“setting forth the truth plainly…[unlocking] this treasure in jars of clay”
–2 Corinthians 4:2,7
We know that nothing has more power and potential than the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16). We’ve felt it and experienced it. Through his Spirit, God has graciously placed the truth of His gospel in us—jars of clay. We want to share it. Often, I desire to share this Gospel, but the frailty and Moses-like limitations of my clay quickly come to mind when I consider stepping out and sharing the Gospel. How can desire and potential translate into reality?
Through the Please Open the Door program, Truth in Love Ministry provides God-given training wheels to ease sharing the gospel truth with Mormon missionaries. I will use the acronym P.L.E.A.S.E. to share how Truth in Love Ministry helped me translate God’s evangelizing potential into evangelizing reality.
P = Preparation
Once a meeting with Mormon missionaries is set, you work with your own personal mentor before each meeting with the Mormon missionaries. Your mentor helps and prepares you. My mentor, Dave, was a great help to me—especially during the first few meetings. Clarifying this information helped me focus each meeting on a few achievable goals, relax while meeting the missionaries, listen and enjoy the witnessing experience.
L = Listen
Often, we are eager to share the Gospel and tell the story—thinking about what we want to say. Listening was an important first step during my first meetings with the missionaries. It builds a bridge of relationship and respect with the Mormon missionaries. When they knew I listened and respected their communicated views, they were more open to respond by listening similarly. Building the relationship through listening provided opportunities for repeated meetings and chances to continue conversations with the missionaries.
E = Encourage
Witnessing to Mormons can be a challenging process. Often, they listen politely and agree, but they can be difficult to read. It’s hard to see if real change is taking place. In some cases, the gospel may not take root until years later. My mentor continued to encourage me to “sow the seed” as I shared the gospel of Christ with the missionaries. Our task is to sow the seed. The Spirit will take care of the results.
Participating in Please Open the Door provided an easy opportunity to practice applying my Christian knowledge of doctrine and practice sharing it with others—teaching them about the wonderful news of sins forgiven in Christ Jesus.
S = Spiritual Growth
As a professor, I’m familiar with the adage, “You never really learn something until you teach it.” My experiences showed me that the same is true for sharing the Gospel with Mormons. Preparing, listening, applying, and responding caused me to study the Scriptures and to think about how I could best meet the missionaries where they are in their spiritual journey and share God’s message with them. God used this process to generate spiritual growth in me.
E = Enable
The process of working with Truth in Love Ministry has produced fruit for me. I’ve begun developing evangelism skills and thinking about evangelism strategies (e.g., listen, build relationships). I’ve also become more comfortable and excited about taking opportunities to share God’s Word with others.
This was an answer to my prayers that God “P.L.E.A.S.E” provide a way to translate my evangelism zeal and desire into evangelism reality—a way to share the “PLEASE-ing aroma of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:15) with Mormons.