When you hear the phrases “doing evangelism” or “sharing the Gospel,” what is your reaction? Maybe something like, “Oh, that is too scary,” or “Only missionaries and evangelists do that,” or “That’s serious stuff.”
Well, it is serious … seriously important, but that doesn’t mean it is too difficult for the average Christian to do. We as followers of Jesus are called to share the Gospel with our neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family. Most of us are aware of that, but how do we do it? We want to help! Let’s get started.
Prayer should be the first step in all that we do as children of God. Prayer give us insight, courage, and wisdom because God already knows where we need to be, who we need to talk to, and what we need to say.
Maybe you have a friend who is far from God and you’ve mentioned Jesus before and they rebuffed your attempt to share the Gospel. Ask God for help. Ask God to guide you in what to say and when to say it. God can also open your eyes to opportunities you may not even see.
Prayer is not just a one-time thing that we do, but it should be a constant conversation between you and God. Pray before you speak with that friend or stranger, during your conversation, and after. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says to “pray without ceasing.” The Good News message cannot transform a soul without the work of the Holy Spirit.
Give it to God, listen for his voice, and then obey.
Starting the conversation can be the most difficult step, but it is also the most essential. How often do you cross paths with strangers daily and never say a word to them? At the grocery store? Drive thru? Gas station? How about in those silent elevators? Sometimes, all it takes is a friendly “hello” and someone is sharing their life story with you. Some people are just waiting for someone to actually notice them and begin a conversation.
As Christians, we are called to be a peculiar and compassionate people. The love of God should be so prominent in our lives that we stand out like a glowing star on top of a Christmas tree. It is not so much our “hello” that makes a person want to open up to the Good News message, but the joy, compassion, and confidence which our “hello” carries.
The perfect example of engaging with an individual is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus began a conversation with the unlikely woman at the well and from that she was transformed and become one of the most powerful evangelists. We are called to step outside of our comfort zone and engage people in conversation, even if it is the last person we desire to speak with.
Theodore Roosevelt once said “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” One of the best ways to show someone you really care is to take the time to sincerely listen to their story. Everyone has a story, and understanding what someone is going through helps you be wise about how to best present the Gospel to them.
The Bible says that Jesus was a friend of sinners. He didn’t talk over them or try and demonstrate his prowess as the savior of humanity. He listened before he spoke. He showed us what it means to truly be a friend of sinners … even unto death.
After praying, make the person comfortable, and listen to them intently. They then will be more likely to hear the message you have to share with them. What needs did you hear when you were listening to their story? Do they need a friend? What about healing? Maybe joy? Truly understand who they are, have compassion, pray with them, and then share with them that God is everything they need. He is a friend. He is the great physician. He is joy. He is love.
Also, as his ambassador, you can be those things for the people you share with as well. You don’t have to be a trained expert in evangelism to lead someone to Christ. You just need the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and passion for the lost and hurting. Evangelism is not as intimidating as it may seem, it is really just an overflow of God’s love in us.
“When a man is filled with the Word of God you cannot keep him still, if a man has got the Word, he must speak or die.” ~Dwight L. Moody