What does the word evangelism evoke in your emotions?
For many of us, whenever we hear the word “evangelism,” we shut down. Several
emotions tend to surface. Fear! “No way, I can’t do this. If I try to tell others about
Jesus, they will think I am narrow-minded and pushy.” How about guilt? Do you
ever feel guilty when the pastor says, “We all need to be out there sharing our
faith!” Immediately, our head drops. We look down at the floor, so we don’t see
the pastor glaring at us. We sneak out of the sanctuary as quickly as possible, so
no one signs us up to do door-to-door evangelism. Or perhaps you get fired up to
go tell your neighbors, but the first one you talk to says I don’t really like to talk
about religion and quickly returns to the inside of her home!
I will preface what I am about to say by stating that there definitely is a time and a
place to directly share the message of salvation. Some people are at a place in
their lives where they truly want help from God and are open to hear about how
they can begin a relationship with the Lord. It is important that all of us learn how
to use the Bible to lead someone to understand the gospel. The apostle Paul puts
it this way: “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct,
rebuke, and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.”
Now a word of encouragement that may ease your conscience of guilt and fear.
The best way to share to gospel is to live the gospel! Live out the lifestyle that
Jesus modeled to us. Servanthood. Sacrifice. Caring and love to all those around
you. Kindness. Forgiveness. As others experience the gospel through us, they will
be more open to hear the gospel from us!
Let me encourage you with another tip. The best way to share the gospel is to
openly share with others your personal encounters with God and His Word. Share
an encouraging word that you received in your Quiet Time with your neighbor.
Rather than preaching at your kids, be vulnerable about the lessons you are
learning from the Lord. Tell the grocery cashier that you like to pray when you
drive and ask her if there is something you can pray for her. Keep a few extra
Bibles and any books that have helped you in your walk to give to those with
whom you get in deeper conversations. It is important to have caring friendly
conversation with those around you. Pay them a compliment. Talk about anything
that it seems you may have in common. This opens doors to deeper conversations
later. That makes it easier to bring up spiritual conversation without them feeling
you are pushing something on them.
Admittedly, sometimes people will still shut you down. In all honesty, I rarely have
this happen. Many are very happy to share a prayer request with you. Just don’t
forget to pray for them after you leave them. I try to do this right away, so I don’t
forget. Then when you see them again, you can tell them you prayed and ask
them for an update. I prayed for my neighbor’s sister who was hospitalized for
months from Covid-19. Every time I saw him, he would update me. We celebrated
the day she came home from the hospital. At that time, I gave him a copy of a
book I wrote. He said he was turned off by religion as a child, but yet, he was
open to a conversation with me about Jesus. Those four months of praying for his
sister helped him see that my faith was genuine and caring.
My last suggestion is to not pack out your life so much with scheduled activities
that you never have time for an unexpected moment to talk with someone about
Jesus. If you are a very scheduled person, then add more time into the events of
your day to allow for spiritual conversations and helping someone in need.
Instead of waiting until ten minutes before you leave to walk your dog, allow
twenty minutes so you can chat with any neighbors you see. A schedule with
some wiggle room will allow you to help a person in need. Perhaps our mentality
should be to expect the unexpected. Pray each day that the Lord will orchestrate
“Jesus-moments” when you can demonstrate the love of Christ in word and deed
to someone. I am not talking about scheduled ministry moments, but unplanned
times where God gives you an opportunity to touch the heart of another with His
Gospel moments come as we rely on the Holy Spirit to lead us through our