One of my favorite things to read about is the time Jesus was walking through the streets surrounded by a huge crowd of people and turns to his disciples and asks, “Who touched me?” Ha! Seems like a ridiculous thing to ask considering the crowd. His disciples thought so too, “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ” (Luke 8:40-48 and Mark 5:21-34) One of the keys to meaningful
evangelism relationships for today can be found in this exchange.
Most of us have a story to tell but can’t seem to find anyone present enough to hear it. Countless stories go untold and unheard because of the lack of presence.
“I’ll tell a story but no one would listen that long.” ~Eddie Vedder
Even in the midst of the crowd, noise, and the schedule, Jesus was willing to be present. Regardless of who, when, or where Jesus was always willing to give the gift of presence. That is the key to inviting individuals into the story of God’s redeeming and transforming love, being present with them. Giving others the gift of presence demonstrates you care about them, their context, their story, and creates the opportunity to see where threads of your story, their story, and God’s story might be woven together to create the fabric of a genuine relationship.
The “quick fix” forms of evangelism do not and are not working. They require no relational investment or real presence. Jesus demonstrated something deeper.
…figure out ways to practice presence.
…be where people are in order to be present with them.
…listen for the stories people are telling and the ones they’re not.
…find where stories intertwine and intersect and don’t be surprised if you find God there as well.