If you’ve been following us on Instagram, you’d know we recently asked for reasons why folks find it hard to evangelise or share the Gospel.
To sum up the responses: It looks like many of us face challenges in sharing the gospel. I think one of the reasons for that is because evangelism – or sharing the Gospel – has become something of a dirty word in our day.
We don’t like imposing our own views on others, we don’t want to be pushy and we don’t want all our friends to think that we’re just trying to “convert” them.
A lot of us genuinely would love to tell more people about the reason for our hope, but sometimes we just don’t have the words or the courage to say what we want to.
There might be a lot of stuff in the way that’s complicating or making the act of sharing Jesus seem pretty daunting. So let’s take a step back and look at evangelism again – it’s not that scary when we work it out together.
3 STEPS TO MAKE EVANGELISM LESS SCARY
1. Reflect on who God is to you
Before we can expect to be able to tell someone about who God is, we must know who God is to us.
Why is God so good?
Do we still remember that the God who parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14) is on our side? Have we encountered the God of Psalm 51, and felt the sweet kindness of His forgiveness? Do we know what our own lives were like before we met God (1 Peter 2:10)?
The knowledge that Jesus has reconciled us to God the Father is something to be cherished. Because forgiveness from God doesn’t mean a lot if we don’t know the weight of sin, and the friendship of God doesn’t mean a lot to someone who doesn’t see the need for it.
We need to keep at the forefront of our minds what salvation is worth.
And we must never forget just how dead in sin we were before He saved us, and how our lives have been changed forevermore (Psalm 103:2-5).
With remembrance of who God is and what He has done for us, this sense of gratitude not only allays our fears but gives us fresh confidence to tell someone else about His goodness.
2. Pray and surrender your difficulties in evangelising
First, we need to go to God to make an exchange. This exchange involves trading our apathy for His compassion, and our fears for His encouragement. When we surrender in the place of prayer, something changes in our world.
What is it we feel that makes us dull the call to evangelism? The truth is that none of these feelings nullify the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19).
We need to surrender the fears and unbiblical beliefs we are holding on to. Thoughts and feelings like, “Evangelism is too difficult”, “I’m not an evangelist”, or “I can’t say it right” – keep us stuck and unproductive.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15)
Then we have to be prepared. We need to know the reason for the hope that we have, to be able to communicate it to those around us. If we prepared our personal testimony with the same diligence we would prepare for a presentation or job interview, we’d be much more confident in sharing the gospel.
3. Find role models who live out evangelism
The easiest way to get your feet wet is to join someone who’s already in the water. If we want to get better at evangelism, follow folks who already live with evangelism as a lifestyle.
Look for such people, and hang out with them. By witnessing how someone else partners with God to share His love, we’ll come to see that evangelism is a mixture of love, skill and willingness.
“God, you love me, and you love this person. Tell me what you’re doing in their life,” that was how my friend Daniel would ask God for a word of encouragement for the people he wanted to reach out to.
I followed Daniel one day during lunch to ask him about his experiences. As I walked back to our table with 2 cups of sugarcane juice, I looked for Daniel but almost missed him. He was praying for a man with an erhu slung over his shoulders — Daniel’s hand was over the man’s knees.
I hurried over to see how I could help. I had met Daniel that day with the intention of hearing about his experience with healing and outreach, but I hadn’t actually expected to be a part of it. There we were, at a hawker centre I visit almost every week, yet I had never once approached someone like that.
The busker, a man in his 70s, approached us as we were about to leave, and gave his knee a light shake. In Mandarin, he exclaimed: “I do feel much better!”
I was as surprised as the man who was healed! That encounter opened up an opportunity for us share the gospel with him. And when we asked if he would like to believe in Jesus – he simply said yes.
We cannot answer on behalf for someone, but the conversation always begins with willingness – our willingness to ask if they would like to listen.
So if we want to get into a lifestyle of evangelism, consider looking for someone who’s already doing that and follow their example. Especially when we’re starting out in evangelism, it can be helpful to lean on someone’s boldness and willingness, and see how they do it.
If we’re always thinking about the risks, the reactions, the rejections… we’ll never open our mouths to share the Gospel that we believe in.
God is always reaching out to people, wanting to make His love known to them. When we talk to someone about His goodness, we’re joining that process to make His love known.
When we open ourselves up to the idea that, at the end of the day, we’re just sharing about our hope – we’ll see that it’s not that scary after all. Especially after we’ve given careful thought to the reasons why we follow Christ.
Why do you place your hope in God? Develop that thought further, prepare your words to be delivered with gentleness and respect, and you might just find yourself ready to share when someone asks.