“Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”(Acts 8:4, NIV)
The context for this verse is the inauguration of persecution for the young Church. Just thirty-some years after Jesus left, his followers are starting to have significant impact, which began to feel a lot like a threat to those in power. The early Christ followers decided it best to disperse and spread out to stay safe.
Now these believers who were scattered were not “church leaders” or people of prominence - these folks were just everyday followers of Christ. They may have only accepted the gospel just weeks or days before, but is says they were “preaching the Word wherever they went.” The young Church had so committed their lives to following Christ that it was a natural overflow of their lives to talk about it. No Bible school, no training in public speaking, no master’s of divinity; just a heart that longed for Jesus and an excitement about Jesus that spread to those around them.
We often get caught up in degrees and titles and put barriers up to preaching, but as I read through the book of Acts, I repeatedly see the average Spirit-filled Christ follower being used to preach the good news of Jesus. Our lives are full of preaching - we preach about our favorite coffee shop, our favorite restaurant, or the best new musical group. Yet when it comes to Jesus, we hold back. We tend to be more excited about sharing the good news of the perfect flat white we found at a local coffeeshop, rather than about the eternity-changing relationship we have with Jesus.
I get it, there are times I find it easier to preach coffee than Jesus, but when we find ourselves doing this, it’s time to get curious. “Why am I reluctant to share?” Is it because the extraordinary good news of the gospel has lost its potency in my own life? Is it because we fear man? Is it because we’ve lost our sensitivity to the Spirit, tuned out because of busyness to see the people around us?
We can’t leave preaching to the professionals… the growth of the kingdom happens through the preaching of our words and our lives. Rick Lawrence, in his book The Jesus-Centered Life says,
“True disciples, people who follow Jesus and live out his mission, are captured and carried away by him. They are so stuck on him that the natural outcome of their attachment to him is a perpetual willingness to give over their lives to him.”
When we are more excited about Jesus than a good cup of coffee, we will preach the Good News to those around us. Preaching doesn’t have to be a thirty-minute sermon delivered in perfect tempo. It is as simple as sharing your story of Christ’s work in your life, and being sensitive to the Spirit to see opportunities and the people around us. Are you willing to be involved in the building of the kingdom by preaching to those around you? What holds you back from sharing the love of Christ with others?
Tony Roos and his wife Raeni can often be found solving the world's problems while drinking coffee. He is the Envision Paris Site coordinator and graduate of Crown College in Minnesota. He is lucky to be raising two wonderful world changing daughters and often is amazed by them.