If you’ve been a believer for some time, it’s happened to you...a conversation with an unsaved friend begins to turn toward spiritual things. You see an opportunity to share what you believe and to tell him or her about God. But for whatever reason, you shy away from speaking up, and the moment passes. Or perhaps you’ve never shared your faith and are feeling burdened with the call of Jesus to reach a world that doesn’t know Him. Or maybe you’re a new Christian, excited about Jesus but unsure how to tell your friends about the hope you’ve found.
Regardless of where you are in your spiritual journey, two things are true for all Christians: We are all called to share our faith. We all struggle with actually doing it.
Whether fear of rejection or not knowing how to share our faith, almost every Christian struggles with evangelism at some point, despite the clear call to tell others about Jesus.
The good news is that God never calls us to something He doesn’t equip us to do! Every Christian is called to evangelize, and God gives every Christian the strength and ability to do so.
This resource is designed to help you break down the barriers that keep you from evangelizing and be prepared for the opportunities God puts in your life. From the purpose of evangelism to practical skills you can develop now, we are here to help you “go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel” – even if “the world” is your backyard!
Jack Wyrtzen, the Founder of Word of Life, said:
IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF EACH GENERATION TO REACH THEIR GENERATION FOR CHRIST. ” “
WHY SHOULD WE EVANGELIZE?
We know we’re called to evangelize – but why ?
Is it about “being a good witness” ?
Is it about numbers – measuring our success as Christians by how many people we reach?
It is about “converting” people – only feeling that we’ve made a difference when someone makes a decision for Christ?
While it’s certainly God’s heart for as many people to come to know Him as possible, we would argue that “saving” people is not actually the sole purpose of evangelism.
Our sole purpose in evangelizing should be to bring glory to God. We should not be concerned with winning favor for
ourselves nor should we share the Gospel out of guilt. We should love Jesus so much and have such a strong desire to follow His commands that our testimony comes out naturally in conversation. When that is our main concern, we will have already won because that act of love and obedience glorifies Him. It is only the Spirit that draws people to God; God wants to develop our character as we obey Him and use us as instruments of His work on earth. What a privilege!
That focus removes the pressure of evangelizing because we no longer have to be concerned for ourselves; we only have to be concerned with His glory.
Five Reasons Why We Don’t Evangelize If we are saved from sin for all eternity, it should be impossible not to share that message with other people. So why don’t we evangelize more often? While there can be countless reasons we back down from sharing our faith, here are five common reasons we’ve all experienced at some point in our lives: Fear of Rejection We have all been called to evangelize and, yet, we all struggle to share the Gospel. We are afraid if people reject our message, they are rejecting us. And in our culture today, being accepted feels critically important. All too often we allow our fear of being rejected to stop us from sharing the message of the Gospel. But fear is a natural feeling that even Jesus experienced when He was separated from the Father for the first time. The disciples also experienced fear because they knew the consequences they could face for sharing the Gospel. However, they overcame their fear. And we have to do the same. Fear itself is not a sin, but it becomes sinful when we allow it to keep us from doing all God wants us to do. If our fear of being rejected stops us from sharing the message of salvation, that may signal we are struggling with pride and indicates our goal is to be accepted. Jesus came to save us, knowing that most people would never accept Him. Because it wasn’t His goal, it shouldn’t be ours either. To prevent this fear of rejection from stopping us from evangelizing, we must come to the understanding when we share the Gospel message, it’s not about us; it’s only about Christ and the salvation He provides. Because of that, He is the only One who can be accepted or rejected. This allows us to move past our fear of rejection and trust Him. When we initiate a Gospel conversation, we must also remind ourselves it’s not about us. At the end of the conversation, all that matters is what the other person thinks about Christ and the Gospel. Even so, regardless of the outcome, the act of pushing past our fear of rejection glorifies Him. So if we keep our focus on Christ, we will have accomplished our goal. Shyness or Timidity Just as fear of being rejected can stop us from sharing the message of the Gospel, so can our fear of public speaking or the fact that some of us feel “shy.” If we feel shy or timid, we may argue we don’t have the spiritual gift of evangelism, and, therefore, excuse ourselves from evangelizing.
However, while not everyone is wired the same way, the Bible describes shyness as the fear of man, and there is no place for the fear of man in the Christian life. As with any other sin or temptation, it will often be present in our lives, but
we have to fight through it in spite of how we feel. That does not mean it will be easy to overcome timidity, but it will be fulfilling and a reflection of our spiritual maturity.
This doesn’t mean you have to change your personality to share the Gospel! It’s true there are some people who are naturally bold and outspoken, while others are quieter and gentle. God created all personalities, and He has uniquely equipped you to share the Gospel in the way people around you need to hear it. You can speak up in a way that’s authentic to you and how the Spirit is leading in the moment. We Lose Sight of Christ Our personal fears and characteristics are not the only reason we don’t talk about Jesus. The Bible is very clear that if we love God, we will keep His commands. We are unequivocally commanded all through Scripture to evangelize. If we are unwilling to trust God to help us share the message of His love with others, we need to consider whether we are really in love with Jesus. If we were, we would prove it through our actions. While that might be a difficult truth to come to terms with, know that you are not alone. Every Christian feels the tension between the flesh and the spirit; sometimes we desire what God desires and sometimes we want what we want. But we know, as 2 Corinthians 5:14 says, that Christ’s love compels us. When we experience His love and fall in love with Him in return, we are moved to share that with others. We Don’t Know How When we think of evangelists, we may conjure images of people walking the streets with megaphones. These people are not likely to bring many people to Christ and may discourage our efforts because we don’t want to evangelize in this way. We should keep in mind that although their method is unnatural, these people are still to be applauded. They, too, are aware their strategy isn’t effective, but they don’t know a better way. So out of courage and their love of God, they continue to do as they have been commanded. Rather than letting their method hold us back, we should be inspired by their courage and identify a better way to share the love of Jesus. We can do this by becoming students of the people, approaching them as friends, and preparing ourselves by practicing our testimony and spending time in prayer and God’s Word. We Don’t Want To Be Hypocritical Finally, we must refuse to allow our own sin to hold us back from evangelizing. Because none of us are perfect, we sometimes fear we will be perceived as hypocritical if we point out another person’s sinfulness and need to repent. But we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). This is all the more reason to share the Gospel, and it allows us to relate to the people with whom we’re speaking because we understand the need for a Savior. Without Him, the penalty for our sin is to be separated from Him forever. This should make talking to people about the love of Christ and the sacrifice He made to atone for our sins the most natural thing we can do. If we are not willing to tell others about the love and forgiveness we have experienced, it may indicate we are not concerned with others and their eternity. Therefore, we live selfishly and far away from God. If we are truly following Christ, He will make us into what we are called to become...fishers of men (Matthew 4:19). If we’re not following Christ, we can be sure we aren’t fishing. But conversely, if we’re not fishing, we have to ask ourselves if we’re really following. Because it’s what we’ve been called to do, it’s not only unnatural, but it’s impossible for any thriving disciple of Christ who If you’re struggling to evangelize, lean into Christ. Remember His love for you, and let Him compel you to action.
is on a sanctification journey not to be a fisher of men.
Who The “Super Evangelists” Are We all have spiritual gifts or areas in our lives we feel are more dominant. But even if we don’t believe we have been given the gift of evangelism, we have all been called to do it. Not being spiritually gifted in an area is not a reason or an excuse not to do what we have been commanded to do. For example, even if we don’t feel we have personally been given the gift of giving, we are still commanded to tithe. We are not exempt from the offering just because we don’t enjoy the act of giving. The spiritual gift of evangelism may be defined as the supernatural endowment of a desire to want to share the Gospel with everyone we meet. If we have this gift, we may or may not be called to be an evangelist. But, either way, we all need to do the work of evangelism because we have the heart of an evangelist. We have been saved from our sin for all eternity, so our desire should be to share that with other people. That means any time a door opens before us that would allow us to share the Gospel, we should walk through it whether we have the gift of evangelism or not. When a door opens for us to share the Gospel, we do not need to worry about the other person coming to a decision at that particular time. We may only be called to plant a seed in a person’s life that will lead to a decision at a much later time. But, by God’s grace, He will lead others to water and eventually reap the seeds we sow. Likewise, it could also be when we lead a person to Christ, many others have come before us to prepare that person for their decision. This takes so much pressure off us as we do the work of evangelism, because we don’t have to know the final outcome of our conversations. We only have to be faithful to do as we are called and keep our focus on bringing glory to God. So often we worry we’ll say or do the wrong thing. But if that’s our concern, it shows our own ego is getting in the way. God is God. He is in control of every conversation. If we truly love Him and we are always prepared to walk through the doors He opens for us, all we will have to do is joyfully gush His love. A Lifestyle Of Evangelism The work of evangelism does not belong to evangelists alone; it belongs to all of us as Christians. This does not mean we are all called to go into full-time ministry or become preachers, but rather we’re called to live a lifestyle of evangelism. We’re meant to love, build relationships and interact with people who believe differently than us, and to keep our eyes, ears and hearts tuned into opportunities to share the Gospel – whether through word or deed. It’s what the Bible means by being salt and light in the world...simply by walking with Christ and being in the lives of others. We are designed to be living, breathing embodiments of the Gospel.
Of course, living this out requires a deep understanding of our calling to share the Gospel as well as being spiritually prepared to love others, withstanding spiritual warfare and turning to God in prayer for guidance along the way.
Evangelism As An Act Of Love We have all been called to love, and the desire to share Christ with others is the most loving thing we can do. While some of us may do this by actually going out as evangelists, many more of us will evangelize through our day-to-day interactions. We can share the message of the Gospel by speaking a soft word over tea, providing Gospel hope as we drive a friend to the hospital, or by playing on a sports team and talking with our teammates after the game. Our desire to do the work of evangelism will come out of who we are, as a response to our appreciation and gratitude for
all God has done for us. We should never share the Gospel out of guilt, nor should we become prideful about the number of people saved because of our conversations. Our heart to obediently go out to share the message, not the number of people saved, will determine our success. Being Prepared For Battle When we do this work of winning hearts and minds for the Lord, we need to understand we are entering into a spiritual battle (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Because of this, we should always have a plan in mind and approach every conversation prayerfully. There is never a wrong time to pray, but prayer is an especially valuable and indispensable weapon when we are facing spiritual warfare. As we prepare and practice our testimony, praying for those we will encounter, spending time in the Word to equip ourselves and striving hard after people who have not yet accepted the Savior, we will bring glory to God. Without prayer, we won’t know whom God is specifically calling us to witness to or when the right time to initiate a Gospel conversation with them presents itself. Therefore, the more we pray and share the message of the Gospel, the better and more comfortable we will become as well. We will also begin to understand we are only called to be faithful; the Lord is responsible for saving people. Our responsibility is to bring glory to Him, which we will do if we have a willingness to try and the courage to fail. In the end, we’ll be able to recognize the beauty of loving people to Jesus. Building Bridges And Opening Doors You know you need to evangelize and you feel compelled to begin sharing the Gospel more in your day-to-day life, but you might be wondering where to begin. The good news is that God will bring opportunities to you; you just need to be prepared to receive them! Just like developing physical strength takes hard work and consistency, our “evangelistic” muscle also grows with time and intention. Here are six practical skills you can begin developing today, to help you be prepared when God brings someone into your life: Be A Student of Others As we look for opportunities to share the Gospel, we have to really hear and be a student of people. Allowing others to feel heard is a wonderful way to lavish love on them. It also keeps us focused on them and their needs, instead of what we think we need from the conversation. This approach allows people to open up and begin asking us questions. If we follow their lead, they will drive the conversation, and God will open our hearts to let us know when we can work the Gospel in and begin to share our testimonies. Genuinely Love and Serve People To reach this point, however, we have to start conversations in a human way and approach people as friends. We can do this by putting ourselves in the shoes of the people to whom we’re speaking and having a servant’s heart. We have a tendency to only see ourselves the way we want or hope to come across, but the way our words are actually perceived is so much more important than our desires. When we have a servant’s heart and view people as friends, we won’t approach them with the sole intent of giving them the Gospel. Instead, we will put them before ourselves, which is not just a loving posture, but a Godly one. Scripture tells us that three eternal gifts are faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13). When we reflect Christ in our lives, His love will act as the bridge to open the door to a conversation.
This is important to keep in mind because we do not need to concern ourselves with building bridges. In our culture, we are very focused on bridge building, but God is the One who does that. The people with whom we’re speaking will reveal the bridges God has prepared for us when we listen. We should also keep in mind that God wants to save people even more than they want to be saved, and certainly more than we want them to be saved. So all we have to do is just trust God to nudge the conversation in the way it should go, allow those bridges to be revealed and be prepared to share our testimony when the opportunity presents itself. If we are faithful and follow this model, our interactions will develop in a very natural way that prevents us from feeling the need to preach, persuade or argue, which is not a very effective way to bring people to the Lord. Although we are all called to evangelize, the mandate is not to force the Gospel on people who don’t want to hear it. The disciples were willing to die for the sake of the Gospel. But as bold as they were, there is not one place in Scripture where we see them forcing the Gospel on anyone who didn’t want to hear it. They were sensitive to the people around them. Pray For Opportunities One of the best ways to ensure we are being sensitive to others is to pray through every conversation. This allows the Holy Spirit to guide us as to whether or not the person is open to receiving what we have to say. We should pray not just that we remain sensitive to the person to whom we’re speaking but also that God would open their heart to our message. Scripture tells us we have not because we ask not (James 4:2-3). So, if we ask and the Holy Spirit doesn’t steer the conversation in a direction that would allow us to share our personal testimony, we should have no guilt in walking away from the conversation. When we love and trust in the Lord, we can be confident we are going out, fortified with faith in Christ, knowing that He will have our backs and it will go well. We have to be obedient to follow His command, whether we feel like it or not. If we do that and go forth in love, it can’t be a bad situation. Prepare Your Testimony We should always be ready to share our personal testimony. If we prepare and practice, working it into conversation will become the most natural thing in the world. As with anything else, when we first begin sharing our testimony, it will feel very awkward, and there will be a high risk of failure. But as we gain more experience and go through trial and error, it will start to feel more natural. And if we stay with it, we will find that all of the awkwardness and nerves were worth it when we bring glory to God by successfully and confidently sharing our message. Engage In Intentional, Authentic Conversation In addition to honing the way we share our testimony, we need to work to become better conversationalists. We will be better tools for the Lord when we can relate well to and speak naturally with others. This is another area where we may not feel spiritually gifted. For example, we may view others as having the “gift of gab” and feel we will never be able to interact as easily with people. But we can’t let this hold us back. As with any other area where we struggle, we will improve if we commit ourselves to the practice. Something that helps in this area is the realization that every conversation is a door, and the Holy Spirit has control over it whether or not it opens. If we’re wise, we will nudge gently to see if it is going to open. Sometimes the door will open right up and fly off the hinges! If it does, we can go ahead and walk through it. But other times we’ll find the door is locked tight. If the door doesn’t open on that particular day, we need to respect that. No one loves or has more power in the life of the person with whom we’re speaking than the Holy Spirit. His greatest desire is for every person to know Him forever. So if the door is not open, we do not need try to force the conversation further and risk destroying the relationship.
Regardless of whether the door opens or not, our motivation has to be love and obedience to share the Gospel as much as He’ll let us share it. That means if the door stops, we have to respect that. Our goal is always to show Jesus to people, and that might mean not sharing the Gospel or our testimony at a given time. We have to be sensitive to people and to the Holy Spirit. Carry God’s Word With You It is also important we have our sword at hand any time we enter a conversation where we may have the opportunity to evangelize. We can sharpen our sword by spending time in the Word and knowing it better. Having Scripture memorized and readily accessible allows us to better supplement and support our testimony and more effectively share the five Biblical aspects of a Gospel presentation...that God is holy; man is sinful; sin deserves punishment; Jesus took the punishment; and faith is necessary for salvation. As with martial arts, that doesn’t mean we should go around throwing karate chops (or our message at people unnaturally, as those with megaphones do). Instead, we should rehearse and practice our testimony and those five points so much that when an opportunity presents itself, our response is very natural...just as martial artists are prepared if they do, in fact, need to defend themselves. We should prepare ourselves for the best-case scenario in which every person every day wants to hear the Gospel from us. Many people won’t be open to hearing it, and they’ll make that clear to us. When that happens, we need to be okay with that and not feel guilty for not banging the Gospel over their head when they don’t want it. But if the door does open, our ignorance about what to say or our lack of preparation is not an excuse to forfeit the opportunity. Because we are commanded by Jesus to evangelize, we should be well prepared and rehearsed with a process in place that allows us to go into autopilot. This will help eliminate nerves and ensure we deliver a strong Gospel message. What To Do When They Accept Jesus A Gospel conversation should ultimately lead to a time when listeners accept or reject Christ. Through the conversation, if the people with whom we’re sharing are lost, they should know how to be saved if they choose. So our conversations should lead us to ask, “What will you do with Jesus?” Once the point of decision is reached, if our listeners choose to be saved at that time, they must be able to explain, true to Scripture, how they know Christ and personally accept His payment for their sin. Or, they must know they are without Him and be aware of how to be saved if they would choose to do so in the future. If listeners choose the former and can explain how they know Christ, the “sinner’s prayer” is a wonderful tool to confirm, verbalize and clarify what has taken place in their hearts through faith. It is important they know, however, it is faith, not the prayer, that saves them.
The sinner’s prayer can be prayed word for word, or we can guide those who have been saved through the prayer and allow them to put it in their own words. For instance, we can lead converts in the following way:
Tell God you’re a sinner. Ask for His forgiveness. Thank Him for accepting and loving you. Give thanks for giving His life by allowing His blood to be shed on the cross and conquering death so you can know Him better forever. Thank Him for allowing you into Heaven when you leave this life.
If new believers are not comfortable with this, we can also use the following prayer:
Dear Lord, I know I am a sinner and unworthy to be in Your presence. I do believe, however, that Jesus died on the cross, shedding His blood for my sin in my place and rose again from the dead. I accept Christ’s payment for my sin. Thank You for Your forgiveness and that I will know You better forever. Thank You for preparing a place for me to be with You in Heaven after this life. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen. After completing the sinner’s prayer, we should follow up with more questions that lead new believers to explain, in their own words, they now trust Christ and why they now believe that Heaven is their ultimate destination. If their hope is Biblically based, we should rejoice with them and share what the Word has to say about the life and destiny of those who truly believe. We can then obtain their contact information and refer them to a Bible-based church so they can continue in their spiritual growth. As they grow more deeply in their faith, it will be important for them to explore subjects like baptism, prayer, Bible study, obedience, faith, worship, service and more. As this growth takes place in new believers, we will see them developing their own hearts for evangelism and beginning to go out to win even more souls for the Savior as they strive to glorify God!
Appendix Just Walk Across the Room by Bill Hybels is an excellent resource for more information on evangelism.Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9
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