The nine months since the start of our outreach preparation flew by, and then I was hugging and kissing my pregnant wife at the Winnipeg Airport before boarding our Korean Air flight to the Philippines.
That was a hard moment, leaving behind my wife and unborn child to lead a team of 10 people to the Philippines for 16 days. Although difficult, my wife Nicole assured me it was the right thing to do. So I said my farewells and our Philippines outreach team headed towards check-in.
Maybe you’re asking at this point, why the Philippines? Simply put, God directed our Global Impact Team (GIT) to the Philippines through connections with Dave Penner the Director of the Evangelical Free Church of Canada Mission. The Free Church in the Philippines was seeing a great deal of people begin to follow Jesus through simplistic evangelism. At the same time, the Global Impact Team (GIT) was praying and looking for an opportunity to lead a team overseas to share the gospel and help the global church grow. The connection seemed straightforward and God directed.
Our time was short in the Philippines, so our goals needed to be focused and specific. Our team was to work alongside the Evangelical Free Church of the Philippines, specifically in Cebu City, to do gospel presentations for friends, family, and co-workers of the members of seven free churches we were paired with.
In 16 days our team worked hard. Every day we headed in different directions, in taxis, cars, and on the back of motorbikes, to make connections with individuals and groups to deliver our gospel presentation. During this time we presented to over 1,100 people and witnessed 842 people make a personal decision to make Jesus Lord of their life. Praise God!
While on a mission in the Philippines a few things stood out to me that defined come characteristics about evangelism.
- Evangelism is about planting seeds:
In Matthew 13:1-9, Mark 4:1-9, and Luke 8:1-8 Jesus tells his famous Parable of the Sower. Without doing an exegetical study of this passage, one of the timeless truths I experienced in the Philippines is we are the Sowers. We don’t always get to harvest what we or someone else plants, but we are to at least plant seeds. Seeds are when we – through our words and actions – plant truths or questions in the minds of non-Christians that continue to grow and lead to salvation.
- Evangelism is measured on obedience:
Not every person in the Philippines decided to follow Jesus. Likewise, many people here in North America will tell us to buzz off when we talk about Jesus. So then how do we measure success? The simple answer is obedience! Our obedience should be the measurement of success when it comes to sharing our faith with others. God is able to do the rest of the work.
- Evangelism is also about words:
Christian and secular non-profit organizations reach out to help people around the globe every day. Insert yawn here! In fact, we observed a few in the Philippines. Just merely helping people is not evangelism. We also need to share the Gospel through our words. Do we know the entire Gospel? Could we share it with someone in two minutes? When there’s no time or ability to help someone we must be ready to share our reason for having faith in Jesus Christ at all times.
- Evangelism is more about courage than intellect or talent:
If we look or pray for opportunities to share our faith and don’t have the courage to speak or act when it comes, what’s the point? We need to have courage as well. Pray for this. It’s helpful when we go out together and have others to help and hold us accountable. Courage is taking action even when we don’t feel like it or when fear is staring us down.
- Evangelism takes sacrifice:
It will require your time, money, attention, resources, reputation, to reach the lost and broken. We are called to go outside the four walls of the Church to engage in a lost and dying world. Evangelism might claim every piece of what God has given us. It’s better to understand the cost at the outset.