A word, a tract.
A glance at the words of Jesus displayed on the wall outside the Chapel door: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.”
Perhaps it looks like futility. Can one of those single things really make a difference?
Gospel centered ministry looks different depending on, well, the ministry! The kind of ministry we do here at the Chapel isn’t exactly the same as what a local church might do. The Chapel isn’t a congregation, with year-round members. It’s a seed-sowing ministry. It’s an outreach that is dedicated to preaching Jesus on the boardwalk—and that includes telling hopeful converts of solid churches they can join. The Chapel isn’t so much about relationship evangelism—although establishing relationships where we can repeatedly be sharing the Gospel with our neighbors or boardwalk coworkers is one of our goals for this year. We are committed to scattering seeds. Yes, we’re also a ministry that trains and equips Christians of all ages in evangelism. Yes, we’re also a ministry that sometimes witnesses conversions, thank God! But in terms of the way we interact with unbelievers day in and day out, the biggest thing we do is plant.
“I had so many conversations in my two nights,” said Calvin, who came with a church group to the Chapel for a week. “I handed out a tract to a guy. His friend was with him. I said, ‘Hey, this is about Jesus.’ His friend was like, ‘Wait, wait, wait, wait. So this is about the Gospel? Tell me: does baptism save you?’ I was like, ‘No, baptism doesn’t save you.’ He didn’t really get it at first, it took awhile, but I think he really did get it at the end. I went through the Gospel with him, explained the whole tract, and showed the path to get to Jesus.” Calvin was encouraged by the opportunity to share the Gospel with someone who was so eager and asking questions. Though ultimately the conversation ended with no visible change in the listener, it was still a profitable conversation because the Gospel was proclaimed. Sometimes the Gospel is outright rejected or scorned. The seed of the Word is scattered on all kinds of soil. But God can make it grow, even when we don’t get to see it.
It is tremendously encouraging when we do hear about the fruit of our work, sometimes years later. “You kind of wonder, well, ‘What’s going to happen with these conversations?’ Sometimes we wonder if there’s any lasting, eternal good happening from what we’re doing here,” said Chris Byrd during an evangelism debrief with a church group. “But sometimes we get windows like in these conversations where people are open and hungry. I want to share with you a verse that, this past year, the Lord has really pressed on my heart. 1 Corinthians 15:58: ‘Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord, your labor is not in vain.’ God is doing things, even though we don’t always see it now.”