Aren’t you about due for a fresh round of penance for your disappointing evangelism efforts? Chances are your church is already offering a healthy assortment of channels through which you can merit some level of atonement for your recent oversight in this area. Or at least you could take a minute from your day to savor, like a bitter mint, some good and necessary guilt for your failure to use these means. Maybe there’s somebody in your church who has invited you to help them pass out tracts? Or you have that evangelism training program or Christianity explored course – you could have done at least one of those. And exactly how many neighbors have you invited to your small group? After all, your evangelism credit from that short term missions trip you did in high school has a shelf life of ten years or less. As a rule of thumb, you should be stirring up any stagnating guilt and shame over this issue on a bi-monthly basis.
If you’ve missed the boat on the latest evangelism book or program, never fear: the next break-through craze is scheduled to sweep across American Evangelicalism within five to seven years. In the meantime, try the following basic steps, which are sure to have you counting commitment cards, and bragging about baptisms in 24 hours. Joking aside, this really is the best program:
Step 1: Get excited about Jesus.
Step 2: There are no other steps. Okay, perhaps it would be good to go back to step 1, and make sure you read all the instructions.
It’s not that evangelism training is useless, it’s just that graduating from the latest training program can be a bit like completing one year of med school. Suddenly, you discover you have eight diseases you didn’t even know existed, and you’re offering unsolicited diagnoses to every person who coughs.
In Acts 4:20, shortly after God used Peter and John to convert over five thousand in one day, the elders and the scribes tell them to stop talking about this Jesus character. The apostles’ response: “We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” Ever wonder why new believers often tend to be the best evangelists?
Effectiveness in proclaiming the gospel comes from the degree to which God’s Spirit has enabled the speaker to see and hear Jesus. The more we get consumed by the power and wonder of God, and the salvation we have received freely by grace, the more our actions and words will look different. It is through our own personal communion with God, and ensuing excitement about this infinite, merciful God that will bring us to the point where we struggle to keep our mouths shut about Him. We’ll want to bring God into everything. We’ll want to relate everything back to Him.
If you adopt this strategy, the rejoinder can come: “if we make evangelism simply about loving God more yourself than no one will go out and evangelize.” But this strikes the same fearful note as the objection that ‘teaching salvation by faith alone will preclude the doing of good deeds.’ Evangelism, like all facets of the Christian’s walk, begins and ends with a growing faith and relationship with a living Christ.
This article was originally posted on Ref21