Why is it that we prefer to celebrate with a community of family and friends as opposed to celebrating by ourselves? As I am writing this article, the high school students and faculty are wrapping up Homecoming Week. In the midst of the hall decorating, team competitions, W-hunting and triplets wearing Ghostbusters costumes, I have not once heard someone say, “I really wish I could just be the only one decorating my hall.” In fact, in my eleven years of working at Westminster, I have never heard a student say during HOCO, “I wish I could hunt the ‘W’ by myself” or ask, “Why can’t I be the only person dressing up today?” Why is that? Because God has created in us a desire to celebrate together. In the same way, God has decided that we are to invite others to share in the joy of knowing Jesus personally as our Savior.
Oftentimes, when we hear the word “evangelism,” we think that telling others about Jesus is a task reserved only for super spiritual pastors or biblical scholars and theologians. Jesus makes it clear to his very sinful, human, and confused disciples in Acts 1:8 that “you [are to be] my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” In fact, these are the last documented words Jesus shares with his disciples, which merits their utmost importance. So, what is he really saying? He’s telling them to be “witnesses”- to simply share what they have seen or experienced by knowing Jesus.
In a similar way, we need to look at evangelism not as something that only one or two people on our campus can or should do. Like Homecoming, we can invite people to join us, not just in dressing up like Minions or decorating halls but inviting them to join us in the Gospel too; to hear how God has saved us from our sin and brought us to eternal life by sending his son, Jesus, to die on the Cross to pay for our sins.
When I was a freshman in high school, my cousin Vicky, a sophomore, invited me to a church youth camp, much like the Younglife Camp we visit for Warrior Week. She was the first “witness” so to speak and all she did was simply invite me. That was it. At the time, I thought being a Christian was simply being a good person and hoping that when I died, my good works would outweigh my bad ones and God would let me into heaven.
However, after chapel the first night, my cabin leader, Michelle, a senior education major in college, shared Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Michelle was my second “witness” as she went on to share how when she was a young girl, she too mistakenly thought that being a Christian was simply following a list of rules to earn our way to God. Instead, she explained that the Gospel is Jesus dying on the cross to pay for our sins and us trusting in his redemptive work on the cross rather than trusting in our own futile efforts. That night I prayed a simple prayer: “God, I am a sinner and place my complete trust in Jesus’ death on the cross to pay for my sins. Amen.” Vicky didn’t save me. Michelle didn’t save me. However, they did invite me to Jesus. In essence, they invited me to the party, the ultimate “Homecoming,” the everlasting relationship with Jesus that will last for eternity in heaven with him and all the rest of us celebrating together.
So, who do you want to invite to the “Homecoming?” Your family? Your friends? If you have been a witness to what God has done in your life, share it with those around you. It’s the greatest invitation you will ever give. And if you aren’t sure if you will spend eternity in heaven, speak to one of your Bible teachers here. They would love to talk to you about what it means to be a child of God.