As we have moved back to the US, I have tried to apply the same cross-cultural skills I developed in Mexico in order to understanding my new culture and preach the gospel effectively here.  John Leonard’s 2013 book, Get Real, published by New Growth Press, is full of helpful insights and tips about, as the subtitle says, “sharing your everyday faith every day.”

For example,

On Western Evangelicalism:

“Western individualism has turned the church into an event that I may or may not participate in, depending on what I get out of it.”

“We need to change our vocabulary when we describe a Christian.  Jesus didn’t command us to go out and make believers, he commissioned us to go and make disciples.  We need to move away from a ‘big decision’ definition because all the emphasis is on making the decision, praying the prayer, or walking down the aisle.  is that all Christ asks of us?  Once we’ve made the ‘big decision’ and gotten it over with, we can go on with our lives.  Western evangelicalism has infected the world with this heresy–that if you have made the ‘big decision’ you’re OK; everything between you and God is fine.”

On How to Treat People:

“Instead of trying to lead people to Christ, let Christ lead people to you.”

“Most of the people Jesus taught found him.  How do people find you?  Ask your heavenly Father to send them, and keep your eyes out for everyone who comes along as the possible answer to your prayers.”

“What makes an absolute stranger a confidant?  It happens when you’re desperate for someone to speak to, and no one else is available.  These are not rare occurrences, if we’re willing to listen more than we speak.”

“We listen more than we speak not only to communicate real care and concern, but because listening will help us know what the Lord wants us to say to the person that he has brought across our path.  In traditional evangelism you already know what you’re going to say.”

“As they speak about the immediate problems they’re facing or questions they have, we should be listening and praying, asking our Lord to help us gather together everything we have heard, read, or understood from the Scriptures in order to respond to their problems or questions.”

“It isn’t about putting more people into your life; it’s about genuinely seeing more of the people that are part of your everyday routine–who are, for most of us, no more than scenery and sometimes intrusions into our daily lives.”

“Instead of being ‘efficient,’ do exactly the opposite.  Go out of your way to interact with people.”

To flesh out his advice, John included many examples from his own colorfully evangelistic life.  I especially liked the way he engages servers in restaurants by saying, “We are about to thank God for the food.  Is there anything we can pray for you?”  As I have offered to pray for servers, we have entered into some great conversations, like when the young lady immediately answered, “Yes, pray that I can stay sober,” and another asked for prayer for her brothers, whom she described as lost.  A third wanted prayer for her daughter who just got married, and she proceeded to show us many pictures of the wedding and the honeymoon.  We are finding (surprise, surprise) that people do indeed want to talk if someone is willing to listen.  They are often also willing to hear good news.