New Beginnings 2019: Evangelism
One of the main purposes of our lives, according to Scripture, is to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are commanded to proclaim the good news of Christ wherever we go––in our workplaces, neighborhoods, restaurants, etc.
As Jesus commanded the first disciples, so he commands us:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” Matthew 28:18-20
According to the New Testament, evangelism is simply proclaiming the good news. Anyone who faithfully delivers the message of God’s mercy towards sinners in Christ––whether in a large meeting, in a small group, from the pulpit, or in a private conversation––is evangelizing. Still, if we are honest, evangelism doesn’t come naturally or easy for most of us. We often don’t initiate gospel conversations because of fear of rejection, lack of time, or our sense of inadequacy. Therefore, let me give you 4 tips for turning everyday encounters into gospel conversations:
1. Pray for wisdom to know how quickly you should move your conversation toward sharing the gospel.
Every encounter is different. There are some people you’ll see once, and you’ll need to move quickly into a gospel conversation (Ex. People you meet on vacation, on an airplane, in a line, etc.). There are other people that you’ll see more often, and you’ll be able to have several gospel conversations with them over time. Each encounter, even a brief one, is from the Lord. There are no coincidences in our lives, so pray for wisdom on how to be both winsome and bold in your encounters.
2. Sow seeds with your words and deeds.
“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:5-6). There should be something different about the way Christians speak and act. One way that you can sow seeds is to ask how you can pray for people. This can be something you actively do when you have a neighbor over for dinner or if you see someone having a hard day. Ask how you can pray, then look for opportunities to share the gospel.
3. Be observant of other people’s lives.
I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite things to do is people watch. I’m sure many of us have our crazy story, but I’m encouraging you to be on the alert when you’re in conversations with people. Look for things that might provide a door into talking about the gospel (Ex. Look at what they wear, ask what they’re reading, etc.). Now, I’m not talking about being creepy, I’m talking about being observant. Let me encourage you to look for bridges into gospel conversations by being genuinely interested in other people.
4. Prepare and Plan for Gospel Conversations
Think about what you’ll say or how you might get to the gospel before you see someone, and plan to share the gospel intentionally then. Think about a time when you will be around someone with whom you can share the good news of Christ with and put it on your calendar to do it. People often don’t evangelize because they don’t plan to do so.
I look forward to seeing all that the Lord does through His people at Buck Run over the next year as we seek to intentionally reach our ONE. There are many great resources and books out there on the topic of evangelism. Here are some of my personal favorites…
- What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert Available at the Resource Center
- Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus by J. Mack Stiles Available at the Resource Center
- Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer Amazon
- Concentric Circles of Concern by W. Oscar Thompson, Jr. Amazon
- The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert E. Coleman Available at the Resource Center
May 2019 be a year, regardless of whether you are someone who has never shared the gospel with anyone before or if you are an evangelist, that we all grow in our obedience in sharing the gospel.