Taking the Fear and Mystery Out of Evangelism
July 22, 2019
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Sharing your faith isn’t as complicated or scary as we tend to make it.
The word evangelism can conjure up a variety of images and thoughts, ranging from world missions to flashy televangelists. Many faithful church members would answer, “Evangelism? Oh, that’s something our preacher does on Sunday morning.” Well, yes . . . and no.
Many years ago, I heard one of the greatest definitions of evangelism, and to this day it has stuck with me:
“Evangelism is nothing more than mouth-to-ear resuscitation!”
What a great yet simple description. The Gospel of Jesus comes from your mouth to someone else’s ear—and brings life to a spirit who, without Christ, is dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1).
With typical mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or CPR, you don’t have to be a doctor or medical expert to administer it. Anyone can do it with the proper training. It’s the same with sharing the Gospel! You don’t have to be a preacher or possess a master’s degree from a Bible college. Any believer can share the Good News—effectively—with the proper training.
I’ve written a book called Compelled: The Irresistible Call to Share Your Faith, to reassure you that evangelism doesn’t have to be complicated or intimidating—and you can participate in it every single day of your life once you have the right tools, motivation, and game plan. In Compelled, I also share inspiring stories of men and women, young and old, who have responded obediently to the biblical command to share the Good News (Matthew 28:19; Jude3; 1 Peter 3:15). After all, leading another person to a saving relationship in Jesus Christ is one of the most rewarding experiences a Christian can have.
Think about where you were and who you were before you met Jesus. Many of us were going through life, fulfilling our own selfish desires and completely unconcerned about spiritual matters. And all of a sudden, God—who is loving beyond our wildest imagination—graciously places eternal salvation in our hands. Most likely, He used another person to bring us this life-changing message. What do we do next with this incredible gift? Do we hand it to the next person who needs it, or do we hold on to it? Are we so overcome with joy and gratitude that we can’t help but share it with others, or do we keep it to ourselves?
According to a recent Barna study, only 64 percent of Christian respondents agreed with the statement “Every Christian has the responsibility to share their faith,” compared to 89 percent of Christians just 25 years ago. What has changed? Sadly, the current culture of secularism and relativism has influenced some believers to become apathetic toward the spiritual needs of others, and it has intimidated others into staying quiet. What hasn’t changed is that there are people all around us who are lonely and broken. There are people who are depressed, hurting, and hopeless. There are people who are in bondage to sin and need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As Romans 10:14 puts it, “How can people have faith in the Lord and ask him to save them, if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them?”
So, how do we become burdened for the lost and to muster the courage to tell them about what Christ has done for our souls? We start by studying God’s Word to discover the heart of Jesus. We walk closely with Jesus and allow Him to open our eyes to see people as He does. In Matthew 9:35–36, we get a glimpse into how Jesus viewed mankind:
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them.
Now, let’s be honest. Seeing huge crowds of people usually doesn’t spark compassion within us. If you are like me—living in a large, metropolitan community like Los Angeles, California—you are constantly surrounded by large numbers of people. Sitting on the freeway with thousands of cars crawling in front of you usually produces more frustration than compassion!
We’re more likely to think, I wish these people would get out of my way! And not, Gee, I wish I could tell all these people how much Jesus loves them!
But when we examine what Jesus taught and how He lived (1 John 2:5–6), we will see people as He sees them—even large crowds of people. For the Christian, the greater number of people we encounter ought to equal greater compassion and awareness of the deep, spiritual needs of mankind. We should become compelled to tell them about the hope we have found in Jesus.
You have a once-in-lifetime opportunity to change someone’s life with the Gospel. No one is out of God’s reach, and He uses Christ followers like you to carry His message of truth. What an incredible honor! Starting today, may you look around and truly see those around you, asking the Lord for the courage and the opportunity to share the Good News with them.