Philip on road

A Refreshing Evangelist

We need a refreshing type of evangelist to emerge today that is more like Philip.

Ready to follow the Spirit wherever He leads – spontaneous and not driven by their own agenda – but also trained in the gospel and willing and able to lead people to Jesus from any point in a conversation.

This last weekend (at the Apprentice Gathering) I was leading the Beyond Awkward Workshop on turning casual conversations into eternal encounters and I received some insightful feedback. This person loved the tension we introduced between being Spirit led but also trained.

They were getting at the tension between being organic and spontaneous in our witness to others, but also actively training in scripture, sharing our stories, and knowing how to talk about Jesus with seekers. Their point was most people that are Spirit led and organic don’t tend to be the training type and vice versa.

Philip – Spontaneous and Trained

The training is based out of Acts 8 and it looks at the encounter of Philip and the Ethiopian. The thing that is remarkable about Philip is that he is so willing to follow the Spirit in incredibly wild ways but he is also clearly trained and ready to lead the Ethiopian to faith when the moment presents itself.

In the first few verses of the story we see that Philip is led South down a desert road and then once on his way he is led by the Spirit to go stand next to a chariot. This is an incredibly weird, spontaneous, organic and faith filled move by him. Many times people who are like this are not the kind that major on preparation. They aren’t the kind to be training hard so they are ready for the moment that will come later.

But we know that Philip is trained and not just winging it here:

34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.”

Philip when asked to explain the passage in Isaiah was able and ready to not only dive into Isaiah, but know how to take the guy from that point and lead him all the way to Jesus. That takes great skill and preparation. Most people I know that are trained and prepared this thoroughly are not the type of people that are just going to follow the Spirit down random desert roads and run up to moving chariots.

Different denominations and theological camps tend to major heavily on one or the other. Let’s be trained and well skilled or lets be attentive to the Holy Spirit and open to spontaneous directions.

In my world of InterVarsity, we call it the tension between strategy and prayer. We tend to leads toward one or the other.

But this is what caught the attention of an attendee this weekend and what has me reflecting today.

We need a refreshing type of evangelist to emerge today that is more like Philip.

An evangelist ready to follow the Spirit wherever He leads – spontaneous and not driven by their own agenda – but also trained in the gospel and willing and able to lead people to Jesus from any point in a conversation.

It is hard to find the kind of person that is trained but not cookie cutter – trying to force the same message in the same way on people. It is also hard to find spontaneous people led by the Spirit that can zero in and lead people to Jesus in a clear, compelling, and concise way through scripture.

So I leave you with this…

How are you training in the gospel and how well can you share it any time, anywhere, and from any point in the conversation?

How well can you hear God’s voice and how comfortable are you letting him lead you anywhere at anytime?

If you want help growing in this area, please invite me come lead you through the Beyond Awkward Workshop.

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