People are NOT projects. Essentially, they are like sheep without a shepherd (Mt 9:36). There is no one perfect formula because people receive in different ways, are in different stages in their lives, etc. Jesus Christ desires to lift fallen man back up again. To make sick, broken, confused, addictive, lonely, guilt ridden, weak, and zombie like man healed, fixed, reassured, self-controlled, loved, free, powerful, and full of life…that’s why Jesus came. He came to make us whole; spirit, soul, & body (1 Thes 5:23).
You know what will really help us carry out the great commission? It will be when we understand that we are His ambassadors, standing in the very place of Jesus (2 Cor 5:20), literally His hands, His feet (Eph 5:30), His mouth, His heart, by His Spirit (Jn 14:12 & 16:7). If we don’t do it, who will? If people don’t hear, then how can they receive (Rom 10:14-15)?
Some might say that evangelism isn’t something that needs to be taught. I would then ask why God decided to give the five-fold ministry to the body to equip them. He gave gifts unto men (Eph 4:8). Also, I’ve had many opportunities to share the gospel, however, sadly other “Christians” that were initially bystanders but decided to jump in only ended up making the situation worse.
The following are some general pointers to help you overcome fears, obstacles, or just some wisdom on the subject. Don’t get down on yourselves if it doesn’t happen overnight. Jesus walked with and taught those disciples for over three years.
But before we zoom in to some of the technicalities, let’s zoom out so we can see the bigger picture.
The Kingdom of God is His rule and reign over a particular territory or domain.
Lex Luthor has always had an affinity for real estate. So does God, only His affinity is for the real estate of mens’ hearts, mind, and bodies. Since the fall of man, we lost what we once had with God. Jesus has come to reintroduce the conditions of the Garden of Eden that once were. Since the Kingdom of God was the central message of Jesus Christ, it would be a good idea for us to spend the rest of our lives understanding, pursuing, and operating in that Kingdom. Now, through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, God means to expand that Kingdom throughout the whole earth. He will do that by means of partnering with you and me, His sons by faith in Jesus.
- Listen! One of the most important things you can do for a person, along with loving them, is listen to them. We all want to be heard. “To be heard” is up there with “to be loved”! Sow the seed of listening (with love) and reap the harvest of being heard. Sincerely LOVE that person like Jesus does (Jesus beholding him loved him Mk 10:21). Hear them out without preparing in your mind what you’ll say next. Let God supply that. Proverbs 17:27, James 1:19.
- Identify/Relate with them if you can. Be relative. Connect with them on their level. God came down from the throne to our level and talked to people about stuff they knew (birds, trees, grass, seed, water, bread, etc). Blend in without being so overt. I see Christians become very ineffective because they talk too much church slang or “Christianese”. We can become irrelevant and unattractive. I’ve seen some become downright repulsive. Jesus was the most interesting man in the world, and He didn’t even drink Dos Equis. The reason many people don’t want to walk in a church is because we’ve been sorry ambassadors! Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Serpents can contort their bodies to slither or blend into a situation. “Blend in”, you may ask. Well, your sincere love for others is enough to cause you to stand out (John 13:35). We don’t have to walk around quoting Scripture to the unbelievers, because immediately they will put their guard up. I don’t have a backwards collar, bumper stickers, big chains because I personally love to catch people by surprise. Snakes will patiently eye their prey for hours until the best possible moment to make their move. Be like one, yet as harmless as a dove. Paul became all things to all men so that he might save some (1 Corinthians 9:16-23). Remember, a five minute interaction with you could change a life FOREVER!
- Speak the Word! Somebody once said, “Preach the gospel. When necessary, use words”. You can, to an extent, preach or proclaim the gospel to all creation by your lifestyle, your conduct, your speech, your attitude, even your countenance, which is very important but at some point, you’re going to have to step out of your comfort zone and talk. Testimonies are great and there are times to use them, as well, however the Word saves. Know the Word front and back. Put the Jehovas Witnesses to shame. Let them label you reprobate. Remember even then, no matter how much you know the Word, it’s still not a monologue. Let people get thirsty and be begging for more, rather than spray them with a fire hose and drench them. Never argue (Matthew 7:6). Find out where the person is at spiritually, then, by listening, give them that Word in due season. At the very least, you can be the vessel God uses for a touch from Him (Lk 11:20). (Isaiah 50:4, 1 Peter 1:23, Acts 16:31-32, 1 Peter 3:15, Colossians 4:5-6, Proverbs 15:23)
- Help them receive. (Jude 1:21-23) A good doctor is obligated to describe or convey the test results at some point…even when it’s not easy or popular. We should use the law when necessary but mainly to the proud to help them see their need for a savior (1 Timothy 1:8-11). Use it for those who “think” they have life (John 9:39-41). The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (2 Corinthians 3:6). We possess the very cure, the antidote, the remedy for the sin disease! We have the answer to prison problems, the gang incidents, the thefts, and everything that tends to bring you down when you watch the news at night. The world doesn’t need another “pill” but the gospel! (Romans 1:16) Do we believe that?
- Two shakes: Shake their hand and shake the dust from your feet if they have heard and understood, yet rejected the good news. Move on. It’s not personal. It’s ultimately between them and God. If they rejected you, they rejected the One that sent you (Matthew 10:14 & 40). Remember that there are many hungry people right around the corner. We don’t need more shy Christians. Also, remember that Jesus saves, the Word saves, not you. I planted, Appollos or somebody else watered, but God gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:7). Make room for God to do His thing. Let God do the miracle working, as well. Leave room for signs and wonders (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).
- Whether they receive or not, encourage them. Get their information for follow up (Acts 15:36). Invite them to get plugged into a healthy local church. If there’s a need, meet it. If you can’t, send them to someone who can. The burden of their growth is not on your shoulders. You CANNOT be an effective minister, full of joy, walking light on your feet with pep in your step trying to carry every burden you see (Isaiah 10:27). That’s where the church steps in. The majority of evangelism is not meant to take place inside the four walls of a church. That’s a place for growth. Every joint is now available to supply, through the church. Ask or help them receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:14-17). We simply cannot be the witness God has called us to be without first receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:8).
- Realize that, even if you may not have the gift or office of evangelism, you may even be completely fearful, however that doesn’t excuse you. You are valuable to God and play a significant role in this whole thing. You may not have realized a few things:
- The awesome privilege of being an ambassador for Christ, and that you have been given this ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5). Timothy wasn’t called an evangelist, yet Paul told him to do the work of an evangelist (2 Timothy 4:5).
- What exactly you possess, what you’ve been given. (My personal testimony of Matthew 20:26-28 and John 4, 2 Corinthians 4:6-7).
- That evangelism is meant to take place primarily outside the four walls of the church. Even the various church outreaches are meant to be training for you in your everyday lives. The church, through the Holy Spirit in us, can now have access onto planes, into hospitals, in courtrooms, in the lives of atheists, muslims, government officials, serial killers, people who ordinarily would never set foot in a church. That’s why He said that it was good that He goes away (John 16:7).
- What actually happens to a person if they die without Christ. (Penn Video)
- The bottom line is that we are on the front line. You possess the Living Water. I used to subtly make derogatory comments about myself. I used to say I was a “word-nerd” or make apologetic statements about my faith or disclaimers about what I believe. Not any longer. I’m not humming that song by Michael W. Smith called “Place in this World”! We are taking back real estate for God! I realize that unbelievers are the ones that are missing out. It’s uncool to reject Christ. It’s not cool to be in church. We have a new image of Christ abiding inside of us. He is the most magnetic person there ever was! You can take a huge magnet and attract metal pieces to it. Those metal pieces, when taken away from the giant magnet, will still hold that magnetic charge for a while. That’s like us. We are hooked up with the Father. Stay full of His love and boldness. Let Him make you look good. Let Him show Himself strong on your behalf (2 Chronicles 16:9). You can’t expect to win the world if you are always drained, yourself. (Acts 6:3 & 8). If you’re not on fire, maybe you need the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Learn to walk in a clear conscience without being entangled in sin. (Hebrews 12:2, Proverbs 10:9, 2 Timothy 1:3, Acts 23:1) Realize that you are free. Freedom is a very attractive and desired thing. Men die for it. Be radically bold! The redeemed of the Lord are supposed to be saying so (Psalm 107:2)! You are a revelation of Jesus Christ to the world. Never ruin your witness.
- A.) Matthew 5:13-14 We are salt & light. If we lose our flavor, where else can people go? (Example of the two abused boys who ran away to social services only to become abused by the social worker) (Example of Fred telling me how the mormons & jehovas witnesses came, but where were you?)
- 2 Timothy 3:12 Don’t be surprised when you get persecuted. It will happen sometime or another. Consider Jesus in Hebrews 12:3.