Evangelism is not theoretical

Evangelism is not theoretical

Most Christians are convinced that we live in a world that needs to hear about Jesus. Specifically, most are convinced that those who don’t trust in Jesus at the moment need someone to tell them about Jesus. After all, the Biblical logic is pretty clear:

12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Rom. 10:12-15 ESV)

You can’t believe what you have never heard, and to hear about it, you need someone to tell you. Sounds straight forward really, doesn’t it? In addition, if we truly believe that Jesus is the only way to be saved (as Jesus makes clear in John 14:6), then anyone who doesn’t yet trust in Jesus needs to hear about the gospel. That includes those who currently follow other religions or who don’t even believe in God right now.

So far, so good. Most Christians can agree to this. Someone should do the telling. It needs to be done. Maybe we can give money to support this or pray for this. That would be very positive, and Christians should do this. But that doesn’t let us off the hook. We should be actually speaking to people about Jesus.

This might seem an obvious conclusion from the logic of the gospel, but in practice, so many believers don’t ever really tell anyone else about Jesus. Here are some reasons why there is a disconnect between theory and reality:

  1. We are afraid of what people might say

Everyone feels this. Maybe I will lose my friendship with this person. Maybe they will reject the gospel and me as well. The truth is that our second guessing what might happen is often worse than what actually happens. Yes, it is possible that people might not respond well to the gospel. But more might be prepared to listen than we expect. We must not care so much about possible rejection that we never actually have the conversation.

2.We don’t feel like we know how to do it

I hear this one often. Perhaps they will ask me some question about theology or the Bible, and I don’t know very much about those things. I can’t answer their questions, and I will feel foolish. The truth is that new believers often make very good evangelists because they are passionate about what they believe. If you don’t know what to say, or you don’t feel you have a solid grip on the Bible, do something about that instead of keeping it as an excuse. Get training through your church, read up in the many good books out there. Speak to a Christian friend who is a capable evangelist and ask for advice. We want to work towards speaking about Jesus, not using the lack of knowledge we might have to stop it. Else we will never actually have a conversation!

Many Christians just overthink evangelism. We naturally speak about what we are passionate about. I have had many conversations this week about the football for the season has started. I didn’t need to worry about speaking about football; it just happened for I am interested in it. If we are reading about Jesus, praying about opportunities, and reflecting on what I learn from the Bible, it should be a natural topic of conversation. It doesn’t need to be wooden or forced or follow a strict outline learnt at an evangelistic course.

Evangelism is one of the most important things you can be involved in. It is not just something for gifted evangelists; often quiet, sincere people have a massive influence on those around them. Let’s be honest with ourselves and actually work at this intentionally. Pray for specific people, speak about Jesus in normal conversation, and evangelism can become a part of what you do. Who knows? Maybe that next conversation might lead to an eternal change in your friend’s life.