Everyday Evangelism: How God Uses your Work and your Home as Platforms for Gospel Witness
There is a lot that we can learn from Paul’s life and ministry, but sometimes, it’s a little difficult for us to relate to Paul.
His conversion experience was miraculous. Of course, every conversion is miraculous. But most of our testimonies don’t include an audible voice from heaven and temporary blindness.
His education, background, and spiritual gifts made him uniquely skilled to engage with a wide variety of people – from uneducated pagans to intellectual elites.
Honestly, you might look at Paul and say, “I can’t do what he did.”
And you’d be right.
Most of us are not traveling hundreds of miles on missionary journeys. Most of us are not spending the majority of our week starting church and telling people about Christ.
We live in one place. We have jobs. We have families. We have bills to pay, cars to maintain, and yards to mow. We have family and work obligations.
So what does Paul have to teach us about everyday evangelism? What does he have to teach about living normal life on mission?
That’s a great question. And Acts 18 gives us the answer.
In Acts 18, we find Paul in a city called Corinth, and while Paul is in Corinth, something very interesting changes in his ministry strategy. He switches from full-time ministry to part-time ministry. He gets a job.
In Corinth, Paul settles down into what we would call normal life. And in the process, he gives us a wonderful example of how to reach people in the flow of everyday life.
In Acts 18:3, we learn that Paul uses his training as a tentmaker to get a job in the city of Corinth.
For this season of ministry, he works as a tentmaker during the week, and he does ministry in the synagogue on the Sabbath.
So Paul’s situation in Corinth was like most of the people in churches around the world. Most people are not in full-time vocational ministry.
At first, this seems like a disadvantage, because it means that most of your week is spent doing things that you have to do. Maybe even things that you wish you didn’t have to do.
But in another sense, it’s a great advantage.
You see, people expect pastors to talk about God and about their church. And whether or not people say it, there is often at least an assumption that pastors have to talk about Jesus and the Bible. After all, it’s their job.
But for people who are not pastors, these accusations don’t work. They give to the church – time, money, resources, energy. And in the midst of their busy lives, their sacrifices to God are a powerful testimony to the grace of God.
But there is an even greater advantage. If you are not a pastor or full-time minister, you get to work and interact with non-believers all week. You are at a decided advantage when it comes to reaching people who don’t know Christ.
So don’t ever think those parts of your week are wasted.
All week long, you work at home, at your job, in your neighborhood. And the Bible teaches that none of this work is insignificant. Even eating and drinking can be done in a way that glorifies God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
God is pleased when we labor faithfully in the everyday tasks of life. But it’s not just pleasing to God. It’s also a powerful testimony to unbelievers.
If you are Christian, your labors at home and work are never wasted. They are an offering of praise to God. They are a visible way for you to show your neighbors, co-workers, and friends that Jesus is Lord of All. He deserves your best work, your most creative efforts, and your most careful attention.
This was Paul’s life for at least the first season of ministry here in Corinth. But in the next stage of ministry, Paul’s witness becomes even more effective.
Witness in your Home
In this new stage of ministry, Paul’s public ministry in the synagogue moves to a private home. He lives in the home of a new believer named Justus, and he began meetings in his home.
And God blessed this new approach in a powerful way. Acts 18:8 tells us that many people came to faith in Christ through these gatherings.
In fact, hospitality became such an integral part of faithful Christianity that it was included as one of the qualifications for elder or pastor. 1 Timothy 3:2 says that a pastor must be hospitable.
But hospitality is not something reserved for pastors. It was part of the DNA of the early believers. Paul made it a regular part of his encouragement to other believers (Hebrews 13:1-2, Romans 12:12-13).
The New Testament word for “hospitality” is a combination of two words – “love” and “stranger.” So the very idea of hospitality literally means love for outsiders or love for strangers.
Again and again, Paul mentions hospitality as an essential part of living your life on mission. Why? Because opening up your home to unbelievers is a powerful way to display and discuss the gospel.
I once heard John Piper refer to this as “strategic hospitality”.
“[Strategic hospitality] asks: How can I draw the most people into a deep experience of God’s hospitality by the use of my home? Who are the people who could be brought together in my home most strategically for the sake of the kingdom? . . . Strategic hospitality is not content to just have the old clan over for dinner again and again. It strategizes how to make the hospitality of God known and felt all over the world” – John Piper
And then, he makes this statement.
“Don’t ever underestimate the power of your living room as a launching pad for the gospel.” – John Piper
I love that. Because that’s not usually how we think about our homes. Most of the time, we think of our homes as castles that we retreat into for rest, safety, and privacy. We get annoyed when people knock on our door or when people drop by unannounced.
Even if you like having people over to your house, you probably prefer to have people over that you already like. Not strangers. Not outsiders.
What we need here is a paradigm shift. If God has blessed you with a home, he has blessed you with a place of ministry, not just to your family and friends, but to strangers and outsiders.
So here’s the question we must answer: When was the last time you had an unbeliever at your house for dinner?
It’s true that life is busy. It’s true that our schedules often get filled with a lot of important things.
But I wonder if we couldn’t clear out a few nights a month to have unbelievers into our homes. You have to eat dinner anyway, right? So why not invite someone over to enjoy the meal with you.
If nothing else, your generosity and love will be a powerful testimony to the grace of God. And you might just get the opportunity to share the gospel.
It’s worth stopping here to mention that we are not talking about using your work and your home to hi-jacking people with the gospel.
Don’t be the the Christian multi-level marketer who invites people over for dinner and then launches into a gospel sales pitch right before dessert.
You might ask: “How do I keep my gospel presentation from sounding like a sales pitch?”
Well, let me ask you this. Do you feel comfortable engaging in casual discussions about Christ in your home? Or do you find it awkward to talk about the gospel even with your family and friends?
Maybe that’s a good place to start. Maybe you need to start by making your home a place where Christ is a regular part of the conversation. Start by talking about the gospel as a family over dinner.
If we can’t talk naturally about the Lord with people who know Him and love Him, we’re never going to be able to do it with people who don’t.
We need to cultivate a gospel-saturated environment in our homes.
If you do this with each other, you will be inviting people into something that is real and alive. You won’t be pitching something to them.
This is probably the most important reason to make this kind of evangelism a part of your life.
If you only share the gospel in passing conversations (apart from any long-term relationship), you can completely bypass two of the most important qualities in evangelism – authenticity and love.
When you witness to a stranger on the street, you don’t know them, and they don’t know you.
You don’t have to live a consistent Christian life, because they don’t know you. They don’t know any different. And you don’t have to make a real effort to sacrifice for them or show love to them, because you don’t know them. They don’t expect you to do anything out of the ordinary.
But when you have people into your home and when you take the time to get to know them, you have a chance to show both authenticity and love.
You have a chance to give generously, and you have a chance to let them see into your life.
They’ll see how you treat your wife, how you interact with your kids, how you keep your home, how you laugh, how you sing, how you entertain yourselves, and most importantly, how you connect all of that to Christ.
So let’s be honest here. Maybe we resist the idea of our home as a launching pad for the gospel because it’s not really a spiritually healthy environment.
Maybe there is a gospel famine in your home.
Maybe the relationships are strained.
Maybe the entertainment is fleshly and worldly.
Maybe the spaces are not loved and cared for.
Maybe there is no joy, peace, or laughter.
Maybe what we need to do is start by asking God to make our homes flourish in the soil of the gospel.
Maybe we need God to apply the gospel to our homes so that they are seasoned with grace.
If you’ve been following along this far, you’ve probably figured out that living out gospel hospitality is not going to be easy.
And you’re right. To open up your home to others will require sacrifices.
But I have no desire to motivate you with guilt and shame. I know that won’t work. At least not for very long.
Guilt might motivate you to change your schedule around, but it will never transform the environment of your home. It might motivate you to invite an unbeliever over this month, but it will not yield fruitful conversations about Christ.
We need something more powerful than guilt to create the kind of changes that we need to make. We need a fresh vision of our lavishly hospitable God.
Christian hospitality is all about inviting the outsider into your world. It’s about welcoming unbelievers into our lives in hopes of bringing Jesus into their lives.
But this stream of generous hospitality does not start with us. It flows from the well of God himself.
Christians love the stranger and the outsider, because we were loved by the Father when we were strangers and outsiders.
Look up God’s description of us in Ephesians 2:12. Biblical hospitality rises when we remember that we were outcasts, enemies of God, and without hope in this world.
Because of Christ, we are the enemy loved. We are the sinner saved. We are the stranger welcomed.
And as welcomed strangers, we should be quick to welcome other strangers. As outsiders brought into God’s family, we should be quick to include others into our families.
Our love for outsiders will run deep if it flows from remembering that we are lavishly loved by our hospitable God.