Written by Beth Brown | DRIME Staff Member
Things are changing in the DRIME Vancouver world! Jamie, who has been leading the DRIME Vancouver team for the past 4 years, is transitioning to a new staff role, and we are thrilled to announce that our very own Sheldon Francescini is taking on the role!
Today, we want to let you listen in on a conversation that I had with Sheldon to hear all about how he’s feeling about taking on this new role. Keep reading to find out what he’s excited about, what he’s nervous about, and for some fantastic evangelism advice!
Beth: What year did you join DRIME?
Sheldon: I joined in the fall of 2010.
B: When you joined DRIME, did you think you would be involved for a long time?
S: I knew I liked evangelism, so when I heard about DRIME, I thought I would try it out. I definitely didn’t think I’d be involved 8 years later! (Laughs)
B: Tell me a bit about your journey joining DRIME.
S: God has given me a big heart for people. I want to give people an experience of being cared for and listened to, just as I was when I was a hurting, lonely high schooler, wondering if the God my parents talked about was real. During that pivotal season, God used peers and times of worship and prayer to teach me His heart, to build my life on the Solid Rock, and to honour everyone as being made in the image of God. In my time with YWAM (2010), I had my first experience of evangelism (on the streets of San Francisco, giving out free hot chocolate), and while I initially was terrified by it, I came to love the thrill of talking to and praying with people, as I saw God work powerfully. With a newfound love of evangelism (and using my many years of theater training), I joined DRIME, going on to serve as a member and volunteer leader in Vancouver, as well as being a part of 5 mission trips. It’s brought me such life, joy, and community!
B: How do you see DRIME work on the streets?
S: DRIME is born out of a problem we all face: people need to hear the gospel to be saved, but it’s hard to have deep conversations and to talk about spiritual things. Everyone still has deep questions about meaning, identity, and spirituality, but more and more people aren’t going to church for the answers, and many are left feeling lonely, isolated, anxious or depressed.
When we present our gospel-centered dramas downtown, it draws people to us, and creates a space where people can connect deeply. Our dramas are set to music, and their artistic and emotional power cuts through intellectual barriers, allowing people to see the gospel in a personal way. Sometimes people point out a character in our dramas that they relate to, and they get to see Jesus embrace and die on the cross for that character, effectively placing them into the gospel story. I’ve seen how effective this is, as I’ve been blessed to have many deep, evangelistic conversations with people watching our dramas: I’ve seen several people accept Christ, and hundreds and hundreds of people see and hear the gospel through our dramas and 1-1 conversations!
B: What does being the DRIME Vancouver Team Leader look like for you?
S: As Vancouver Team Leader, I will be working for DRIME 15 hours/week (allowing me to also also continue working part-time as a Certified Music Therapist) and be in charge of recruiting, mentoring new volunteer leaders, admin work, and providing guidance and vision for the team while serving side by side in training and outreach.
B: As you step into this new role, what are you most excited about?
S: I’m excited about recruiting. I really love connecting with people and I’m excited about challenging & encouraging people to step outside their comfort zones and to see how God will work with and through them to transform them as they trust in him and try something new.
B: What are you most nervous about?
S: One thing that I want to try to do is to engage more churches. I would like to see churches trained more in evangelism and get them out of their 4 walls. Churches can be quite insular, focusing on their own programs and services, so I’m a bit nervous about making these connections. I also want to make sure that in this, like in everything else, I don’t equate my value to how well something is going.
B: You have been offered this role three times, what made you say yes this time?
S: A few things came together this time around. For a while, God has been putting it on my heart to have a healthy balance in life. I needed to find some other kind of work to do on top of my music therapy work. When I was in my YWAM training school, I felt like God really put missions on my heart, but I wasn’t sure what that was going to look like. Doing the music therapy program gave me some good skills that I can use in the profession and out of it. When Jamie asked me, I felt something that I often feel, excitement and also fear. God has made us the way that he has so that we can do whatever thing he has set up for us. When it came to saying yes this time, I felt excited, but I knew that I couldn’t do this by myself. God would need to give me the strength to do it.
B: If you could give advice to someone who is scared to do evangelism or doesn’t know how to get started, what would it be?
S: You’ll never feel completely ready for evangelism – just go and do it! Just pray to God, that he would help you and that he would change people’s hearts. Even if we have read every book on evangelism and gone to every conference on apologetics, it is ultimately God who changes people. Make an effort – learning tools is really valuable and can give you confidence, but you’ll never know everything.
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