Hello! Today I’d like to talk about evangelism. Specifically, I would like to share some of the things I’ve learned about it. Now, if you’re like me you’ve probably heard that word multiple times. You’ve heard your pastor speak about it, and you’ve read it in the Bible. So why talk about it, you might ask?
I recently dug deeper into evangelism and what it is, and learned about some popular misconceptions. Additionally, I also found some things we might neglect to do in evangelism. Hence, that’s why I decided to write about this topic. These misconceptions can be a problem and Christians need to know about them.
Let’s begin with what evangelism is. It is telling others about the gospel, about Jesus and what He did for the world. Elementary sounding, yes? Yet, somewhere along the way, Christians began confusing this with doing good works for others. In addition to this, living a godly life in front of others was also seen as evangelism. Now none of these are bad. In fact, we are called to help and be kind to others (Luke 6:31). We are supposed to live godly lives and be an example to others (John 13:15). However, none of these are actually evangelism. Although living in godly way may draw a non-Christian person to you, it isn’t plainly proclaiming the good news. Likewise doing good works can make Jesus appealing, but it isn’t the gospel itself.
For some time, I’ve had the misconception that I was witnessing to someone when I was leading a godly life. I have seen the presentation of good works as acts of evangelism. There are real misconceptions around us and they are not harmless. If people are mistaking other things for the gospel, then the good news isn’t being preached in its full capacity. People need to hear it.
If the person you witness to doesn’t convert, you’ve ‘failed.’ That might be something you’ve believed. It can be easy to think that getting a rejection means that you didn’t evangelize. You might question if you did it right. Maybe you weren’t convincing enough, or perhaps you didn’t follow all the “steps”. But this just isn’t true. The Bible never says that evangelism is only valid if a person converts. We aren’t the ones who do the changing. It’s God who really converts people.
The conversion of a non-believer should be our goal, but all we can do is faithfully present the gospel. Jesus takes care of the rest. If we proclaim the whole gospel, then we have succeeded in evangelism. We only fail when we don’t proclaim the gospel. With that said, even if we haven’t been obeying God, it’s not too late. We still have a chance to start being obedient.
Listen to the Holy Spirit
Okay, so maybe you now have that burning desire to share the gospel with a friend. You go up to them, you talk, and you feel ready to pop that question to begin witnessing, but you stop. You want to share, but you know you shouldn’t. Not right now.
Sometimes, as much as you may want to share the gospel, it isn’t always the right time. Perhaps their hearts aren’t prepared yet, or maybe God is still working on them. Simply put, listen to the nudging and the urging of the Holy Spirit. I recently experienced this. I was questioning whether it was the right time and I knew it wasn’t. It would be far too random, and I’d just reconnected with this person. I felt that it wasn’t the right time. Consider the Holy Spirit. You can never go wrong listening to Him.
Maybe you’re not eager to share. Maybe you want to obey, but the thought of sharing the gospel causes a flood of anxiety to wash over you. You care about a friend or family member, and you want them to be saved. But, deep inside, you dread it.
Some of you may not feel this, but I’m pretty certain there a few of you who have felt this to some degree. For others and some people like me, sharing the gospel can feel like a nightmare. When the time comes, however, we have to make a choice. Do we obey, or do we disobey?
Trust God to help you through this. Obey and allow yourself to rely on Him. Jesus didn’t give us this command just to leave us all alone. He cares, and if this is a struggle for us, we need to pray and trust that He will help us. It may not be easy, but it’s worth it.
God is probably already at work, but we should pray for those that we are trying to witness to. People aren’t always ready to hear the good news and their hearts may be hard. That is why we should pray that God prepares their hearts to hear the gospel and to accept Him.
Prayer has always had an important place in Christianity, and it has a role in evangelism too. Unbelievers need God, and they also need our prayers.
Sometimes Christians don’t share. It might be because we’ve never really given it much thought, the word just rolls over us. Sometimes it’s because we simply don’t want to. In this case, we need to pray for God to change our hearts and our attitudes. As broken people, we don’t always want to do things we know are right (a bit obvious, I know). We realize we shouldn’t feel this way, but we do and that’s why we need God to change the way we feel. We don’t have to face these sorts of challenges alone. In these situations we need to admit our sinful attitude and ask Jesus change it into a passion to share the gospel.
There are multiple misconceptions about evangelism, and I’ve only named three. My goal wasn’t to discuss all the things that are mistaken for evangelism. My intentions were to share what I’ve learned along the way, and I hope I’ve left you with something to think on. We are commanded to share the gospel (Mark 16:15), and we should obey this command. It’s certainly not going to be easy all the time, and if anyone needs more work at it, it’s me. But like many things, we are stilled called to accomplish His will despite our imperfections (Ephesians 2:10).
So what about you? What struggles have you had with evangelism? What popular misconceptions have you seen? How seriously have you taken the command to share the gospel? What have your experiences been? I’d love to hear about your stories and what you think!
Note: If you want to dig deeper into popular misconceptions, the excuses of evangelism, and more, I’d personally recommend “The Gospel & Personal Evangelism” by Mark Dever. I read this for a Bible class and found this book very insightful. It really helped me change my perspective on evangelism in my own life. Additionally, it also partially contributed to my insights on this blog post.