McRaney’s analogy of yard work to personal evangelism easy to understand and right to the point. His objective was for the reader to understand that truly witnessing to others was like working, planting and enjoying the fruits of a well-tended yard or garden. It takes personal involvement. Just walking by your yard and wishing it improved gives no results. How often we walk by another in our neighborhood or office and think of how their life could be so much better it was Christ-centered but we do nothing. A great yard also takes time. It doesn’t come quickly. Just weeding or fertilizing once or twice a year improves things a bit but generates no lasting results. We also try personal evangelism around events or perhaps scheduled visitation days at our church. Our intent is good and there can be some results. Most likely those results are short lived until the next big “rain”. And a great yard or garden takes regular attention and commitment. The accomplished gardener takes the time to understand the process by which nature grows things. There are steps and ingredients needed for a successful yard or garden. To truly witness to another is also a process requiring commitment.
As outlined by both books in this week’s materials, gaining trust, communicating your message and helping your listening reach the best conclusion is something that takes personal involvement, time and commitment. McRaney’s illustration was right on the money for many of us suburban want-to-be-farmers!
This week many things were reinforced for me that I have learned over the years regarding personal testimony but several new ones were added that really impacted by plan to do my “yard work”. The seven versus were very impactful to me. (Earley and Wheeler, 255) Not only do they effective weave the story, using them in the order presented by the writers is logical and also easy to follow. They are all also well-known versus to many believers and unbelievers alike. Bringing familiar materials into a discussion is very persuasive.
Also persuasive are the examples of biblical characters and their personal journeys in trusting God. (Earley and Wheeler, 262) Almost everyone has heard of Joseph, has an idea of the life of Moses and John the Baptist and knows the name of Jesus. Along with Paul, these examples could provide a living example to your listener of a person that like themselves needed to trust God. Seeing yourself in a parallel life to another is a powerful way to illustrate a need or solution. The easy misconception of biblical characters is that they are fictional, not real. These men each had real lives with real examples that can be shown to illustrate how real people can succeed in building trust with our real God!
These two examples from Earley and Wheeler this week have become part of my personal “yard work” in personal evangelism. They are all being committed to memory this week to better prepare me for the tasks ahead. This week’s materials were full of wisdom and knowledge I need to improve my personal walk.