Today was our church fellowship’s Christmas Outreach at the Hutt Riverbank Market.
The weather was a bit iffy – warm, but an annoying misty drizzle hanging around. It didn’t dampen our spirits, though! We had about 700 Christmas Gospel Tracts from Operation513 to give away, with gifts of chocolate attached. We also had New Testaments to give away.
We had a good turnout, about a dozen of us either manning the tables, singing some popular Christmas songs, or out and about having one-on-one conversations with people.
Most took packs of us. My go-to line was “Merry Christmas. Here’s a Christmas gift for you. Do you know what Christmas is really all about?”, praying that would lead to a Gospel conversation. Every person was polite. Some declined to talk, but took packs, so I was happy with that. I also bumped into a few who said they were Christians, and thanked me for what I was doing. I asked them if they did anything like this, and surprisingly (but not), they said they weren’t called to do it. I pointed out the Great Commission, but they said it wasn’t their gift. Makes me want to shake a few church leaders by the collar…
I had a few conversations, here are the few I documented:
Martin – this gentleman had no idea what Christmas was all about. In his Asian culture there was no mention of Christ or Christmas in his family. I was able to explain what Christmas was named after – Christ coming to earth. He was surprised by this. I asked him if he would get to heaven when he died. He didn’t know. So I took him through the law, and the news was not good. I gave him the Gospel, and he thanked me for my time. I gave him something to think about, but part of me thinks he wasn’t taking me very seriously. I left him in God’s hands.
Hayden & Ariela – these two were very open to hear the real meaning of Christmas. They sort of knew it was about Jesus, but apart from the baby story in the manger, that was all they knew. I was privileged to explain the real reason He came, and what it means for them. After admitting they would go to hell when they died, they were relieved to learn what Christ did to prevent them going to hell. They took a couple of other tracts from me, and said they may come to church for the Christmas service.
German man – I gave this gentleman a tract, but he said he didn’t need it because he was a Christian, but I doubted it due to his colourful language. I asked him what Christmas was all about. He said that it was about Christ coming to earth, to eventually save sinners. I don’t know why, but I asked him if he still sinned. He said yes. I asked what happened to all the sin, did Christ take it all? I don’t know why I was asking these questions, they just came out. I guess it was the Holy Spirit guiding my words. He said it didn’t matter how much he sinned before he died, as Christ’s mercy extended past his death. I just stood there with my mouth open – what was he saying?? I asked him if he was referring to Christians, but he said to everyone. Everyone can go on sinning, because Christ’s mercy is available after death. I asked for any scriptural backup for this, but he said it was what he believed. I asked him about Heb 9:27 – “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment“, stating he was in big trouble if he believed God would turn a blind eye to sin. He said I was wrong. I pleaded with him to reconsider, but he was being arrogant about it. When he turned to leave, I slipped a tract into his shopping bag without him noticing. I pray he comes across it, and repents of his unbelief!
The packs were flying out of my hand faster than I replenish them, and before I knew it, they were all gone. The rest of the team were starting to pack up. They said they had prior commitments, and had to go, so I helped them pack. The sun was coming out and it was warming up, so I decided I would stick around and do some one-on-one on my own.
I managed to engage a few, but they turned out to be disinterested, or silly.
Lily & Pam – this mother and daughter duo were the last people I talked to. The mother (Pam) was a little skeptical, but listened in. I honed in on Lily (about High School age). She was like a sponge, taking in everything I was saying, and getting all my checking questions right. She was very polite and articulate. She thanked me for taking the time to talk. I thanked her for being patient and listening to me, and commended Pam for raising such a respectful young woman. This softened her a bit, so I took the opportunity to walk her through the Gospel as well. It turned out that she was burnt by a church a long time ago, which made her bitter. I apologised, and pointed out that sadly, not all churches stick to biblical truth. I asked them along to our Christmas service, and they said they would seriously think about it. They left with a couple of tracts each – “Who Made It?” (Operation513 tract about the logic of creation),and a trivia tract (Living Waters IQ test, which they both failed!).
That last conversation really made my day! By then it was lunch time, so I thanked God for the awesome opportunity we get to share the truth of Christmas, and prayed that He would be merciful to some!
This sort of evangelism is easy. Just visit the online tract stores, and swat up on how to engage with people. You will be surprised how you go! I am the world’s biggest introvert, but I am surprised at how confident (yet at the same time nervous) I can approach a complete stranger to tell them the best news they could ever hear!!