by Pastor Carlos Téllez
Campus Pastor, NE Atlanta Campus
Every space is a gospel space. This truth is the idea that our home, our place of work and even the third spaces we occupy (the coffee shops we frequent, the gym where we work out), are spaces where Jesus sends us to be his ambassadors. As amazing as this truth is, it is quite intimidating – it is not easy to make the most of the spaces where Jesus has placed us. Let me share with you some ways I have learned to make the most of each space, despite my fears.
Engaging gospel spaces as a community, not just individually. Intentionally sharing the truth of the Gospel is easier done when we involve other people. One way to do this is by involving others in “my” gospel space so it becomes “our” gospel space. For instance, a few people from the Northeast Atlanta Campus got involved in an English as a Second Language program. At first, some of our folks helped out individually by teaching or providing snacks for the classes. Then, our people began to approach it communally – instead of a single person helping, it became a group of people volunteering together. We noticed that the light of the Gospel shines brighter in community than individually; the people we were serving started to see not just how believers interacted with them, but how they interacted with each other. Many more new friendships resulted from the collective effort than from individual initiatives. Another way to approach gospel spaces as a community is by strategically involving those who are not directly involved with a particular space. For example, organize a Life Group get-together (i.e., Super Bowl Parties, Board Game night, Birthday parties, etc.), and invite people from your other third spaces who do not know Jesus. At these get-togethers we intentionally spend time with the people others invited so our guests sense the love of Christ not just from one but from several people within our communities.
This leverages the love shared within a community for the sake of our common mission: sharing God’s love with those who do not know Jesus.
Be a blessing first, talk about Jesus second. A danger with this approach is that we can feel pressured to manipulate community – what many people are starved for – to awkwardly force a conversation about Jesus to happen. Obviously, we do not want people feel like we’re trying to “sell” Jesus to them. A long-time friend, Ralph Justiniano, once talked about a biking club he was part of in Japan. His goal was that, through a relationship with him, those he met would become followers of Jesus. What was his strategy? “I am here to be a blessing to them.” That’s it. He genuinely prayed and hoped for their well-being, their blessing. So, as we occupy each of our spaces, may we be motivated for the well-being, the blessing of others, whatever that may be –
and if a no-brainer moment presents itself and we get to tell them who Jesus is and how he’s changed our lives, that’s the best of all. Intentionally sharing the gospel in every space we occupy is not something we have to do alone and it is not a manipulative gimmick. It is the calling that we, together, seek to bless others with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.