The tattooed evangelist

By Jessica Brodie

He was a big, burly guy, at least twice my size, and he was there to tow my broken-down car away. As I gauged him, a little thread of intimidation began to snake up my spine.

Then I noticed a thorny crown in the shape of an ichthys, a symbol of the Christian fish, along with the words “John 3:16” tattooed on his well-muscled forearm, and my intimidation began to fade. He was no longer a threat but my Christian brother. We struck up a conversation, and when I told him I liked his tattoo he said it was an amazing evangelism tool.

“Sometimes I’m towing, well—let’s say they’re not the ‘best sort’ of people and not in the ‘best sort’ of situations,” he said, “and it’s a great conversation-starter. A lot of times they’re there in my truck getting their car towed because of some issue with the cops or something, and we end up having a talk about faith in Jesus even when things are bad.”

It’s been days now, and I’m still thinking about our conversation—not only how I completely misjudged my fellow human, but how many really insightful and eclectic tools we can use to help share the Gospel with other people.

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” Jesus instructs us in Matthew 28:19 (CEB).

Notice Jesus doesn’t specify how we are to do this—we’re not limited to our words. Sure, sometimes people go door-to-door telling people about Jesus. Sometimes people are called to be pastors or Sunday school teachers, Christian education leaders in children’s ministry or writers and speakers, like me.

But sometimes sharing the Gospel has absolutely nothing to do with the words that come out of our mouths but the way we live our lives. It might be the guy in the “Jesus saves” baseball cap serving lunch at the soup kitchen, the lady in the “I run on Jesus and coffee” T-shirt letting the stranger go ahead of her in line at Walmart, the older woman in the drive-thru with a Christian bumper sticker on her SUV paying for the order of the person behind her, or the football player with John 3:16 written on his face.

There are so many ways that we can introduce others to Jesus. But the important thing is that we do it. And when we are given an opportunity to share the Gospel, when that conversation naturally comes up, that we take a minute (or an hour) and share the Good News in our lives so that others might have the chance to be equally blessed.

May God go with you, my friend, whatever way you go and spread the Gospel among all nations—thorny crown and Gospel tattoo or any other way.

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