Focus on Gardening

Part 1: Greg encourages Christians for whom evangelism seems overwhelming to focus on small opportunities of influence rather than "sealing the deal." 

Other videos in this series:

Want to Share the Gospel? Start with This Question

The Burden-Free Step in Discussing Christian Beliefs

The Unexpected Way to Effectively Make Your Point

Transcript:

00:11 I had somewhat of an epiphany 10, 15 years ago.

00:16 Something came together for me that has really profoundly influenced the way

00:21 that I approach the whole task that we generally call evangelism. Before there

00:25 can be a harvest, there has to be a season of gardening. What this points out

00:29 for evangelism is that before someone comes to Christ, there is a season of

00:33 that person considering Christ. And nowadays, that season is a whole lot

00:40 longer than it used to be. In other words, as Francis Schaeffer used to put it, we

00:45 need more pre-evangelism than we ever needed. So if we just go out into the

00:51 field, and we are looking for a harvest, and our evangelism technique is focusing

00:57 on getting people to sign on the dotted line, to close the deal so to speak, we

01:02 may be really frustrated because it's like harvesting fruit that's not ripe

01:06 yet. And I began to think of my own life, and I realized that I'm not really a

01:12 harvester. I'm a gardener. Everything that I do really on the radio, and writing

01:17 books, and talking to audiences is mostly gardening, not harvesting. Is there a

01:24 harvest? Sure. I get people to come to me and they tell me that they've listened

01:28 to the show or read the books and eventually, they became a Christian, right?

01:31 In other words, somebody went into my garden where I had been gardening and

01:35 harvested my fruit. Do you think that bothers me?

01:41 No, it doesn't bother me. I'm glad for that and Jesus said the same thing in

01:45 John chapter 4 right after the woman at the well. The disciples came up to Him

01:49 after she had gone off to Sicar, and He says to the disciples, "You are about to

01:53 reap where you did not sow." In other words, He's identifying one field, two seasons –

02:02 Reaping and sowing – and two kinds of workers, reapers and sowers, harvesters

02:08 and gardeners. And I think the gardening job is the one that's the hardest to do

02:14 because when the fruit is ripe, it falls into the basket. What Jesus is telling

02:20 the disciples is they're about to get the ripe low-hanging fruit though

02:24 someone else did the heavy lifting. And then He says, "So that the one who reaps

02:30 and the one who sows can rejoice together." That's my approach. That's what

02:36 I mean when I say I just want to put a stone in someone's shoe when I go to

02:42 engage other people. I'm not looking to lead them to Christ. I'm not looking to

02:46 close the deal. I'm not swinging for the fences. I'm just trying to make a small

02:51 difference in their life, put a stone in their shoe, get them thinking about

02:55 something important about Christ. Maybe create a doubt in their mind about their

03:00 own view so that would move them a little bit closer. And I think if more

03:06 Christians thought of themselves as gardeners and not worried about the

03:12 harvest, which I think is going to take care of itself by God's sovereignty, we

03:17 get out there and start gardening, doing a little here a little there, more

03:20 Christians would get off the bench and get into play. And this is part of the

03:24 reason I have the tactical game plan because Tactics is a game plan that will

03:30 allow you to do that effectively. Tactics helps you to garden, and gardening, I

03:37 think, is the biggest thing that's needed right now.

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Greg Koukl

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