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FIRST-PERSON: We need not fear evangelism

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GRAPEVINE, Texas (BP) – When someone says the word “evangelism,” followers of Christ tend to tighten up. Why?

Evangelism scares us. When we’re not regularly telling others about Jesus, we feel guilty. When we are, we wonder if we’re doing it right, if the person we’re sharing with is going to reject us or, worse, ask us a biblical question for which we won’t have an answer.

I think most of us fit into at least one of those scenarios. If so, here are a few things to consider that may help jump-start your evangelistic efforts:

Are you praying?

“Prayer,” E.M. Bounds once said, “is the mightiest agent to advance God’s work.” There’s no greater starting place in evangelism than prayer. Prayer has no step-by-step process and isn’t hindered by a lack of interest on the part of others. One praying person can make an eternal difference.

Regardless of your resources, the size of your church, and all else, you can pray. “God, I want this person to love and trust you” is enough. In evangelism – and everything else – prayer ought to be our first response, not our last resort.

Are you preparing?

Scripture instructs us to give an account for the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15). At the same time, it’s common for followers of Jesus to say things like, “I don’t have a good testimony.” If the Holy Spirit of God lives within you, you’ve got a story to tell.

The problem is not that God isn’t living and active. The problem is we often don’t recognize all the times and ways He is at work in our lives. That’s where church leaders can have a huge impact. You don’t need video modules, guest speakers, expensive curriculum, campaigns, or emphases to sit down with believers and teach them how to be intentional about reflecting on the struggles they’ve survived and how God carried and provided for them through those times.

The more you help your people view life through a spiritual lens, the more you’ll equip them to dwell in the peace Christ promises when the next storm comes. There’s great value in helping someone unpack the past so they are ready for the future. In fact, there’s a word for this kind of practice. It’s called “discipleship.”

Are you empowered?

Our evangelistic hesitations are often rooted in a fear that when the time to share our faith arises, we won’t know what to say. Scripture continually pushes back against this kind of fear. In Luke 12, Jesus tells his disciples not to worry because the Holy Spirit will give them the words to testify about Him in any given moment. In Acts 1, the disciples are told that they will receive power to be Jesus’ witnesses when the Holy Spirit comes upon them.

I dare you to make a head-first, eyes-closed leap into a conversation with someone about Jesus. I don’t believe the biblical promise is that you’ll become a majestic spiritual orator in those moments. I believe the promise is that the Holy Spirit won’t waste whatever words you use. Isn’t that worth the risk of looking foolish?

Are you ready?

I believe there’s a heavy guilt carried daily not only by followers of Jesus, but also by pastors and church leaders who feel like they’ve missed the mark when it comes to evangelism. No matter what has happened in the past, God will put people all around you today who need to meet Jesus.

Tell somebody about Jesus in your life today. He will take care of the rest.

    About the Author

  • Jayson Larson