A couple years ago I heard John Maxwell (author of multiple best-selling books on leadership) speak at a conference. He said that he had run numerous workshops on leadership within the church, but he considered himself to foremost be an evangelist (i.e. someone who proclaims the faith to a secular gathering with the hope of conversion to the Christian faith).
While he is now a well-known author and leader, he spoke about his early years in which he questioned how his gift of evangelism might be fulfilled.
In his early years he focussed on developing leadership programs within the church. His leadership development was so successful that word got out and he was invited by multiple secular organisations to run similar leadership workshops. His initial reaction was that his calling for leadership training was to the church and that was where his focus should be aimed. But as the ongoing requests came in for him to speak at secular gatherings, Maxwell realised his calling as an evangelist. He accepted invitations to deliver his leadership programs into the secular realm, but not withholding his Christian foundation. He said that this was his doorway to his gift of evangelism.
Every day, we as leaders in learning communities have the opportunity to share the good news of Jesus into all kinds of seemingly secular situations. Like Maxwell in his early years, we may sometimes question as to whether our time is best used here. After all, it is much easier to spend that time with those whom we feel an alignment of faith.
But as Jesus demonstrated on numerous occasions, and as people like John Maxwell can give testament to: as we share the good news of Jesus with those whom we think would least expect it – in whatever form that may be, from a friendly smile, a word of encouragement, a listening ear, a word of Scripture – God is at work, and he can do much more than we can ever expect.
Hence my encouragement is to be aware of all people. In particular, those whom we might easily overlook as not being interested in the Gospel. It is in such contexts that we have a great opportunity to share the Gospel and partner with Christ in the building of his kingdom.
Spiritual & Cultural Leader