EP. 102 || EVANGELISM IN THE LITTLE YEARS

This transcript has been edited for clarity.


[00:00:37] Laura: Hey guys. Welcome back to another episode of Risen Motherhood. I'm Laura Wifler, and I have my sister-in-law, Emily Jensen, here with me.

 

[00:00:44] Emily: Hey.

 

[00:00:45] Laura: And first thing we want to let you guys know is that we're actually taking a break after this episode. This is our last episode for the spring of 2018.

 

[00:00:53] Emily: Yes. And we are already excitedly planning podcast for September when we return. So this is just like last summer if you guys have been around for a while you know we took a few months break from the podcast episodes only so we can enjoy your family, and just like you guys, rest and get revved back up for our wonderful content.

 

[00:01:14] Laura: And of course we're not going away completely though, so don't worry you get your Risen Motherhood fix. We have the blog running all summer. We also have lots of social media content lined up, and I don't know do we have anything else, Emily? That's kind of the main two.

 

[00:01:28] Emily: Yeah, so we're definitely still going to be out there engaging and sharing stuff.

 

[00:01:33] Laura: Instagram stories—go find us there. We've been trying to get Facebook Stories to work, but I've been having some struggs with it. I don't know. So, we'll see if we get that fixed, but we hope you guys will join us throughout the summer and look for us to return in September. But with that, we want to get to the show.

 

[00:01:48] Emily: Yeah. Laura, I just remembered something funny I was going to tell you. So last night, you remember how we had the kids record the intro for the AUA show? My husband Brad is—of course you know Brad, he's your brother—I'm talking to you like you don't know who he is. He's like the weirdest thing happened. We were driving the other day, and the boys were like, "I have a new podcast I'm starting dad." And he's like, "What?" "It's called the worst mom in the world." So the line we had them say over and over again was, "When you're the worst mom on the planet," from the intro. So what they got is that mommy and Laura do a podcast called the Worst Mom in the World, and they want to be on it.

 

[00:02:31] Laura: That is awesome. Oh man, I love it. I love that's probably what they're going to be telling the grocery store people.

 

[00:02:38] Emily: I was like, "No, that's not what the podcast is called."

 

[00:02:40] Laura: It might be how we feel sometimes, but it's what it's called.

 

[00:02:44] Emily: So, speaking of that, I think it's just been really funny to talk with people in real life about what it is that we do in terms of ministry. And because we're talking about evangelism, I told Laura this story last night actually that I was stopped at a therapy appointment and a lady overheard me talking about this book update. Somebody was asking me about it and she said, "Oh what's your book on?" And I was like, "Oh, it's on motherhood and the gospel." My voice changed, I got all weird and awkward and it was like I coughed out the words. I felt so dorky afterwards, and I just was like, "Why do we get so weird about that? Why do I get so weird about something so simple that is not threatening?" It's a perfect opportunity for me to talk clearly about Jesus and the things that I just love so much, but it can feel so awkward to share the gospel with people.

 

[00:03:44] Laura: Totally, I hear you. I think it's hilarious when people ask me, "Oh so what do you do?" I don't know if they're believer or not but there's somebody new, and I'm usually like, "I run a pod- ministry- Christian. I don't even know." It's all coming out in a jumbled mess, and it's just hilarious, because  Emily and I have actually talked to this a few times of how we speak so freely to Emily's closet about Jesus. And it's like we are bold and brave, we're behind these mics we have. But even like going into our safe community at Risen Motherhood on social media and things like that, like where we just feel like, "Oh generally, we know the message is going to be received." It's so easy and so free, but then you get to a point where you don't know how it's going to be received. And all I can do is have fear of man completely where I'm thinking about how do I look, and I don't want to make them uncomfortable, or I don't want to be uncomfortable.

 

[00:04:33] Emily: And do they even know what this is.

 

[00:04:36] Laura: They probably don't even know what a podcast is, and I'm worried about the word Christian.

 

[00:04:41] Emily: Yeah, I think, for me, what's a big struggle is this idea that I can kind of talk Bible study and prayer all day and feel like, "Oh yeah, those are disciplines that are consistent in my life." But when I think about the simple fact of sharing the gospel evangelism, do I do that as frequently as you know I probably should know? No, and why is that? I feel like it's one area of my own personal spiritual life that is really challenging and something I wish I was more passionate about in my everyday life.

 

[00:05:14] Laura: Right. Yes. So just to let you guys know, if you're a mom at home who's wondering why is it so hard to share the gospel, Emily and I literally sort of do it for a living now—not a living but we do it all the time. And we still find it to be incredibly hard to do it in our everyday life. And I think there's a lot of reasons for this, right? I mean, there's the element of our family has just a lot of needs that feel urgent or they kind of feel all consuming. And so, it can take a lot of us just to love those in front of us and invest well in front of us or even just being tired. I mean I think that's that's something that is a real thing but also can be kind of used as an excuse to host someone that maybe you don't know very well or feel like, "I'm already so physically and emotionally drained and now I'm going to go talk to this person who's kind of emotionally draining for me maybe." So those can be definite real hindrances.

 

[00:06:05] Emily: Yeah. I know for me too there's this element of not knowing where to start. I maybe see missionaries or people who are church planters and I'm like, "Oh great, that makes sense." But I don't always know what it looks like in my own context. How to meet more unbelievers without being totally awkward or just kind of constructing a situation that's not real. And so it can be a barrier just to think outside the box and see what's right in front of me.

 

[00:06:31] Laura: All right. Or maybe past efforts like Emily and I were just sharing like the times where we do kind of feel like we want to be brave and get out and do it maybe something it failed. Maybe we've felt really embarrassed or maybe we were rejected—definitely things like that have happened to me in my past that makes me just feel like it's not even worth it. I don't want to go through that emotional toil.

 

[00:06:52] Emily: Or I think just feel uncomfortable talking about God and the gospel. I mean there's an element of fluency in it that really only comes as we practice and as the things of the Lord roll off of our tongue in everyday conversation. And even if they do, it can still be challenging because the language you might use with an unbeliever to talk about the gospel is probably a little bit different than what you may use at church—just in terms of understandability. So there are definitely a lot of barriers but still very important.

 

[00:07:21] Laura: Yeah. Bouncing off of what you said, Em, of feeling like you need to have a robust theology or getting nervous about getting until some kind of theological argument you know where somebody maybe wants to pick a hole. That can be really daunting, but you know the reality of the gospel is what we talk about here on every single show at Risen Motherhood. You can tell it a lot of different ways with different words but as long as you have that essence in there, then what's great is that all you have to do is be able to explain how God did that for you. You can tell your story within that context. That's all you need to really know to share the gospel. If you're feeling like, "Oh I'm scared to do this because I don't have the right words or I don't know how to frame it up," we're going to get to talking a little bit deeper about what to do if you're feeling that way. But just remember that that's really what it is. That is sharing the gospel. If you know that story, if you know the story of how God saved you from your sin and death, then you know how to share the gospel.

 

[00:08:17] Emily: Yeah, and I think the gospel then transforms us and our lives and changes our heart. So if we are extremely grateful for that and we have truly been transformed and we know the hope that we have forever, that is going to make us want to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength which is the first and greatest commandment. And it's going to propel us towards the second commandment which is the great commission—going out and making disciples, loving others in the name of Christ. And that is really where this evangelism peace comes into play. If he's done this for us, then we want to go to the ends of the earth and tell everyone. Because the reality is everyone is going to live forever. What is the reality of their forever going to be though? Is it going to be with God, where he's going to make all things new and restore everything and there's going to be joy? Or is it going to be apart from God, where there's going to be no eternal punishment and sadness and weeping and gnashing of teeth? And so if we really believe that, then there has to be an element of us telling that. There is a verse in Romans that talks about Paul saying, "I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes." And he also goes on to say that, "faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ." So, we definitely have that commission as believers to help people hear the good news. It's great news.

 

[00:09:47] Laura: Yes. So if it's such great news, what you'd hope is that this would flow out of you out of your joy. But the reality is we live in the "already but not yet," which means we still have our sin nature in us. And so we end up being self-focused, afraid of rejection, afraid to be persecuted for our faith, or we're just self-focused with our own needs. You know, we're thinking about just what's right in front of us rather than the eternal. So we know that these things happen and that we have these moments, and we all have them but that doesn't mean.But that doesn't mean it has to be the pattern or the future of our life—that we can continue to grow in holiness, that as we get to know Christ more, as we grow in our Christian walk, and we fall more and more in love with him, that joy really does start to overflow. And we are never stuck in where we're at, so we can remember that the more that we dwell on God's grace, the more it changes our hearts and the more changes our actions and our words.

 

[00:10:45] Emily: Absolutely. And I think one thing that can kind of take the pressure off when we're thinking about this, is realizing that salvation belongs to the Lord and it is ultimately him who is sovereign over hearts and people being able to understand and receive the gospel and put their faith and their hope in Christ. I think I have to remember the Parable of the Sower, and we need to be sower and be casting out the seeds of the gospel, but we don't always know what people's hearts are like. We don't know if the cares of the world are going to choke it out. We don't know if hard times are going to cause people to fall away, we don't know, but we are still responsible for sowing the seeds. And God is who gives the growth.

 

[00:11:28] Laura: Amen, amen, Em. So we want to talk through a couple of common myths or pitfalls. These are things that Emily and I have fallen into at different moments in our lives, so know we're preaching to ourselves here. But the first thing that I think a lot of us, especially moms who are at home or at home generally during the day, we kind of think to ourselves, "Oh I'm pouring everything that I have to my own home mission field." And so we stop looking outwardly, we stop looking at the needs of those around us, because we feel like, "Oh we're already participate in the Great Commission. I mean we have our little children." And it's true our children are our mission field. That is a true element, and we are to raise them to know and love Jesus, and we are to share the gospel to them. But at the same time, when we make that task so important, then we leave no time for unbelievers or to evangelize with other people and really in reality, evangelizing to other people, seeing the needs of others, that's part of our witness to our own children. And so, we need to kind of have both of those things, not just saying, "Oh you know, I'm taking care of my kids and so they're becoming Christians, but it doesn't matter what everybody else is doing. Someone else will care for that."

 

[00:12:36] Emily: Yeah. And like Laura saying, it is such a good opportunity but that doesn't mean it's an either or. Like I have to go out and leave them. No, it's bringing them alongside—part of training our children is having them see us care for the lost.

 

[00:12:50] Laura: And we have a couple shows on this. Yes. We'll list them in the show notes. I don't remember the titles. This is what I feel like when I'm evangelizing—totally blanking.

 

[00:13:06] Emily: But the flipside to that is sometimes we can see the mission field as being primarily out there. And so, in an effort to reach people in the gospel with good intentions, we may serve and serve and serve and be away from our home and be away from the people who may need us right there. And we are reaching people with the gospel, but we're forgetting our own unreached people group in our own house who also needs to hear the gospel, whom we have tremendous influence over. And so again, it's not an either or, but I think we have to be cautious about not falling into either of those ditches—thinking it's all out there and neglecting the mission field in our own home, or it's all in here and I don't need to do anything in terms of reaching my neighbor.

 

[00:13:50] Laura: So another one would be that you view your life as a witness. So this makes a lot of sense, because we are supposed to be in the world but not of the world. And so often our witness can be the fact that you know maybe you don't swear, or you dress modestly, or you're not cheating out your co-workers or your company, your children are obedient and they seemed to respond to you, and there's this element that you look like a Christian to the outside. But the problem with that is the fact that the reality is if you don't give words, if you don't explain why you're different and why you do things differently, you're nothing more different, in the world's eyes, than someone who is morally upright. We have to remember that in order to reach the heart of another person, it often requires communicating the reason why you're different. Instead of kind of deep down hoping, "I hope someone will come up to me and ask me about Jesus."

 

[00:14:42] Emily: Yeah, and one thing Laura and I were talking about as we were prepping for this show is a really practical thing that has helped us in this is to let people know really early on in a relationship, when you meet them, that you are a follower of Christ. And then, as they see your life, as you interact with them, as they see, "Oh this person really cares about me, this person really wants to know what's going in my heart, and they are really gracious in whatever those things are," they have a context and a framework for knowing that's in light of your belief in Christ. So that can be a way to kind of get around that pitfall.

 

[00:15:17] Laura: And it makes it way easier later in the relationship if you want to go deeper with them or talk about stuff. At least for me I'm like, "Okay, they already know that I'm different, and they already know that I follow Christ." And so it's way more easy, I think than, "Oh I've known you for ten years and you have no clue I'm a Christian. And that's embarrassing.".

 

[00:15:35] Emily: "Why are you bringing this up now? Didn't you love me before?" And then another one, this is kind of modern, but I think there is this element of like social media bio evangelism, where maybe your profile is like, "Mom of three kids, loves Jesus and coffee." It's kind of like our today's you know 2018's way of putting a fish on the back of your car.

 

[00:15:57] Laura: I like that. I forgot about those!

 

[00:16:01] Emily: So the truth is it is great to acknowledge online that you are a follower of Christ. I don't think anyone would say that's a bad thing, don't do that . But I think the flip side to that is sometimes our profile shows that we actually have a different functional God, and that we we actually are worshiping and living out something completely different. And that can be very confusing to people who are seeing "Jesus saves" in our profile, but it looks like we're trusting in something else to save us as we're posting different articles or we're posting pictures. And then another element is that we use that as an excuse to not go out and meet people in real life and to share the gospel with our neighbor across the street, or to invite a co-worker over to our house for dinner because we're like, "Nope, I'm cool. I got evangelism box checked." It's not an element of, "What's the least I can do to be witnessing? " No, it's, "I really genuinely want to share the gospel with people, not just put the fish on the back of my car or the Jesus in my social media."

 

[00:17:04] Laura: Okay. So we've kind of started talking about all of these pitfalls. So now a little bit of encouragement about some ideas for how to share the gospel or get started. Hopefully you're thinking, "Okay I want to do this. This is something that I've been convicted to do." So the first thing to kind of start with is asking when was the last time you did share the gospel with someone—even if it was just your own children; I shouldn't say "just your children," that's important. And why is it, if it's been a long time for you?

 

[00:17:34] Emily: Yeah. So some ideas if you are wanting to say, "Yeah I haven't shared the gospel in a while. I want to get more regular in this," is to pray for a greater desire for that, to practice in your own home with your own children—what a wonderful opportunity to expose them and to get all your goofy words out. And then three, just to think about things in your life that are a good jumping off point to talk to new acquaintances or co-workers or anyone else that you're going to come in contact with about Jesus.

 

[00:18:04] Laura: Yeah, this is one of those that has been really helpful for me. I know when we were in the adoption process, people would always ask me, "Why are you adopting?" You know believers, nonbelievers, it's a very natural question. And I remember the first few times I got asked by a non-believer I left God out of the equation. I completely confess to all of you on the podcast that I just gave some of these surface answers and some statistics. While they are valid and true and definitely helped convince my husband towards that path, I was like, "No, the number one reason I'm adopting, is because of my own adoption from God." And that was really convicting for me as I walked away from that. And so I rehearsed it at home saying, "What is a natural way? How can I get comfortable with the language to talk to anyone about adoption and how that intersects with my Christian faith?" And so it was just a natural door. And these days, my daughter has special needs and so a lot of people ask, "Oh how's your daughter and what's going on? How are you processing it?" And that's another great chance where I have, in my own time, thought through this is how I can share the gospel through my daughter's story or through how God's working and my life in this situation. It's become a lot less scary because I kind of know what I'm going to say. And so maybe thinking through some of those things in your own life, as Emily was saying, what's already happening now that you can use as a springboard to naturally share the gospel or even drop in that nugget letting people know you're a Christian even if it's not this big robust, "This is the gospel!"? You can sprinkle in the fact that my life is different, I live differently, or I make decisions based on my faith.

 

[00:19:33] Emily: And another thing we can think intentionally about is, "Who is in our immediate sphere of influence?" This may be a parent. Of course children, I don't ever skip over that. Our own parents, in-laws, people who are very good friends, a co-worker that you see every day, maybe even extended family. Just consider sometimes we overlook those people, and we're you know we're thinking halfway on the other side of the world when we have somebody we see three times a week that doesn't know Jesus that we could really just invest more intentionally in. So, go ahead and start praying for that person. Think about ways that you can remember them or encourage them or really foster a relationship with them that makes them feel genuinely loved, that is different and redemptive in a way that no one else is reaching out to them.

 

[00:20:21] Laura: This takes a lot of intentionality. One show that does come to mind for me that I remember the title of is "Hospitality and the Little Years, Episode 55," so definitely check that out. That one's a pretty easy one. And "Serving Others Right Where You're At, Episode 43, "would be helpful in this, I think.

 

[00:20:38] Emily: And then the final one, especially for those of you who feel like, "I'm at home a lot and with my kids all the time, I don't have any of these people," I would just challenge you to think about it. Are there people though that you see pretty regularly? Do you take anybody to therapy? Do you go to certain doctors appointments over and over again? Are there teachers that you see? Is there a grocery delivery person that you see frequently? A barista? A mailman? A hairdresser? A nail tech? A house cleaner? Think about all of those people in everyday life that you see—can you be intentional as you are doing that? I know one thing we try to do every year is send out Christmas cards to a lot of these people that we may see two, three times a month and write a sweet know and just say, "We pray for you. And we're really thankful that you do this in our lives." And I don't know what difference that makes. But it's just one small thing you can do when you aren't sure how to foster deeper relationships with unbelievers in your life.

 

[00:21:35] Laura: Yeah, I got a friend who I know via Instagram on the Internet. But she leaves gift cards and a note for her UPS person every Christmas.

 

[00:21:43] Emily: That's sweet.

 

[00:21:44] Laura: I know. I love that. And I was like I gotta do that. So, you know, there are ways. She just takes it to the door. I'll try to link to her Instagram post about it, because it was super inspiring and really easy. So anyway, basically final words for all the moms out there: know that you are not alone in this being a little bit daunting, a little bit scary. But also know that God gives you all that you need. He promises that he will care for you. He'll be near to you and even if you feel like you tried it and it failed miserably or you didn't have the perfect words or you feel a bit embarrassed by, trust that God's word won't return void to you. And that as you make diligent efforts to try to share the gospel, God honors that. And that he opened a donkey's mouth, so if he can work with a donkey, he can work with you.

 

[00:22:33] Emily: Yeah. Two things that just came to mind. One is to expect that this is going to be costly. So I don't think we said that overtly, but I think sometimes we get in our little comfort zone and were like, "I want to share the gospel but not in a way that is going to cost me."

 

[00:22:46] Laura: "As long as I know they're going out just like totally receive Jesus in that moment, I'll share it."

 

[00:22:50] Emily: Yes, spreading the good news of Jesus is costly. We do a whole show about that. And two, we have a printable on our website that you can use to share Risen Motherhood with people, with moms in your life. If you're like, "Oh I don't know quite how to share with this mom about Jesus, but I'm going to have Emily and Laura do it through the podcast. Here's this thing that I've really been enjoying!" And we hear that from a lot of you guys that you're sharing Risen Motherhood with other moms. Hopefully, they don't come back and listen to this and feel really awkward.

 

[00:23:20] Laura: Tell them to the last show.

 

[00:23:22] Emily: But that this can be a way to start conversations, so we hope that you can download that little notecard.

 

[00:23:29] Laura: Yeah. Well there's like a five by seven sides. And there's a flyer. You can just pin it up all over your town if you wanted to—no problem. So OK we got to wrap it up. We are hitting time. We're usually a lot better about this, but we went over, I'm pretty sure today. We'll see. But if you want to find any of the stuff that we've mentioned today, please check us out at www.risenmotherhood.com. That's where our show notes are found. We talk about them on every show. We post lots of links and resources, so hopefully we'll have some stuff there that you can check out for further articles, to get more inspired, and maybe find some new tips and tricks also for sharing the gospel with those in your life. And of course find us on social media: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter @risenmotherhood. And we'll see you in September! So have a great summer break everyone!

 

[00:24:12] Emily: Yes, see ya!