When people are excited about something, they will naturally talk about it. If someone likes a movie or a store they will tell others about it effortlessly. It does not take most guys a long time to tell you who their favorite sports team is because we are genuinely passionate about the subject. When it comes to the subject of sharing the gospel, most times Christians are less enthusiastic about sharing it with others. There are many different reasons why we are apprehensive about sharing our faith with others.
Maybe you have an introvert personality and talking with people in public gives you the heebie-jeebies. Or perhaps, you’ve tried to be evangelistic before and it didn’t work, no one received your invitations warmly or followed through. Worse yet, maybe your evangelistic attempts ended in an argument and harsh disagreement and led to damaged relationships with family friends.
Whatever your reasons may be for slacking off in evangelism or being hesitant about sharing the gospel, let me remind you that the Bible still tells Christians to go: “And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation'” (Mk 16:15). Let me offer a few suggestions for ways we can remain motivated and consistent in our evangelistic efforts.
Remember the Goal of Evangelism
The goal of evangelism is to share the good news of Jesus with those outside of Christ or to bring those back to Jesus who have gone astray. The power to save humanity is in the gospel, not in our clever arguments or in our well thought out evangelism pamphlets (Rom 1:16). Jesus never told his disciples they were responsible for the way the message was received, but they were responsible for what they did with the message.
We are not charged with converting anyone, though we would like to convert everyone, we are told to simply share the news. Maybe, we have made evangelism harder than it has to be. We can all invite someone to worship or ask someone if they would be interested in a Bible study, that’s not beyond the skill set of any one of us.
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When we focus on results more than we do on doing what Jesus said, we may become discouraged. As much as we want to succeed, Jesus never told his disciples to be successful, he said be faithful (Rev 2:10). We are faithful when we do what he has said regardless of how it is received. The gospel is good news, it is easy to share news that is good. Jesus died, rose, and saves today. Let us not complicate this. Keep the goal before you.
Study the Doctrine of Hell
I know this won’t be a popular point, but it needs to be said. We cannot forget the reality that those who die outside of Christ are not just “on the wrong team,” but enemies of God who go to an eternal hell (2 Thes 1:7-9). It brings no joy to my heart to write these words, but they are still true. This is not some guilt trip about the eternal destiny of sinners to guilt Christians into evangelism, it is a gut-check to help us realize everyone we meet daily is heading either to heaven or hell (Mt. 7:13-14).
Study what the Bible teaches about hell. Read the passages that mention the reality of hell, the duration of hell, and most importantly how humanity can avoid it. When we study this biblical thought, it will encourage us to point as many people as we can in the other direction. Jesus preached about hell more than anyone else in the Bible because he wants everone to avoid it.
Remember Where You Came From
The Bible says we should forget the past or else it may blind our view of what’s ahead (Phil 3:12-14). However, sometimes the past can be of great help in our going forward. When Jesus healed people in the gospels, sometimes he would tell them not to tell anybody and they couldn’t help but tell everybody (Mk 1:44-45; 7:32-36). The people Jesus healed were keenly aware of their condition before they encountered him and they were overjoyed with the good news that they were healed. Have we taken inventory of our condition prior to Jesus coming into our lives through the gospel? The more we see ourselves as good little boys and girls who really weren’t so bad, the less we will be impressed with what the Jesus has done for us through the gospel.
Paul had a great handle on his past and what Jesus did for him in turning him from sinner to saint, and I believe this is what propelled him to be such a great evangelist. Just remember that you were lost and Jesus’ grace has saved you, and this will encourage you to share this good news with others (Eph 2:8-9). Remind yourself of how far you were from God and if he could save you, he can save anyone (1 Tim 1:12-16). We may see people and think they are so bad and there’s no hope for them, but the truth is there is no one so bad that God cannot save them.
Pray for Courage and Act on It
You may really want to talk with a classmate or co-worker about the Bible and the need for salvation but you just can’t get past your fears or anxiety. You may be saying to yourself: “Will I know all the answers?” “what will they think of me?” or “what if I’m rejected?” Let me assure you that being nervous about evangelism is not anything new, in fact, you’re in good company. We sometimes read the Bible and think the disciples of the first century were fearless and never had any reservations about sharing their faith. Read what Paul says about his need for boldness concerning evangelism:
[pray] and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak (Eph 6:19-20).
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak (Col 4:2-4).
Paul wanted Christians to pray for him that he would be bold and say things like he should. Even Paul wrestled with being nervous and needed to be bold. Include in your prayers a request for God to grant you boldness in your daily walk to share the gospel and present you with opportunities to share your faith. When the opportunities are granted, do your best and leave the rest to God.
Evangelism is important, souls hang in the balance. Let us use these factors as motivation to encourage us to be consistent and courageous in our evangelism. Let it be said of us that we went everywhere preaching the word (Acts 8:4).