May 14, 2018
7 Practical Ways to Make Jesus Famous
April 29, 2018 | Pastor Matt Poorman
Before becoming the Grape Road Campus Pastor, I was the Pastor of Student Ministries at The Vineyard. I loved it! Middle School & High School students are so much fun to work with! Each summer we took students to what was called Summer of Service (SOS) in Cincinnati, Ohio. While there, students would embark on a stateside missions trip showing God’s love in practical ways to the people of Cincinnati through work projects, water bottle giveaways, free car washes, block parties, empowered evangelism and praying for people, etc.
Each year the organizers establish & develop a theme for the week. Back in 2011, the theme was, "making Jesus famous". Our direction, our goal for the week was that: in all, we were about to do, participate in, and the lead was to ultimately to make Jesus famous to the people of Cincinnati. I LOVED IT! They incorporated the theme everywhere. They had the walk of fame, rolled out red carpet all over the place, and did red carpet interviews. Of all the years going to SOS, this theme was one of the best! And since then that phrase, “making Jesus famous”, has stuck in my brain and I haven’t been able to get it out.
As a follower of Jesus, it’s our purpose, our mission, our calling-beyond loving Jesus- to make him famous and share the good news of grace that is readily available for the taking. The theme verse of our Ripple Effect series says…
Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
To be the witnesses, the one who speaks, who testifies, who gives an account of JESUS! And to do so everywhere to the ends of the earth. Our purpose is to make Jesus famous and share the amazing good news of grace and forgiveness that is offered through Him!
But the truth is, in 2018, with the opinionated/social media culture in which we find ourselves, that is swirling around us, being a witness, being LOUD for Jesus can, quite frankly, sometimes be downright scary and intimidating.
So, how do we live or live more out loud for Jesus in 2018 and beyond?
Well, first and foremost I think our identity needs to be deeply rooted only in Jesus. We need to get so deep in the call of God on our lives that we don’t care what others think of us but ultimately care most about what they think about Jesus. I know that can be tough to do. It can be for me too. But we need to get to a point in our lives where we press into to sharing our faith and not let the possibility of a “no” drive us away from even trying.
I know that it may seem like this kind of thing is best suited for those that are extraverted much like myself, but that verse in Acts 1:8 doesn’t say, “…and you “EXTROVERTS” will be my witnesses.” No, it says, “…and YOU will be my witnesses …” no qualifiers or disqualifiers. As followers of Christ, we are all called to make Jesus famous, which includes all personality types, men and women, and all walks of life.
So, I tried coming up with a list of possible thoughts and ideas that may help each of
1. Wear it.
I have a Vineyard fleece that I ordered from our church website some time ago. It sparks lots of conversation about the church and my faith in general. I know there also creative companies out there that have made great & catchy apparel that ends up being a phenomenal conversation starter to spiritual activity. So, maybe it’s time to consider wearing it. Next week, we will be selling new Vineyard t-shirts available for sale at the Resource Center.
2. Pay for it.
When you are in the drive-through or in line at the 12 items or less line at the grocery store, pay for the person behind or in front of you and tell them you are showing God’s love in a practical way. Doing things like this can brighten someone’s day and may actually turn them on to the God of the universe who loves them. Even simple acts of kindness can show the incredible and transforming love of Jesus.
3. Pray for it.
When out to eat, pause and pray for your meal, it will speak loudly to others in the restaurant as they watch you do so. Also, before you pray, ask the server if there is something in their life that you can include in your prayer as you do. I have done this on a number of occasions and it has been received super well and the server has always mentioned something, even if just for good health.
The other thing that I thought of here is when driving by a homeless person on the street with a cardboard sign, maybe you could consider stopping and praying for them. I have done this a few times as well and it has been a good experience and good to have a name to continue to pray also.
4. Be on standby.
I think many of us, myself included, need to heighten our spiritual senses and be on the lookout for where God wants us to act, pray, or do something. I am sure I have missed opportunities that God has put before me because I was distracted, tired, or just pure lazy. If we can more often be on standby, looking for spiritual opportunities by asking God at the moment what he is doing, my guess is we will find them.
5. Press into Casual Conversation.
I think we can often find ourselves standing in line at the grocery store or Chipotle and just pull out our iPhone and browse Facebook, but if we are on standby maybe we can strike up a conversation with someone next to us and begin the process of a possible spiritual moment. You may be able to give a Biblical viewpoint or encouragement on a subject, share your testimony, or maybe be able to listen and ask how or if you can pray for them. Also, maybe invite them to attend a service and hand them a Vineyard invite card.
6. Schedule time.
Recently, I heard of some Young Adults in our church that were picking certain nights of the week here and there to go to populated places like the mall or a park and pray for people. How cool is that? It was intentional & strategic and, from what I understand, they saw God move as they did. And, interestingly, one of them is significantly introverted, but he was stretching, and pressing in for the sake of making Jesus famous!
7. Go to the unlikely.
What I mean by this is, we need to go spend time in places that we don’t normally. Jesus did this a bunch, for example, when he went to Zacchaeus’ house. I believe it’s something we should imitate. In a staff meeting recently, we were discussing our My 5 lists and Keith Crain, our Director of Spiritual development, said that about a year ago he realized that he didn’t know anyone that wasn’t already a Christian or attached to the church in some way.
He found himself in a “Christian bubble” and felt like he needed to start going somewhere and doing something in the realm of the unlikely for the sake of making Jesus famous. And so, he started attending a local non-gambling poker club to begin to rub shoulders with people far from God. He has now built some relationships with a few people and been able to invite them to church.
Here is a big key though in all of this…Don’t give up if it gets awkward! Seriously! Don’t give up! Romans 10:11-15 says, "How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?"
We need to press in even if it gets awkward so they can hear...so they can BELIEVE!
Matt Poorman is the Campus Pastor of the Grape Road Campus. He is responsible for the overall Spiritual Health of families and volunteers that attend the campus including children’s ministry, student ministries, & adult ministries.