Preparing for our annual Summer Witnessing Campaigns is no easy task. After we’ve identified those Jewish believers God has raised up for the outreach and helped them raise their missionary support, there’s still the matter of training them—getting them ready for the streets.
For three years I have had the privilege of training new campaigners for two weeks at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Each year, I am fascinated to watch as they arrive. Most are eager, yet apprehensive. They’ve already heard that the training and Campaign will push them to do more for God than most of them have ever dreamed they could. They wonder if they will be able to do it, and they pray that God will carry them through the difficult weeks ahead.
As trainer, I have the unmistakable joy of knowing that despite their fears, in only two weeks most of these rookie campaigners will leave Moody as changed people. They will be transformed into capable evangelists, confident in their newly found ability to proclaim the gospel and defend their faith to the Jews and Gentiles they will meet on the streets.
I recall the experience of one campaigner in training last summer. After four full days of classroom instruction and role-playing, the students were ready to go out on the streets for the first time. I went along to instruct a small group. David was the first to try to distribute tracts while the rest of us observed. He had been out witnessing on the streets many times before, but this time was the first time he had ever approached anyone and asked directly, as he was now trained to do, Who do you think Jesus is?” After the man David approached responded to this question, David continued with what we call “the proposal.” This is a statement of the gospel and of God’s offer to be that person’s Savior followed by “Have you ever asked Jesus to be your Savior? If not, is there any reason why you shouldn’t do that right now?”
David was a bit surprised at what happened next. The man he approached was quite affable and agreed that he needed Jesus. Then, right there on a busy Chicago street corner, the man repeated with David a short prayer of repentance and commitment!1
David’s surprise was not unusual. Most of us are a bit shocked the first time we see God’s Holy Spirit open someone’s eyes right before us. We know in our heads that God has prepared people to receive the gospel and be saved. Yet somehow, we don’t really expect that God will use us to lead a stranger to Him on a busy city street. David learned that day what most of us at Jews for Jesus have already learned: It’s not us, it’s God’s Spirit, and it always pays to ask!
We always follow up such decisions to verify them, give instruction and see that the new believers are baptized and planted in congregations where they can grow in faith.