“Any method of evangelism will work if God is in it.” – Leonard Ravenhill.
There are times when you hear people talk about evangelism or sharing your faith as though it’s an advanced science like quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics is a relatively recent area of physics which studies the behavior of the tiniest existing components of matter. It is a subject understood by a select few.
Sharing your faith is not biblical quantum mechanics, but there are reasons that people feel that way. Most of them are internal, not external. I don’t pretend to have all the answers that will fix every evangelistic fear out there. But we can demystify this intimidating word: evangelism.
To demystify the subject of sharing your faith we need a shift in how we view the whole topic of evangelism.
Evangelism is sharing our faith. It doesn’t have to be a big to-do, it doesn’t have to be anything deeply Biblical or particularly scholarly. In fact, sometimes it’s more effective if it’s not. It just has to be what Jesus Christ means to you. It’s how your life is made better by the relationship you have with Jesus. It’s not some highfalutin thing. It could be as simple as an invitation or a brief conversation over the fence between your yards.
Jesus tells us that we are expected, actually we are commanded, to share our faith. Sometimes we share our faith with words and sometimes with actions. That leads us to a fact that will help simplify and demystify the subject of evangelism: we cannot fundamentally change people. It is not our job to convert people. Only God can convert people. The main thing that baffles and angers non-Christians about Christians is how they can understand so little about human nature that when, in their fervor to convert another person, they tell that person (as we often do if we are not careful), “You’re bad, and wrong, and a sinner.” And we actually expect that person to agree with us.
As I have so often said, we need to think relationship first, and talking about God second. If we do not have a relationship, if we do not show the love of God to others, we will never win the confidence of their ear. Talking to people about God without that relationship just makes us strange and unapproachable. It’s necessary to let our love for God and for others build bridges and not walls. It requires us to listen to the person, let he/she speak his/her mind and you may discover there is a deep reason why the person is avoiding God. Show that individual that you also have your own questions and that to be a child of God you don’t have to be perfect. We need to demonstrate that we have a faith worth having. Because without investing in people, without ministering to their needs, without winning their confidence and acquainting them with the reality of your faith, it is far less likely that an individual is ever going to seek you out and ask us what makes us so different.
- Do you believe that evangelism is the role of the pastor and the church staff? Why or why not?
- Do you befriend and spend time with people who are far from the heart of God? Are you worried about offending them if you talk about God?
- Does the way God view people change the way you view people?
- What can we do this week to better equip ourselves for sharing our faith?