My name is Sean. I live in San Francisco. I share my faith on the internet everyday. If you were to see me out of the office on a city bus I would most likely be plugged into my iPod listening to an audio book with a look that says don’t bother me. Sometimes but not often I prep myself for being available for people while on the bus but It is a rarity that a valuable conversation ensues. I usually end up talking to a crazy person who lives in golden gate park and smells like a variety of hard liquor. All this to say a few words about being a follower of Messiah in a busy city trying to be a light of hope and live intentionally in ministry to my surrounding communities.
I am not a typical case, in that finding other intentional believers is rare in this city. Many believers I have had contact with have expressed a lot of fear about sharing their faith or even talking to people outside their own safe christian bubble. I understand that fear, I have been involved with street ministry since I was 7 handing out my first gospel tracts on the U.C. Davis Quad at the whole earth festival. It was a Bart Simpson tract from Jews for Jesus and people were loving it… until they saw that it was about Jesus. At 7, I very much knew what I believed and why I believed it and to see several college students asking a 7-year-old that he could not be Jewish and believe in Jesus and then to see that 7-year-old bust out Isaiah 53, Jeremiah 31:31, Psalm 22, and explain how Y’shua, Jesus’ Hebrew name is the only way to God was a rare sight to see. I faced much rejection at a young age because of my faith in Y’shua. I had a lot of chutzpah (courage) throughout my life.
I have seen street ministry be greatly successful where people come to faith and I have seen street ministry become disastrous as violence ensues because pride creeped in and no one wants to lose. I have seen a paradigm shift in ministry in which old techniques have become more than less effective in communicating the Gospel. This gets me to my point I think. The commercial I made in which I play the part of a timid Christian who is afraid to share his faith is a very true scenario and I know so many people who fit that character.
In 2011, I created a group called the Network Evangelism Team (N.E.T.) because I saw both a need and an opportunity to reach people with the Gospel in the place they feel most comfortable. On their own turf, their homes, their favorite coffee shop, their social networks. We started out by messaging people and asking them who they think Jesus is, this question is direct and opens up the conversation with great intentionality. We used Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, or wherever our volunteers spent time online. We would invite people to talk more on the Jews for Jesus fan page through the forums. We were able to measure our reach through Facebook and we were able to reach over 1/2 a million people in a month. This year in 2013, we were given a greater opportunity through a ministry called “Need Him” to use their online one-on-one chat platform called “ECHO” which helps us focus much more on quality vs quantity.
The best part about ECHO is that those who come to chat are usually wanting to hear about Jesus. They are seeking answers and willing to hear you out. Every once in a while we get a TROLL come through but must of the people I have spoken with are people genuinely looking for Jesus.
If you think that sharing your faith is important but you feel like you don’t know all the answers you need to try out the NET. Stop wasting time on Facebook looking at funny cat memes and join our chat.