not knowing what to say, and not having any clue what he meant about being saved, I politely agreed that we could pray. If I agree, then maybe he will go away, I hoped. 

So I folded my hands over Brian’s hand, and bowed my head, and the man began to pray. I didn’t pay much attention. My thoughts wandered the entire time. I hope he hurries. Someone might drive by. The kids want to get going. I want to get going. I know it is good to pray; but really, praying on the street corner? I feel ridiculous. How long is he going to go on? Sometime, maybe I’ll learn to just say no. I should have said no this time. Can’t he see that I’m busy? Why in the world did he stop by me? Why didn’t he pick on someone else today? Who is this guy? He’s not wearing a pastor’s collar. 

“Amen,” said the man. 

“Thank you,” I said. I think he thought that I was thanking him for the prayer. I was simply glad that he was done. Then he drove off, just as quickly as he had stopped beside me. The boys and I continued our walk. It was a beautiful summer day. 

“Go therefore and make disciples,” Jesus said, as quoted in Matthew 28:19-20. 

What does that mean? Am I supposed to do what that man did on that hot summer day? I mean really, I’m sure his intent was good, but was he effective? Maybe that works for some people, but I don’t see myself ever stopping a complete stranger and pushing them into a prayer that they do not understand. 

I read a book written by another man who likes to do open-air preaching. He goes to a busy street corner and just starts preaching to anyone that happens to stop and listen. Then he hands out pamphlets that tell the people about Christ. His book encourages us to do the same. 

Wow! Does God want me to do that? That’s not me. I like to speak to groups and in public forums; but I prefer being an invited guest. Maybe open-air preaching works for that man; but I don’t think it will work for me. 

“Go therefore and make disciples.” God calls all of us, first to love and have faith in Him, then to serve Him. He calls us to make disciples. But how do we do that? 

God gave each of us different gifts and abilities, and He wants us to use them in our own story, in our own lives, and in our own way. What works for some people, may not work for others, and that is okay. I believe that was God’s intent, because the ears and hearts of the recipients hear His call in different ways, from different people, through different approaches. So, when making disciples, all of our different gifts, approaches, and styles are needed. 

Rebecca Manley Pippert, in her book, “Out of the Salt Shaker & into the World”, said, “As God frees us to be authentically human in the way he designed us, we’ll discover that evangelism will begin to flow naturally from who we are.” 

Being authentic, living as God called each of us in our own personal way, and using the gifts and talents that He provided to us, will enable us to make disciples. Walk closely with Him and He will lead the way.


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