Brief evangelism encounter leads to salvation
Amid the hustle of serving customers, restaurant servers have little time for small talk, so lengthy conversations with patrons are rarely possible. However, Barry McCarty, professor of preaching and rhetoric at Southwestern Seminary, has found that even in these brief interactions with his servers, there is still an opportunity to share the Gospel and plant a seed.
On April 13, McCarty pulled up to the drive-through window of a local Long John Silver’s fast-food restaurant and was greeted by a familiar face. The employee, Demetrius, immediately recognized McCarty and said, “I read that book you gave me!”
Just two months prior, McCarty visited that same restaurant and was served by Demetrius. With a long line of other customers, McCarty only had about a minute with Demetrius.
McCarty asked Demetrius if he was saved; Demetrius replied that he was unsure. McCarty then gave him a Pocket Testament League copy of the Gospel of John, which also contained a written explanation of the plan of salvation, and he encouraged Demetrius to read it.
“The best news I could give him was that God loves him and sent His son to die for his sins,” McCarty says. “The whole story is right in there.”
In the months since, Demetrius read the book in its entirety. When McCarty asked him if he believed what he read, Demetrius responded, “Oh, yes. I believed. I have trusted in Christ.”
Amazed that a seemingly small and simple interaction had resulted in the salvation of Demetrius, McCarty says he was yet again reminded of the value in making the most of even small moments. “You may only have a few seconds with somebody in a fast-food drive-through, and you know it’s not your persuasive ability or because you are a great evangelist,” McCarty explains. “It is just that you put the Gospel in their hands and the Gospel did its work and won them to Christ.”
For the past two years, McCarty has carried with him at least one pocket-sized copy of John at all times. Since then, he has had the opportunity to plant many Gospel seeds.
He had previously felt the frustration of having an inadequate amount of time to engage in Gospel conversations with some people. With a tool small enough to carry in his pocket, he says no interaction is wasted because those he encounters are left with the Good News and a valuable resource to take home.
“Whether I can have a long conversation or whether I can just plant a seed in a few seconds, I am leaving them with the Gospel of John,” McCarty says. “There have been several times that I have come back months later and discovered that that person has accepted Christ because the Holy Spirit spoke to them out of the Gospel.”
McCarty’s interaction with Demetrius, he explains, is evidence of the power of the Gospel when believers are obedient in sharing. “You don’t have to be eloquent and you don’t have to do a picture-perfect job of presenting it as long as you get the Gospel in their hands,” he says.
“What have you got to lose? Someone you might give a Gospel to might have everything to gain.”