4th August 2016
‘What do you do for work?’
That is the question that I am always looking out for. When I hear it, it’s like a light bulb turns on in my brain. I often have to stop myself from smiling because I know that the person I am speaking to has no idea what is coming next! I wonder briefly how the person will respond, and then I go for it.
‘Well, actually, I am a pastor at a local church.’
This is usually followed by silence as the person thinks about what to say next. Often the other person will change the subject and the conversation leads nowhere, but I am pleased that I have planted a seed in their mind – they now know that I am a Christian. At other times the conversation does lead somewhere. People ask questions such as, ‘So what denomination do you belong to?’ or ‘What does your church believe?’ and my personal favourite, ‘Is being a pastor a full-time job?’.
In order to have these conversations, I try to put myself in situations where someone will ask me what I do for work. So I have joined a running club! I run with them once a week and I have really enjoyed being put through my paces (in case you are interested, in eight short weeks I have shaved 90 seconds off my 5k time!). More importantly, as we train I get to know the other runners, I am asked questions, and I have the opportunity to say something about the God we believe in.
We read in Acts 1:8 that Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ As I have thought about this verse, I have noticed that the disciples were promised two things: firstly, power from the Holy Spirit and secondly, a strategy for reaching the whole earth. This strategy was to start in Jerusalem – Jerusalem was where they were.
It is my firm belief that if the whole earth is going to be reached with the good news of Jesus, then it will require Spirit-filled disciples to witness to people where they are.
So where is your Jerusalem? My Jerusalem is my family, neighbours, friends and running club. Your Jerusalem might be your class mate at school, your work colleagues, or parents at the school gates. Can I encourage you this summer to think about how you will witness to your Jerusalem?
It will be a challenge. It will cause some inconvenience to you. It will require prayer and perseverance. But the God who sends us is also the God who saves all those who come to Him in faith.
Look out for those key questions, ‘What did you do over the weekend?’, ‘Why do you go to church?’, and delight in taking the opportunity to point people towards Jesus.
Charles Kimbangi oversees UNITED, our ministry for young adults. He helps run Alpha and leads numerous other groups. He is married to Amy.
Steve Tibbert will be back in September.
Posted by Charles Kimbangi
Steve Tibbert leads King’s Church London, with sites in Catford, Downham and Lee. Over the past fifteen years the church has seen continued growth, both in size and diversity. Steve is also involved in Newfrontiers and regularly coaches other lead elders. His book, Good to Grow, was published in July 2011. He is married to Deb, and they have three sons.