“Evangelism” When you hear that word I am sure there are many different emotions associated with it for you. Some of you get excited and are ready to share the hope of Christ with others. Some of you think back to your conversion experience when someone was bold enough to talk with you about the gospel. While some may cringe thinking of the last time you went out knocking on people’s doors.
Not a Popular Topic
For most people evangelism is not a popular topic. I believe the reason is not because we don’t like doing it, but because when we look at our own life, we see a lack of evangelistic effort. And well, we just don’t like talking about those areas in which we are failing.
A Necessary Conversation
Even though many are failing at evangelizing the lost, I believe it is a necessary conversation to have. As those who are saved by God we are to take up God’s mission, which is to bring redemption to the world. Part of this mission is physical – serving others, helping them with their needs, etc – but the ultimate mission is spiritual. As Christians we are God’s ambassadors. We are the ones He uses to bring the gospel message to those who have not heard (Eph. 6:19-20; 2 Cor. 15:19-20). So then, we must speak to others about the gospel.
But when it comes to evangelism you hear all kinds of excuses as to why we don’t evangelize the lost, such as:
- I don’t know their language.
- Evangelism is illegal in my country
- Evangelism could cause problems at work.
- I don’t have time.
- I don’t know non-Christians (Probably the most common excuse).
- People don’t want to hear the gospel.
- They probably already know it.
- They will not be interested.
- I doubt they will believe it.
Some of these are legitimate, some of these are not. Some of these you have probably used in the past or even recently. Never-the-less, instead of focusing on the negative, I want to provide you with 12 things that may help you stop not evangelizing.
12 Ways to Stop Not Evangelizing
(1) Pray – We need to pray that God would give us opportunities to share the gospel with others. You may be amazed at what God will do and what opportunities He will give.
(2) Plan - If our schedules are busy, then why not plan a time to speak with others about the gospel. We may plan times throughout the week to put ourselves in a place where we can build relationships with others. As well as we may plan a time to talk with another person about the gospel by setting an appointment with them. Or we can carve out time to nurture the relationships with people we already have that are lost. Whatever it takes, we should plan to talk with others about the gospel.
(3) Accept – We have to accept that as Christians it is our job to evangelize the lost. We are God’s ambassadors and we have been sent to spread the gospel.
(4) Understand - God uses those who are not gifted with the gift of evangelism to share the gospel with others. This means evangelism is not reserved only for those who claim it is their spiritual gift. While they may be better at it than us, evangelism is the task of everyone.
(5) Be Faithful - We need to be faithful to God. This means our allegiance does not lie with man, but with God. It means that we have to be ok with offending people.
(6) Risk - We need to be willing to take risks in order to share the gospel with others. This could mean risking a conversation with them. It could mean risking giving them a book that may or may not offend them. It could mean risking your time to develop a friendship with someone so you can share the gospel with them. It may even mean risking your friendship with them. Whatever the risk, it is worth it.
(7) Prepare - Often we don’t evangelize because we do not understand how to handle the arguments people make against Christianity. We don’t know where to point them to in Scripture to answer their questions. We don’t know how to direct a conversation to a place where we can talk about Christ. But these are not reasons to not evangelize. Instead, we are to diligently prepare. This does not mean we have to all become apologists or professional evangelists. It just means we have to be willing to study a little.
(8) Look – After praying for opportunities to share the gospel, we need to be on the watch for these opportunities.
(9) Love - The reason we share the gospel is not to put another notch on our evangelism belt. It is because we love others. So then, when we don’t share the gospel we are being cold to others, promoting self-love, and desiring our comfort more than their salvation.
(10) Fear – We should fear God not man.
(11) Stop - We should stop thinking since God is sovereign I don’t need to share the gospel, or that I have to convince others to believe this message. It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict and convince. It is our job to share.
(12) Consider - Consider what God has done for us in Christ. How He has saved us through the sacrifice of His Son. How Jesus died for us even while we were sinners. Consider also that God is glorified when we tell others about His gospel. Consider our love for God. Matthew 12:34 says,
“Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”
Does our heart overflow with love for God so that our mouths cannot be stopped?
Why we don’t evangelize and the 12 steps to stop not evangelizing is adapted from The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, Mark Dever, 19-29.