The “E” word. Maybe you know what I’m talking about. That word that sometimes makes Christians cringe or instantly makes us sweat. Or maybe that’s just me. A simple word that bears a heavy weight. How the heck do we do it and do it well? Do we need to do it? It’s intimidating at times. It’s difficult. It can be extremely awkward.
I am talking about…drumroll please…evangelism. (cue the cringe!)
I will be the last person to tell you that I share the Gospel every single time there is an opportunity to and that I am bold in my sharing. I become sweaty and stutter and my mind goes blank. So hey, this is a real article from a person who understands the urgency but difficulty of this topic. In these next few paragraphs, my desire is nothing more than to challenge you and encourage you as you read along. Read these next few paragraphs with honest reflection, prayer, and grace, because that is exactly what I am doing as I write them.
Let’s first shed some light on a few reasons why we don’t share the Gospel:
We are scared.
We don’t think we have enough “Bible knowledge”.
We lack compassion.
Can you relate to any of the three? I sure can. However, I must say (with love) these are terrible excuses that we have conjured up for why some of us do not share the Gospel. I know that we may fear ruining friendships, embarrassing ourselves, or rejection. We may be fearful of stepping over some kind line or boundary, but God has a lot to say about fear. God told us in His Word that He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). The God of the universe has given us a spirit of power, the SAME power that allowed Jesus to hop up out of the grave. COME ON! Can I get an amen!? This truth should rock us and give us confidence that we are not alone when we want to share the Gospel with someone and that we have no reason to be afraid of anything or anyone! Do you trust that this verse is true, and more specifically, true for you?
Maybe we don’t think we know the Bible well enough to share with someone. I’ve been there. When I worked overseas, people who had never heard the Gospel before asked me some really difficult questions and often times my “I really don’t know” answer felt beyond inadequate. Take heart, my friends. God did not command us to share the Gospel perfectly! But He did command us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). How do we do that when we are sitting on the sidelines? God gave us His Holy Word so that we could get to know His heart and Truth. If you don’t think you know enough “Bible knowledge”, then dare I say get to know the Bible. Dive in and discover little nuggets of truth you can use when you share with someone. Spend time getting to know the heart of God and I guarantee you that His heart and desires, with prayer, will become yours too.
Or, maybe you don’t share the Gospel because you simply lack compassion. You don’t see people as lost souls heading straight to an eternity separated from God. You see them just as the rest of the world sees them. You don’t remember what it felt like when you had no hope. When you were heading straight to hell and God came and opened your heart to see Him for who He really is and the free gift He was offering. I heard the Gospel for the first time through a few women who were willing to share it with me. God did not speak audibly to me or send signs that I should be a Christian. He brought women in my life who saw me as someone in need of hope and a Savior.
I have seen these three reasons and many more in my own life, but at the same time I have seen God’s awesome grace too. I have seen my fumbled up explanations, by God’s grace, get through to someone’s heart. I have seen fear hold me back and then God so graciously provided another opportunity. I have seen my “I really don’t know” turn into the both of us reading God’s Word together to figure it out. How cool is it that God so graciously allows us to be a part of His redemptive work in the world, even when we stink at it?
Some practical tips:
- Build relationships and be intentional. Be real about who you are and love and serve those you are building a relationship with. Don’t treat people as projects. Be genuine and the opportunities to share will follow.
- Pray. Pray for your heart. Pray for compassion and a sense of urgency. Pray for the world, your neighbors, coworkers, family. Pray for opportunities. Pray for wisdom and the words to say when they need to be said.
- Be genuine. As I said before, be authentic. Don’t hide struggles or pretend to be happy all the time. Nonbelievers need to see that you aren’t perfect, and that Jesus accepts you and will continue to grow you.
- Don’t force anything. Pray for opportunities, but don’t force sharing the Gospel. It won’t feel meaningful or authentic.
- Share your testimony. One easy way to share the Gospel is being willing to share your testimony with those you are building a relationship with and loving on. Sharing what God has done in your life is a sweet way to show someone the heart of God.
My challenge is simply this: Jesus wasn’t a “love God and that’s it” kind of guy. The greatest commandment in Scripture states that we are to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus loved God and was completely obedient to Him. So, He went out and told others about His Father. He fed people, He healed people, He loved people. If we aren’t following the example Jesus set, then what are we doing?