Sharing Christ in a winsome way: The 3 Ps of evangelism
Eugene Tan // September 21, 2019, 12:32 am
At some point in our Christian walk, we may find a considerable disparity between our conviction of evangelism’s importance and whether those convictions actually turn into action.
I often found myself lost for words when it came to evangelism. What do I say? How do I manoeuvre the conversation so that I get to talk about Christ? How do I continue if my friend wants to know more?
And then there were times I just kept getting rejected. Sometimes people don’t want to listen because they are uninterested. But through struggles like these, God has taught me three things about effective evangelism.
Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians: “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death” (Philippians 1:20).
And later in verses 27 and 28b: “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.”
We can have hope because no matter the response to our evangelism, God works for His name’s sake.
In human terms, life was not fair for Paul. He was giving his life to preaching the gospel, yet he was imprisoned and facing a trial that would possibly cost him his life. But he took heart in God’s character. He wasn’t looking for God to deliver him from prison because he understood that God works in His wisdom, in trial and in triumph.
In the same way, the work of evangelism won’t always be blue skies and sunshine. We may face opposition and rejection. Our relationships may sour. But that should not stop us from evangelising. As disciples of Christ we are not called to change hearts, but to plant seeds and allow God to change the hearts of those we speak to.
We can have hope because no matter the response to our evangelism, God works for His name’s sake. He will work things out far beyond our limited minds can comprehend as a good and sovereign God who cares about his people.
2. PERSONAL TESTIMONY
It is easy to start speaking “Christianese” when we try to tell others about Jesus. When we start to talk about sin, Jesus Christ, the Cross, the resurrection and other things from 2,000 years ago, people may start to question, “How is this even applicable to me? How do I even know it’s even real?” In other cases, religious jargon just puts people off.
I have found no better way to share the good news of Christ than to tell my story: how God is real to me, how He has worked in my life and why He is all-important.
The book of Luke records the healing of the demon-possessed man. After the miracle took place, Jesus sent him away saying, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told the town how much Jesus had done for him (Luke 8:39).
In fact, the man was evangelising! We can do the same today.
God has given each one of us a different story to share, and when we share intimate memories of our walk with Jesus, we paint a picture to them of how a relationship with true love can be like for themselves. We paint a picture of how Christianity can be relevant for them today. We paint a picture of how life can have so much meaning and purpose.
Moreover, sharing the stories also serve to remind ourselves of how God has been good to us, strengthening our own faith in the process.
Prayer is important. In the work of evangelism, we are dealing with spiritual things.
The reason for hard hearts and the lack of response to the message of the gospel could very well be due to opposition from the enemy. That is why it is important to pray without ceasing, against every work of the enemy that is hindering the work of evangelism.
We have to pray for wisdom from God to speak the right words at the right time to the right people. We have to pray that we may be in tune with God’s heart and in step with the Spirit.
With prayer, we take action. 1 Samuel 14 was a passage God used to teach me about the importance of partnering prayer with action in evangelism. In this passage, Jonathan and his armour-bearer were crossing over into Philistine territory, in faith that God was going to use them to strike the enemy down.
“Jonathan said to his young armour-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.”” (1 Samuel 14:6)
Jonathan could have just prayed that God would rain down fire on the Philistines and destroy them. But he didn’t. Perhaps Jonathan knew that the battle was God’s – but God would use him to fight. He made sure his sword was sharp and trusted God would use him to strike the Philistines down.
This is why we partner prayer and action on the ground. When we pray, we deal with the spiritual. When we take action, we deal with the physical. When we put both together – we see a great work of God.
These three pointers are just a little of what God has been teaching me about evangelism. I believe there is so much more He will reveal to us about it if we let Him. Holy Spirit, would you open our hearts to receive what you have in store. Let us not miss the point – let us do God’s work!
This article was first published on Eugene’s blog and is republished with permission.
Looking for somewhere to bring your friends to this Christmas so that they can hear the Gospel message in fresh, new ways? See our guide on the Best events and places to visit this Christmas 2019!
THINK + TALK
- When was the last time you shared the gospel? How did it go?
- Which of the three Ps do you most need to exercise?
- What is your personal testimony that you can share with others?